Broths are oh-so-easy to make, nourishing during a chilly autumnal evening, and a wonderful way to use up the carrots forgotten at the back of the crisper. As the days get shorter and our proclivity to be inside is higher (meaning more chances to catch a cold), our immune systems could use a little boost as well! So I decided to get creative and add some immune-boosting medicinal mushrooms to a basic vegetable broth. The mushrooms I chose were Reishi and Chaga, but other varieties like Shiitake and Maitake can all make a superb mushroom broth as well.
Here’s a little more info about these magical mushrooms:
According to The Desktop Guide to Herbal Medicine, Reishi is a fungus native to China. Medicinally, Reishi is thought to lower blood pressure, bad cholesterol, and power up the immune system by increasing white blood cell production and efficacy. It can also be used for viral infections; stress reduction; and disease of the lungs, kidneys, and liver (Mars 251-252).
Preliminary animal and cell studies have suggested that Chaga boosts the immune system through destroying bacterial communication channels and increasing immune cell efficacy; it also may act as an antioxidant and treat certain types of cancer. Chaga grows in cold Taiga forests in the northernmost parts of Russia, Scandinavia, U.S., Korea, and Canada (Curran, Kevin. “The History and Health Benefits of Chaga Mushroom”).
Vegetable Broth Recipe
Celery, carrots, and onion are a great base for a vegetable broth. From there, add whatever you have on hand. I throw veggie scraps in the freezer until I’m ready to make a broth. I used celery, carrots, onion, sage, oregano, peppers, garlic, reishi, chaga, basil, salt, pepper, and leftover onion tops, carrot greens, etc. Wash and chop all the veggies, but leave the onion and garlic skins and carrot tops. Add a small amount of oil, ghee, or butter to a large stock pot. Simmer the hardy vegetables until they begin to soften. Then add the rest of the ingredients, cover with water, and bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer for one hour. Strain out the vegetables, and it’s as simple as that. Broth will keep in the fridge for 5 days or frozen for a month and can be used in soups or substituted for water in cooking rice, quinoa, etc.
Curran, Kevin. “The History and Health Benefits of Chaga Mushroom Tea -.” Reviews of the Best Medicinal Plants -, July 2018, www.ethnoherbalist.com/chaga-extract-mushroom-tea-benefits/.
Mars, Brigitte. The Desktop Guide to Herbal Medicine: the Ultimate Multidisciplinary Reference to the Amazing Realm of Healing Plants, in a Quick-Study, One-Stop Guide. Basic Health Publications, Inc., 2007.
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