Drinks, Plant Wonder Collective, Recipes

Bone Broth Hot Cocoa

The Aztecs and Mayans revered cacao as sacred long before 18th century Swedish botanist, Carl Linnaeus, named the cacao tree Theobroma cacao —which means “food of the gods” in Latin.

In modern times, cacao is well-known as a flavoring in sugary desserts and chocolate candies. However, this herb actually has numerous health benefits when not heavily adulterated by processed sugars and other additives.

Cacao (Theobroma cacao) is rich in minerals and anti-inflammatory flavonoids. It provides mood-boosting, anxiety reducing effects. It helps to boost energy levels, mental clarity, and focus. Cacao has also been shown to boost heart health and lower blood pressure.

Combine cacao with bone broth for a decadent and deeply nourishing drink that is a far cry from the hot cocoa you made from pre-packaged packets as a kid. This delightful warming beverage tastes like a guilty pleasure, but packs a health boosting wallop.

Traditional cultures have long appreciated the many benefits of long-simmering bones to make healing broths. Bone broth is rich in essential minerals. It also is a source of gelatin, which boosts gut, joint, and skin health.

Gelatin is rich in protein which is important for maintaining energy levels. It also provides essential amino acids for optimal muscle, bone, and hormonal health.

Numerous studies have found that glycine, an amino acid found in bone broth, helps to improve sleep (Kawai et al., 2015; Yamadera et al., 2007). It has also been shown to improve cognitive function and memory (Yamadera et al., 2007).

I first crafted this bone broth hot cocoa in the early postpartum period after my son was born. Enjoying a mug daily became a pleasurable and nourishing self-care ritual that helped to gently balance mood, improve energy, and bolster protein & mineral intake for better breast milk production.

It’s a lovely drink for busy moms, who are notoriously bad at making time for caring for their own needs.

To make it, you will need:

  • 1 1/3 cups bone broth
  • 2 Tbsp raw cacao powder
  • 1 tsp ginger powder
  • A pinch of sea salt
  • 1-2 Tbsp panela or honey


Heat the bone broth in a small pan. Add the cacao, ginger, salt, and panela or honey to a large mug. When the broth is warm, pour a small amount into the bottom of the mug and whisk vigorously with a fork until smooth. Then add the rest of the bone broth and give it a good stir. Top with some homemade marshmallows, if desired.


Kawai, N., Sakai, N., Okuro, M., Karakawa, S., Tsuneyoshi, Y., Kawasaki, N., Takeda, T., Bannai, M., and Nishino, S. (2015). The Sleep-Promoting and Hypothermic Effects of Glycine are Mediated by NMDA Receptors in the Suprachiasmatic Nucleus. Neuropsychopharmacology, 40(6): 1405–1416.

Yamaera, W., Inagawa, K., Chiba, S. Bannani, M., Takahashi, M., and Nakayami, K. (2007). Glycine ingestion improves subjective sleep quality in human volunteers, correlating with polysomnographic changes. Sleep and Biological Rhythms 5, 126–131. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1479-8425.2007.00262.x

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