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Immune-boosting broth | Hardin Acupuncture

Immune-boosting broth

I shared this recipe with my clients last year (indebted to herbalist Rebecca Snow for this), and wanted to post it here again for those that haven’t seen it.  I’m a big believer in prevention – strengthening the body so it doesn’t succumb to the germs that it will inevitably come into contact with is way better than treating yourself once the infection has taken hold.  It really annoys me when people say – “oh, don’t get me sick” when someone is coughing or sneezing near them.  Yes, of course, do whatever you can to contain your germs!  Wash your hands, cough into the crook of your arm, etc, etc.  And yet, ultimately the responsibility and the means to stay well are more in our own hands than we give credence to, I say.

Here’s the recipe, and next post I’ll share some more tips to help you stay strong and healthy this season.


Turkey or chicken carcass (optional)

10 dried or fresh shiitake mushrooms (anti-viral, immune-enhancing)

10 pressed astragalus root or 1/2 cup dried cut and sifted root (immune-enhancing)

1/2 cup chopped burdock root (also called gobo) (great for skin conditions and energy)

1 garlic bulb chopped with skin

1 onion chopped with skin

2-3 strips dried seaweed (such as wakame or nori) (some of the most mineral-rich foods available – great for thyroid health)

1 bunch leafy greens (such as kale, chard, collards, etc.)

1 bunch parsley (stems and all) (very rich in vitamin A)

2-3 carrots, coarsely chopped

2-3 stalks celery with leaves, coarsely chopped

1 tablespoon dried herb (such as oregano, basil, rosemary, sage)

1 teaspoon black peppercorns

sea salt to taste

1 gallon water


Simmer all of the ingredients in a large pot for 2 hours with the lid on.  Strain out the solid ingredients.  Use this as a base for soups or drink on its own if you are feeling on the verge of being sick.   Freeze small amounts to defrost as needed.

This recipe is endlessly variable.  In fact, I like to just save my scraps over the course of the week – carrot tops, stems of greens and mushrooms, onion and garlic skins, etc. – and then cook those with a few of the medicinal herbs like the shitake, astragalus and burdock – all available at local health food stores or online through Mountain Rose Herbs  – with maybe some parsley and seaweed or whatever else I have on hand.  You don’t have to use them all in order to get great benefit.  Boiling the turkey or chicken bones imparts a lot of gelatin, which is soothing to the digestive tract.  You may omit to make this vegetarian.

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Hardin Acupuncture
1804 Chislett St
Pittsburgh, PA 15206
Tue 10-6
Wed 12-7
Thu 12-7
Fri 10-6
Phone: 412.927.4768