Chicken Bone Broth – History, Benefits & How-to

Chicken bone broth has become one of the most sought after, talked about, and consumed foods in the health food industry. Considering the benefits of chicken bone broth, it seems fair to say that the hype is there for good reason. It is one of humanity’s most quintessential dishes and has withstood the test of time, passing it with flying colours.

When looking into the history of chicken bone broth one quickly finds that every corner of the globe has its own origin story to tell. It’s difficult to say with full certainty when and where it originated, but it doesn’t seem so unreasonable to presume that whoever has chickens might naturally come to the conclusion that they can be used in soups.

In this article we are going to discuss all things bone broth. We are interested in the different histories around bone broth, the health benefits of bone broth and about making the dish.

The History of Chicken Soup

One particular icon of chicken soup is Campbell’s canned chicken soup. Many people credit them for being the first to create the famous combination of chicken soup and noodles in 1934.

While I’m sure they played a part in popularizing it, probably with a very powerful marketing campaign, let be real here, they definitely didn’t create the combination. Let go through some of the most popular histories of chicken soup or chicken bone broth.

The ‘Jewish Penicillin’

Maimonides was a medieval Jewish philosopher who famously coined the term ‘Jewish penicillin’ for chicken soup. In his work, ‘On the Causes of Symptoms’, he credits chicken soup with healing powers for everything from asthma to leprosy. Chicken soup is still an essential dish in Jewish cuisine, along with many others.

Bone Broth in Chinese Medicine

Bone broth has been used in Chinese medicine for more than 2500 years. In traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) bone broth is used to revitalize the kidneys and is said to nourish the vital force or Qi.

Bone Broth in Ancient Greece

Chicken bone broth was also popular in with the ancient Greeks. Hippocrates, the father of medicine often recommended it to people as an effective means of cleansing the digestive organs.

. . . .. and since prehistoric times

Throwing away any part of an animal would have been unconceivable to our hungry, prehistoric ancestors. Researchers have found evidence of humans storing bones to eat later as early as 420,000 years ago.

The Benefits of Bone Broth

As we have seen, bone broths have always been considered somehow medicinal. There many health benefits make them a wonderful dish for sick days.

1. Digestive Health

A good bone broth is one that has been simmering long enough, leeches collagen from the bones. If done successfully, it should turn into gelatine when refrigerated. As gelatine naturally attracts and holds water, it also binds to the water on the digestive tract. This helps with digestion and also combats ‘leaky gut’. Leaky gut

2. Great Nutritional Value of Bone Broth

Animal bones contain high amounts of calcium, magnesium, and phosphorus. They also contain other trace minerals that are necessary for keeping bones strong and healthy.

They also contain vitamins A & K2, zinc, iron, omega-3, and omega-6 fatty acids. Last but not least, they also contain high amounts of collagen, the most abundant protein in the human body.

Collagen makes up 30% of all the protein in the human body. It’s responsible for maintaining healthy skin, bones, and joints. It also contributes to a strong immune system.

3. Easy-to-make

While making a good bone broth can be a long process, it’s quite effortless. If you’re working from home or have a safe way to slow cook while you sleep, you’ll barely even notice the process.

How to Make Bone Broth

While there may be any number of variations for making bone broth, with these basics you will be on your way to creating this historically famous and nutritionally beneficial dish.

  • Source Good Bones

In general, it’s recommended to use organic bones for your homemade bone broth. Not sourcing bones from grass-fed cows or pasture-raised chickens could mean risking toxic levels of lead in your broth.

  • Keep Vegetable Scraps

Don’t throw away your tomato stalks, the ends of celery, onion skins, and other parts of vegetables that are usually hard to use. Instead, keep them in a zip lock bag in the freezer until you’re ready to make your next bone broth.

  • Using Vinegar

Using vinegar in your bone broth helps to break down and leech out the collagen. This is arguably the most beneficial part of the bones, so don’t skip this step. We recommend using apple cider vinegar as it has a less offensive taste and comes with its own health benefits!

  • Cook Long, Cook Slow

When cooking your broth, remember that you are not trying to boil the hell out of the. You should keep it on a low simmer with small air bubbles cropping up from time to time.

The question of how long to cook bone broth for is debatable. Some people say 12 hours, some 24 and some even say 48 hours. In general, after about 7 – 12 hours you can generally be sure that your broth is high in those wonderful nutrients we spoke of.

Chicken bone broth is one of humanities most quintessential dishes. It has a rich history and is equally rich in nutritional value. It’s easy to make, cost-effective and simply wonderful. If you haven’t yet, give it a try!

A Short Excerpt from my ‘Thoughtful Review of Viktor Frankl’s ‘Man’s Search for Meaning”

One of the profound insights that are offered to readers in Viktor Frankl’s ‘Man’s Search for Meaning’ is the experience of an incredible perspective shift as to the nature and quality of one’s life.

Consider that we are preoccupied with the contents of our existence, our work schedule, daily goals, life goals, past achievements, future plans, the clothes we wear, our hairstyle, our diets, our visual shape, too much fat here, too little muscle there. Alongside those mental lyrics are floating notions of the people in our lives, the quality of our relationships, partners, parents, siblings, friends, acquaintances, people who mean literally nothing to us, people we find distasteful and maybe even enemies. We further occupy ourselves with thoughts of status, money, worldly achievements, who we will remain to be when death strikes the final blow. Did we fulfill the fairy tale of glory?

By contrast, there is this reality of concentration camps, monuments of the physical torture and psychological torment that human beings inflict upon each other. Within concrete walls are genuine sadist savouring pain, starvation, infectious rotting bodies stacking up and decomposing within constant sight and reach, glaring neon evil looming over sick, dying, traumatized human creatures in every second of every day.

Such things, we never even consider might enter the landscape of our own lives, except for in the vaguest ways, such as an occasional violent and intrusive thought. Yet, they offer us the rare opportunity to reconsider our lives through the lens of a cold and brutal light. A light that subsequently transforms itself into a glow of infinite warmth and appreciation. It highlights, by means of stark contrast, the things which are so beautiful to us and in the constant reach of our immediate environment.  

In exchange for a degree of mental and emotional sensitivity ‘Man’s Search for Meaning’ gives readers the gift of finding eternal bliss within one’s grasp. Reading Frankl’s story and thesis, I found myself pondering whether it is perhaps only by a certain depth of processing that sensitivity is present. The sensitivity to temporarily sacrifice a portion of comfort to try to viscerally realize the horror of such stories.

Contrastingly, Frankl illustrates instances of how an inner function of sensitivity enriched life within the concentration camps.

He states, ‘In spite of all the enforced physical and mental primitiveness of the life in a concentration camp, it was possible for spiritual life to deepen. Sensitive people who were used to a rich intellectual life may have suffered much pain (they were often of a delicate constitution), but the damage to their inner selves was less. They were able to retreat from their terrible surroundings to a life of inner riches and spiritual freedom’.