In Traditional Tibetan Medicine, bone broth is an important dietary supplement. It can offer many benefits for a variety of people and a range of health conditions. Tibetan Medicine offers specific guidelines on how and when to properly use bone broth. Let us dive into the rich tradition of bone broth decoction, and discover its potential as a healthy supplement for our balanced diet.
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Benefits of Bone Broth in Tibetan Medicine

Bone broth is oily, heavy, sweet and nutritious. Therefore it is a perfect food to balance disturbance of the wind element loong nyepa. This means that using bone broth may benefit common symptoms associated with the loong nyepa, such as anxiety, dizziness, insomnia, stiffness and pain in the joints and muscles.

The rich, sweet nature of bone broth increases the earth and water elements, but because it is a warm and light broth, it doesn’t harm the digestive system and metabolism unlike other sweet natured foods. So bone broth can aid in weight gain, lubricating the joints and tendons, and strengthening the body in general, in a healthy manner. Bone broth is also a tonic for the reproductive essences, which are the most refined and rich products of our metabolic process. It makes healthy, lustrous skin and hair. It is good for the brain, benefits the sense organs, and helps to balance women’s hormonal cycles.
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Who Should Supplement with Bone Broth

In Tibetan Medicine, bone broth is considered a useful dietary supplement for many people. Remember, the basic qualities of bone broth are that it is warm, oily and nutritious to balance the wind element loong nyepa, and increases the earth and water elements to strengthen and build the body. So, it is good for anyone with a loong nyepa constitution. It is beneficial for any sort of overtaxed and depleted condition, or weak and deficient constitution. For these reasons, many people may benefit from taking decocted bone broth.

Bone broth strengthens and builds the body. It is beneficial for young children, nourishing their growth spurts with rich fat and abundant micro-nutrients. It is good for elderly people, who need extra dietary support to maintain strength and vigor. People who are recovering from long-term disease, cancer treatment, eating disorders, or malnutrition should take bone broth to rebuild their strength.

Bone broth helps balance the mind and emotions. People suffering with anxiety, depression, insomnia, addiction, ADHD, PTSD, or other mental/emotional challenges will benefit from taking bone broth. It is especially important to make bone broth for people who are suffering bereavement from a tragic loss or traumatic experience. Bone broth is good for the brain, so people with mentally taxing jobs and studies should supplement with bone broth.

Bone broth nourishes and lubricates the joints, tendons, and muscles. People doing high-intensity manual labor or athletic training should use bone broth. It is indicated for osteoarthritis, lower back pain, tendonitis, muscle pain and joint pain.

Finally, bone broth strengthens the reproductive essences, and helps balance the hormones. It is a great for sexual health, fertility, as well as prenatal and post partum mothers.
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Who Should be Cautious with Bone Broth

Bone broth is heavy and oily; it increases the earth/water pekan nyepa, and builds the body. Therefore, people with an excessively earth/water imbalance, a pekan nyepa constitution, or with digestion problems should use caution.

If you are overweight, suffer from or at risk for high blood pressure, high cholesterol, or diabetes, then you should be cautious with bone broth. This does not mean you cannot supplement with it. Rather, you should observe careful portion control, and healthy dietary guidelines. You must talk with your doctor, nutritionist or holistic health provider, and integrate bone broth into a well-balanced plan for optimal dietary health. Most health care professionals will support you cutting out processed foods, fried foods and sugar, in favor of fresh vegetables, whole grains, and well-measured portions of healthy fats and protein.

If you suffer from digestive problems such as acid reflux, abdominal bloating and cramping, loose stools, or gallbladder conditions, then you should be cautious with bone broth. Rich, oily foods can be difficult to digest, and should be used carefully, in small quantities, and in the right season for optimal digestion. Overburdening your metabolism is considered very harmful in Tibetan Medicine. Remember, it is not very helpful to eat nutrient rich foods, if you cannot properly digest them and assimilate the benefits.

If you have a sedentary lifestyle, with lots of sitting and little exercise, then you should limit oily foods like bone broth. Diligent exercise and a healthy lifestyle are essential for strong digestive power, and a balanced pekan nyepa. Piling rich bone marrow onto an already stagnated metabolism, does much more harm than good.
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My doctor says I need a low fat diet. Can I still use bone broth?

If you are overweight, at risk for high-blood pressure, diabetes or high cholesterol, your doctor will likely advise you to adopt a low-fat diet. Your doctor wants you to reduce dietary fat intake to manage weight gain, and prevent the development of the inflammatory “bad fat” and “bad cholesterol” that contribute to so many terrible diseases. This advice corresponds very well with the dietary principles of Tibetan Medicine. The ancient Tibetan Medical texts repeatedly state that relying excessively on oily foods and animal fats leads to unhealthy weight gain, damages the digestive power, and imbalances the earth/water pekan nyepa.

Knowing this, it is nevertheless quite appropriate to integrate supplemental bone broth into low-fat, calorie-restricted, and/or mostly vegetarian diets. You must use it in small portions, along with healthy dietary habits overall. Your doctors want you to eat fresh vegetables, fruits, whole grains, fiber, and lean meats. They want you to cut way back on fried foods, saturated fats, refined sugar, refined flour, and alcohol. They want you observe healthy portions, and get regular exercise. If you follow these healthy guidelines, then you certainly will have no problem including a small cup of home-cooked bone broth, several times a week as a dietary supplement. For example, tell your doctor that you completely cut out your fast-food habit, in favor of steamed vegetables, fresh wheat bread and a small cup of broth. They will love it, and so will you!
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The Best Season to Supplement with Bone Broth

Winter is the most appropriate season to nourish your body with rich, warm foods, like bone broth. When the weather becomes cold, our bodies respond by closing the pores, protecting the exterior, and drawing inward to focus energy on our internal systems. Our body is like a house in winter, we close all the windows and stoke up the fireplace. Traditionally, the people inside the house are resting, and working on projects such as making new clothes for the coming spring. Similarly, in winter our metabolic power is at its strongest. Our bodies are building resources for the coming year. These are ideal circumstances to take some bone broth, providing your system rich, nutrient-dense nutrition to build a strong healthy body.
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How to Prepare Bone Broth

Healthy bone broth is very simple to prepare. All that is required is to simmer marrow bones in water. Bone broth is fantastic fresh, can stay good for up to a week in the fridge, and can also be frozen to use later. There are many great recipes and ideas for bone broth. Bone broth is an important dish in many traditional cultural cuisines, so there exist many styles and techniques. This article focuses on a basic, convenient bone broth decoction, for use as a seasonal dietary supplement. I want to mention a few important points about the preparation of a simple bone broth decoction.
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What Kind of Bones to Use

You can get marrow bones from your grocery meat department or local butcher. Beef and pork bones are common choices; these are cool in nature. Lamb bones are also a great choice, and lamb is warm natured. Many people make a rich soup from poultry carcass, however this is not the same thing as a marrow-based bone broth. I strongly recommend using organic, grass-fed and pasture raised animal products whenever possible.
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How to Decoct Bone Broth

Many people brown their bones in the oven or a pan before simmering. This is a great culinary touch, but is not necessary. Some techniques for bone broth involve simmering the bones for a very long time, 12—48 hours. This results in a very thick, gelatinous product, rich in nutrients from extracted marrow and collagen. This is a great method if you have the time and inclination. However, it is also perfectly great to cook them for a much shorter time. You will still extract huge amounts of rich nutrients. I recommend setting your bones to a low simmer, for at least 2—3 hours. You can also decoct bone broth in a low-setting crockpot overnight or all day. It is not necessary to salt your water while simmering. It is a good idea to add something naturally acidic to your water, to aid in leaching nutrients from the bones. For this I recommend a (small!) dash of rice wine vinegar, or a squeezed half lemon. Some people add various spices to their bone broth. However I recommend to not include spices as you decoct your broth, but rather to make bland broth that can be spiced to taste later, or added to another dish.
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How to Use Bone Broth to Supplement

Bone broth is a versatile and convenient dietary supplement. Many people use their decocted bone broth as a stock to make soups or sauces. It can be added to porridges and congees. You may wish to use bone broth instead of oil to sauté vegetables, or use it to poach eggs and fresh greens.

I recommend simply drinking a small cup of broth, as a side dish with a meal, several times a week. A 4—6 ounce teacup is an optimal serving size for most people. You can add a little natural salt or other spices, and enjoy a cup of broth with breakfast, lunch or dinner. In this way, you can keep close track of your portion size, and it is relaxing and enjoyable to enjoy a cup of fresh broth. Avoid drinking broth too late in the evening, close to bedtime, or after a large meal.

Many people enjoy using herbs and spices. This is a good idea, as many herbs and spices can aid digestion of the heavy broth. When it comes to strong spices please remember, a little bit goes a long way! Over spicing our food quickly negates the beneficial digestive effects and instead creates imbalance in our metabolic system. For bone broth, sea salt and black pepper are good choices. Fresh ginger, citrus peel, turmeric, cardamom, cumin, or coriander are also great. Remember that lamb bones are quite warm natured, so use less spices, and try adding a tiny pinch of saffron to balance your lamb bone broth.
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In Summary

Tibetan Medicine teaches that healthy diet and lifestyle are indispensible to maintain health, long life, and happiness. For our modern times, we must try to minimize eating all those processed, refined food products, which are loaded with unhealthy, low-quality ingredients. Instead, we should focus on fresh, natural whole foods, and home-cooked meals. Bone broth is a great addition to our well-balanced diet. It is rich, nourishing, and high in micro-nutrients. Remember to use bone broth in healthy portions, in the proper season, and to use healthy dietary habits overall. In this way, bone broth can help us enjoy a rich and lustrous lifestyle of health and happiness.

Adam Okerblom, LAc
Licensed Acupuncturist and Tibetan Medicine Practitioner | Sowa
Adam offers holistic healthcare consultations and treatments in the San Francisco Bay Area. He is fascinated by ancient healing sciences and spiritual traditions. He is greatly inspired by the opportunity to learn and benefit from millennia of knowledge from around the world.

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