Chicken Soup for the Soul (and Flu)!

Chicken soup has a long history as a remedy for coughs, colds and other respiratory tract infections.  In a recent cell study, chicken soup was shown to have an anti-inflammatory effect by blocking the chemical messaging system (neutrophil chemotaxis) that contributes to chest congestion, mucous production and coughing.  The authors even suggested that the combination of ingredients in the chicken soup worked synergistically to give its beneficial health effects, since some of the individual vegetable extracts studied did not have the same effect when prepared together in the completed soup.

Eating chicken soup during the cold and flu season is a very simple way to support the immune system.  You can also try adding nutritional supplements like an immune system supporting multi-vitamin and medicinal herbs into your daily routine if you are prone to getting sick.

Here is the recipe and cooking directions used in the study.

Chicken Soup Recipe

  • Ingredients

  • 1 5-6 lb stewing hen or baking chicken;
  • 1 package of chicken wings;
  • 3 large onions;
  • 1 large sweet potato;
  • 3 parships;
  • 2 turnips;
  • 11 to 12 large carrots;
  • 5 to 6 celery stems;
  • 1 bunch of parsley; and
  • salt and pepper to taste.
  • Directions

  • Clean the chicken, put it in a large pot, and cover it with cold water. Bring the water to a boil. Add the chicken wings, onions, sweet potato, parsnips, turnips, and carrots. Boil about 1.5 h. Remove fat from the surface as it accumulates. Add the parsley and celery. Cook the mixture about 45 min longer. Remove the chicken. The chicken is not used further for the soup but can be discarded and used for other meals (e.g., chicken parmesan). Put the vegetables in a food processor until they are chopped fine or pass through a strainer. Add salt and pepper to taste.

 

Reference: Rennard, B. O., Ertl, R. F., Gossman, G. L., Robbins, R. A., & Rennard, S. I. (2000). Chicken soup inhibits neutrophil chemotaxis in vitro. Chest, 118(4), 1150-7.