Make Your Own Bone Building Calcium-Rich Vinegar
Even if you do not consume dairy, gentle exercise, properly-prepared calcium-rich vegetables and many herbs contribute the vitamins and minerals that build bone mass. Here’s a vinegar that efficiently packs a powerful bone-health punch and makes even more of those greens, bone broths and even grains. Just one tablespoon of Bone Building Vinegar equals 350 to 400 mg of calcium – about 1/3 of the daily 1,000 -1,200 recommended for menopausal and postmenopausal women.
To demonstrate the calcium power of this simple liquid, take a look at the amount of food equivalents that equal one tablespoon of Bone Building Vinegar.
One tablespoon of Bone Building Vinegar equals 350 to 400 mg of calcium. Compare this to …
200 mg of calcium
Blackstrap molasses, 1 tablespoon
Collard greens, ½ cup cooked
100 mg of calcium
Turnip greens, kale, or broccoli, ½ cup cooked
Soybeans, ½ cup cooked
Soynuts, ½ cup
Instant oatmeal, 1 package
Dried figs, 5 each
75 mg of calcium
Almond butter or tahini, 2 tablespoon
Textured vegetable protein, ½ cup prepared
Bok choy or mustard greens, ½ cup cooked
Tempeh, ½ cup
50 mg of calcium
Chickpeas, navy beans, great northern beans, or black beans ½ cup cooked
Vegetarian baked beans, ½ cup
Almonds, 2 tablespoon
Instant Cream of Wheat, 1 package
A Flexible Recipe
As long as you choose from among those herbs we list, you can formulate your own based on what is available near you and what is in season. The only requirement is to pack a gallon jar with finely-snipped herbs, and that will be quite a mound.
You can find fresh herbs at your local farmer’s market or order from the suppliers listed below. Although many of these calcium-rich herbs are found in many backyards sadly mistaken for intrusive weeks, we do not recommend foraging for yourself unless you have certified professional training in and knowledge of herbology.
One bottle of certified organic apple cider vinegar which includes the mother of vinegar – a health-giving by-product of fermentation. The vinegar should be cloudy; that’s just what you’re after.
Bone building herbs, at a minimum any five will do: dandelion leaves, stinging nettle, horsetail, red clover, hounds tongue, motherwort, mugwort, mint, wild arugula, chickweed, shepherd’s purse, oatstraw, alfalfa, parsley, comfrey, raspberry leaves, blackberry leaves, thimbleberry leaves, sage, amaranth leaves, lambsquarter, kale, and cabbage.
You can boost the bone building properties by adding 10 grams each of a few specific Chinese herbs: Gu Sui Bu and Xu Duan work together to build healthy bone; Bu Gu Zhi and Du Zhong also assist in bone building and repair. These herbs are available without a prescription from Chinese herbal pharmacies or from some of the suppliers below.
- a one-gallon wide-mouth glass jar w/sealing cover
- gloves if you are using fresh stinging nettle
Fill up the jar with fresh well-snipped herbs. Cover with apple cider vinegar. Seal and label the jar with the date. Put away in a cupboard away from direct sunlight. Wait six weeks. After six weeks you will have the highly-prized full-strength bone building vinegar.
Aim for at least a tablespoon/day. Put on salads, in stir fry, season beans or grains. A good preventive home remedy is drinking a teaspoon of vinegar in water in the morning. It flushes out the system – and grandmothers past liked to say it relieves many ills from minor arthritic pain to acid reflux. Today we know it provides a substantial calcium supplement in a fully natural form.
Here is our favorite recipe.
Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale) Dandelion leaves (dandelion greens) are a good source of silicon, magnesium, calcium and boron. Not only does Dandelion contain calcium, it also increases calcium absorption. Additionally Dandelion promotes digestive health by stimulating bile production, resulting in a gentle laxative effect. Inulin, a naturally occurring soluble fiber in dandelion, further aids digestion by feeding the healthy probiotic bacteria in the intestines; and has a beneficial effect on blood sugar levels.
Horsetail (Equisetum arvense) Bone growth involves the process of adding calcium for hardness, plus increasing collagen. Silicon is essential for both of these processes. An important study conducted at the School of Public Health at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) shows that silicon-supplemented bones have a 100 percent increase in collagen when compared to low-silicon bones. Silicon works by chemically binding the structures of surface tissues and those that connect the bones. Silicon not only promotes growth, bone and tooth formation, but also has inhibitory effects on coronary heart disease and arteriosclerosis.
Horsetail’s predominant constituent, silicon, is responsible for the majority of the plant’s healing properties. Organic silicon should be distinguished from nonorganic silicone. Organic silicon (as found in horsetail) will recalcify; inorganic silicone will not. In many cases horsetail has also been found to ease the pain of rheumatism and to stimulate the healing of torn ligaments.
Red Clover (Trifolium pratense) Red Clover contains high amounts of isoflavone compounds, such as genistein, which are phytoestrogens (see page xxx). Research on both Red Clover and soy isoflavones is currently looking at their action as potential alternatives to estrogen in menopausal women. A double-blind study found that menopausal women had improved function of their arteries while taking Red Clover extract compared to placebo. This could mean menopausal women would have less trouble with high blood pressure and/or atherosclerosis.
This herb is also considered a valuable tonic to assist the body in recovering from various diseases including cancer of the bowels, breast cysts, liver congestion, tuberculosis, herpes simplex and for rebuilding energy levels after long and lingering illnesses. Red Clover works well with other herbs, often boosting their healing powers.
Hound’s Tongue (Cynoglossum officinalis) Hound’s Tongue’s constituent allantoin, a waxy purine metabolite useful in speeding the healing of connective tissue and bone. The leaves also contain many minerals helpful in the building and strengthening of bone.
Mugwort (Artemisia vulgaris) is used in most traditional medicines, as it grows well all over the world. It is also used as a culinary herb, since the Iron Age when it was used to flavor drinks.
Stinging Nettle (Urtica sp.) Nettle is a very high source of digestible iron, and Vitamin K2 which makes it a valuable herb in not only bone building, but in treating anemia as well as fatigue.
Gu Sui Bu ( Drynaria fortunei) is used in Traditional Chinese medicine specifically for it’s ability to assist the bone absorption of calcium. It is used for mending bone as well as preventing and treating osteoporosis by increasing bone mass density.
Xu Duan (Dipsacus asper) is a complement to Gu Sui Bu in TCM. Plants work together to propagate effect. It has similar properties as above, the pinyin meaning “restore what is broken”.
Bu Gu Zhi (Psoralea corylifolia) pinyin means “tonify bone fat” and is used as a catalyst for bone deposition in TCM.
Du Zhong (Eucommia ulmoides) also compliments Gu Sui Bu and Xu Duan in bone formation, consider it as an assistant.
On Making Bone Vinegar…from Laura
In my garden I can find dandelion, red clover, stinging nettle, all growing wild. If I look a little further afield there is celeriac, and sage, mugwort and shepherd’s purse. I planted some mint and now it grows wild as it pleases.
Going out to find these plants, harvest them and use them to promote good health is a deeply satisfying entirely sustainable act of care for both us me and the planet. So I don’t get stuck in traffic; I don’t spend hard-earned money. There is no packaging and no waste. I just go out into the sun, absorb Vitamin D, pick flowers and later unlock the minerals. Then I have a natural source of calcium and the joy of creating something myself – something that has the power to help my patients live a healthier longer life and develop stronger bones. And the plant? It will simply regrow what I pick, happy to contribute.
My mother does not yet know how to recognize the various plants she might otherwise collect herself to make bone health vinegar, so she, perhaps like you, will source her herbs elsewhere. I have encouraged her, and I encourage you, to search out and work with a local gardener or herbalist. Meantime here are some herbal sources I trust.
Sonoma County Herb Exchange, Sonoma, CA
Juliet Blankspoor, Chestnut School of Herbal Medicine, Asheville, NC
Avena Botanicals, Rockport, ME
Mountain Rose Herbs, Eugene, OR
Starwest Botanicals, Sacramento, CA
Sacred Succulents – books and info on plants, excellent – Sebastopol, CA
Appalachian Medicinal Herb Growers Consortium
Chinese Medicinal Herb Farm, Petaluma, CA