Gerd Eichmann, CC BY-SA 4.0 <>, via Wikimedia Commons

Happy St. Patrick's Day! If you're like many celebrating today, raising a glass of Guinness may be in your sights this Friday night. But did you know that stout beers like Guinness do have a history of health benefits?

In Chinese Medicine, stout beer is considered an herbal remedy that offers Blood tonifiying properties. This means that taken medicinally, stout beer can strengthen the Kidneys and Liver which coordinate the creation and function of Blood in the body. Many herbal tinctures in Chinese medicinal practice were administered with the assistance of alcohol--as it quickened the Qi and Blood, helping to remove stasis. The ancient Blood building aspects of stout may have been corroborated by modern-day Western Medicine when research revealed that beer in moderation does have a positive impact on bone density in older adults (2009) as well as decreased risk for cardiovascular disease and mortality (2021). Of course, alcohol in excess does have its drawbacks--too much alcohol, including stout, can actually hinder the flow of Qi and Blood. So, like anything in holistic health, it's always about balance.

However, the Chinese weren't the only ones who sensed stout beer had benefits. In Ireland, where Guinness originates from, the medical practice of recommending it as an iron supplement, and as a lactation aid for new mothers was common practice there in the last century. Guinness also used to run ad campaigns, "Guinness is Good For You" and "Guinness For Strength" touting the beer as a source of nutritional value--and the marketers may not have been all that far off. According to, brewing experts claim most beers contain "plenty of nutritional benefit" such as "antioxidants, B vitamins, fiber, silicon and prebiotics" and that stout beers are among "the richer sources of these nutrients".

In an analysis reported by The Sun, a full pint of Guinness actually contains the following vitamins and minerals:

  • 1% calcium
  • B Vitamins 1-9
  • Iron--about 3% of an adult's daily recommended allowance
  • Antioxidants, specifically, flavonoids, that can assist in reducing risk of blood clots and stroke

Smithsonian Magazine also reported on a 2003 study comparing the effects of Guinness vs. Heineken on dogs with clogged arteries--the dogs with reduced clotting drank Guinness.

So, if you enjoy a Guinness especially on a day like today the good news is you don't have to sift through ancient manuscripts, research, or need a dog to tell you--embrace the fortifying qualities of stout beer, pour yourself a pint and toast "to your health"!

Kirem Marnett holds a master's degree in Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine. Having previously lived in Boston for over a decade, she will happily raise a pint tonight and wishes all a happy and safe St. Patrick's Day. Connect with her and the editorial team at [email protected].

Nashville: Don't miss your chance to catch Celtic Kirtan live tomorrow!

Celtic Kirtan with Eileen Bray and Friends
Nourish your Celtic Soul and discover the healing power of your own voice with Eileen Bray and her unique Celtic Kirtan! Kirtan is a collective, interactive, immersive, musical, meditative experience. In this safe, gentle environment we will gently explore sacred chant with her “mantra mash up“. Roo…

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