What Are the Benefits of Bone Broth on Gut Lining? Bone Broth and Traditional Chinese Medicine

Welcome back to From the Classroom, our weekly peek into classes at ACTCMAs this month’s spotlight on ACTCM’s Nutrition class comes to an end, Austin Gresham LAc. gives us a last a glimpse into his classroom as he shares a question on bone broth benefits.

From the Classroom will return next month to chat with Dr. Jonathan Wheeler in his Tui Na class!

Question: Cooler months are ahead and people are talking about bone broth.  How is bone broth beneficial according to TCM?

Bone broth was definitely trending a few years back and now appears to have grounded itself as the go-to nourishing soup.

Even in clinical practice, bone broth is on the top of many practitioner’s list as a winning therapy for gut dysfunction and auto-immune conditions.  Doctors such a Jason Feng even prescribe bone broth fasts where only water and bone broth is consumed to cool systemic inflammation and nourish the digestive tract.

All this talk of nourishment must translate to some Chinese medicine connection!

But first, what’s in bone broth?


Obviously bones from different animals will garner different results, but typically the stock of choice comes from cows whose bones supply ample amounts of vital minerals, proteins and fats. These proteins in particular are especially beneficial to the digestive tract. 30% of these proteins include the amino acid glycine which has been shown to reduce oxidation stress, aid in detoxification by encouraging the production of glutathione, reduce inflammation from certain toxic bacteria, protect the stomach from gastric ulcers and encourage the production of stomach acid.
Furthermore, the collagen in the bones (a mass of proteins) is transformed into gelatin during the cooking process.  This gelatin helps maintain the layer of mucous lining the intestinal wall and is hydrophilic, meaning that it will pull fluids into the digestive tract. Low collagen has been associated with conditions such as inflammatory bowel and increased collagen is connected with increased elasticity in the skin.

How this connects back with TCM is basically, we’re seeing a kind of yin-yang tonification with additional heat clearing effect. Organs involved appear to be the large intestine, stomach, liver and likely lung as well.

The yang tonification can be seen in bone broth’s fiery effect of stimulating gastric juices. The yin effect is everywhere: nourishing mucous membranes, protecting the stomach lining from gastric ulcers, benefiting the suppleness of the skin, and cooling inflammation.  The minerals – not mentioned in much detail here – would also be deeply blood nourishing.

So there you have it!  A well balanced yin yang tonic for the cold seasons ahead! Now time to get cooking.

About Austin Gresham
Austin Gresham sees clients at his San Francisco location within Dolores Park Chiropractic and in Oakland at East West Approach.  His passion for integrative medicine has led him to specialize in pain management and digestive health, particularly conditions related to the microbiome.  For more information, visit his website at www.greshamlac.com.

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About American College of Traditional Chinese Medicine
American College of Traditional Chinese Medicine (ACTCM) has provided affordable, quality health care to the public and trained professionals in acupuncture, massage and Chinese medicine since 1980. In addition to its graduate curriculum, ACTCM offers continuing education, public education, community outreach and clinical services in acupuncture and herbal medicine. ACTCM has been the recipient of many awards for its curriculum, faculty and clinic, and has been voted “Best of the Bay” by both the San Francisco Weekly and the San Francisco Bay Guardian. ACTCM is accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine and is a private, nonprofit, 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization