Written by Christina Gabbard
In Chinese medicine, the “postpartum period” refers to the four months following labor and delivery, the first month being the most important time for the new mother to take special care of herself. It is not until the end of the 4th month after delivery that the yin and blood are considered full again and the womb meridians Ren Mai (Conception Vessel) and Chong Mai (Penetrating Vessel), are fully recovered.
During pregnancy, a woman’s blood volume almost doubles in order to support the placenta and the developing baby. The “work” of labor and delivery and blood loss during delivery of the baby further deplete the mother’s qi and blood. And because breast milk is formed from the same substrate as blood, breastfeeding is comparable to a constant loss of blood. For all these reasons, women are often deficient postpartum.
Bone broth nurtures and renews the blood and qi and is easy to make, but does take a good while to cook. You can use any kind of bones you have access to. Most common are beef and chicken bones, but you may also use lamb, turkey or any other bones you can find. Everything MUST be Organic, Free Range, No Hormones, etc.
How Does It Aid In Recovery and Renewal Postpartum ?
A few key constituents –
Cartilage: formed primarily from collagen and elastin proteins, but also contains glycosaminoglycans (GAGs), chondroitin sulfate, keratin sulfate, and hyaluronic acid. The cartilage from joints is the kind incorporated into bone broth. It’s useful for:
• Strengthening the bones and support joints and tendons postpartum.
Bone Marrow: There are 2 types of marrow in bones, yellow and red. At birth, all bone marrow is red, and as we age it gradually converts to the yellow type until only about half of our marrow is red. The red marrow is an important source of nutritional and immune support factors extracted in the cooking of bone soup. It contains myeloid stem cells which are the precursors to red blood cells, and lymphoid stem cells, the precursors to white blood cells and platelets.
• Red blood cells carry oxygen to other cells in the body
• White blood cells are essential for proper functioning of the immune system
• Platelets are important for clotting
Glycine & Proline: Both are particularly important amino acids present in bone broth. Glycine is a simple amino acid necessary in the manufacture of other amino acids. It is a vital component in the production of heme, the part of the blood that carries oxygen. Proline is an amino acid essential to the structure of collagen and is therefore necessary for healthy bones, skin, ligaments, tendons and cartilage. It has also been shown to have a beneficial effect on memory and in the prevention of depression. Both are needed for:
• Soft tissue and wound healing
• Healthy connective tissue
• Effective detoxification by the liver
Production of plasma
Minerals: They are necessary for the development of connective tissue and bone, create electrical potential that facilitates nerve conduction, and are catalysts for enzymatic reactions.
• Calcium is necessary for healthy bones, muscle contraction and relaxation, proper clotting and tissue repair, normal nerve conduction, and endocrine balance.
• Phosphorus is necessary for the generation of energy in the body. It is also a critical component of cell membranes and helps regulate intracellular pressure. A deficiency in phosphorus can lead to symptoms such as fatigue and weakness.
• Proper nerve transmission, muscle contraction and relaxation, and parathyroid gland function are dependent on magnesium
Basic Recovery And Renewal Bone Broth Recipe
4 quarts cold filtered water
2 tablespoons vinegar (draw the minerals out of the bones)
1 large onion, coarsely chopped
2 carrots, peeled and coarsely chopped
3 celery stalks, coarsely chopped
1 bunch parsley
Marrow Bones- use only organic, free-range, hormone-free animal bones such as beef knuckle bones or a whole chicken
• If using a whole chicken, cut off the wings, remove the neck and cut both into pieces. Remove fat glands gizzards from the cavity.
• Place marrow bones or chicken and pieces in a pot with water, vinegar and all vegetables except parsley.
• Bring slowly to a boil, and remove scum that rises to the top.
• Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 6 to 8 hours. Cooking longer will give a richer and more flavorful broth.
• About 10 minutes before finishing cooking, add parsley.
• Remove marrow bones or whole chicken / pieces with a slotted spoon, reserving the meat for other use.
• Strain the stock into a large bowl and refrigerate until the fat rises to the top and congeals.
• Skim off the fat. Refrigerate or freeze for future use.
• Season and consume as a hot drink with any meal or as an energy-giving snack.
• Use as a base for soups
• Use as a base for gravies and sauces to go on veggies
• Use in place of water when cooking grains, beans, pasta.
Tip: You may also use a crock pot to make this recipe even easier. Enjoy!
Broth is Beautiful - Sally Fallon
Traditional bone broth in modern health and disease - Allison Siebecker; Townsend Letter 2005
Christina Gabbard, CPES AKA Carolina Placenta Lady, is a Certified Placenta Encapsulation Specialist and Mentor serving natural mommies; health minded women who have an interest in the TCM properties of encapsulated placenta for alleviation or prevention of post-natal depression, "baby-blues". She resides in Charlotte NC with her husband, three daughters and too many Yorkies!