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The "Chicken Soup" Cure

A couple of days ago it seemed like everyone in the family came down with a cold but me. The sneezy, coughing, stuffy head variety.

My sister the phd, and I usually believe everything she tells me, swears that there is absolutely nothing that will cure a cold faster than homemade chicken soup.

I really don't know, but since I don't like the cold meds out there and have blood pressure concerns, I made the soup two days ago hoping to fend it off. I have had it for lunch two days now...so far so good....

What do you think? Any comments or swear by its?

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  1. I'm sure I've seen a study that said chicken broth does something to lessen (or is it loosen?) the mucus we get when we have a cold. I don't recall seeing anything that said it actually cured the cold, but I'm a big believer in the power of the mind-if you think it does, it probably does for you.

    I love making a spicy chicken soup-with roasted chilies, cilantro, lime, garlic, tomatoes, onion, etc-when I have a cold. I figure between the broth, the vitamin C in the veggies, the garlic and the spicy peppers that help clear my sinuses, it sure can't hurt.

    3 Replies
    1. re: christy319

      oh I left out the chilies! What I seem to think is it probably does alot for symptoms. Time will tell if I catch it or I if I am able to avoid this round. I'm having more tomorrow~!!

      1. re: christy319

        <a spicy chicken soup-with roasted chilies, cilantro, lime, garlic, tomatoes, onion, etc >

        that sounds sooo good! Is there a recipe (if so, would you post it please) or just a bit of each kinda thing?

        1. re: orangewasabi

          check out recipes for Tortilla Soup...same concept.

          Dean Fearing in Dallas has one in his cookbook but jfood is unclear whether this link is real or a close approximation. He has the book at home but here is the link


      2. chicken soup helps me--spice it up with some cilantro and lime juice-yum-

        1. I feel its something with the stock,or broth that helps me with colds. I believe it has to do with all the nutrients that come from the bones/etc. being simmered so long.

          If I feel a cold coming on I make sure I get a few bowls in me. (I havent had a sick day in over 3 years...)

          1. In the winter I like to make a bread soup from Portugal that is essentially chicken broth seasoned with loads of garlic, bread, an egg cracked into each serving of hot soup, and lots of chopped cilantro. Maybe it's the power of suggestion, but the chicken broth and all the garlic *seem* to do the trick in warding off the winter scourge. I've read a lot of speculation on the natural antibiotic properties that the Allium family seem to possess. Maybe that, along with the chicken broth, has a beneficial effect.

            I never get colds (knock wood).

            But: it may be that I smell so strongly of garlic that no one ever gets close enough to pass the cold along! :)

            1. Soup/chicken soup is comforting, something we all seek out when we feel ill. For a chest cold it couldn't hurt..but cure is another thing entirely. For a head cold I steep a slice of fresh ginger in hot water. It's a spicy brew but it does clear my sinues/head.

              I think the trick is to catch a cold when the symptoms are early to feel the most positive effects from home remedy.

              Of course, the saying goes, "chicken soup is good for the soul."

              1. KISS when it comes to chicken soup. A cut up chicken, a big onion cut in half and a couple of peeled crrots into a pot of water. Simmer for a couple of hours and serve with noodles.

                It will cure the cold, full stop. Years and years of experience proves it.

                Although the other recipes on this thread sound great, KISS and get better first.

                1. A summary of cold remedies, including chicken soup, can be found here:


                  I'm also a true believer. Homemade is best, but even Lipton's has the magic.

                  1. When I have a cold, I CRAVE hot, brothy liquids and they help me so much, whether it's homemade or in desperation even Campbell's Chicken Noodle...hot ginger tea with fresh lemon also is helpful to me.

                    1. I think the placebo effect has a big role to play here. A lot of Chinese people refuse to drink chicken soup when they have a cough/cold because it's supposed to exacerbate coughs. I think it just depends on the cultural frame of reference you have, and obviously you can't go wrong with warm liquids of any kind.

                      3 Replies
                      1. re: frenetica

                        Interesting! It would probably be fascinating to learn what all sorts of different cultures eat when they want to cure a cold.

                        1. re: frenetica

                          I thought chicken soup was seen as a universal "cure-all" for the cold, so thanks for sharing the tidbit. But that also reminded me that whenever I was sick, my mom would sometimes whip up rice soup instead, a very Japanese remedy. A tasty curative, indeed.

                          1. re: frenetica

                            REALLY I though Chicken soup (espically if it's made from a "black chicken") was considered capital for lung complaints in china (and isnt coughing a lung complaint)
                            Speaking of China I'm surpised no one mentioned adding ginger to the soup. t makes it tastier and ginger is good for nausea and upset somachs (good for when your "cold" turns out to have the flu on top of it)

                          2. Well it can't hurt you that's for sure. As mentioned the hot broth helps with mucous and congestion and being a clear broth helps with hydration. It's also easy to eat/digest when you're feeling crappy so that has a natural nurishment effect...as opposed to eating a porterhouse or fettucine alfredo that would tax your body.

                            1. As I recall, Chicken soup and zinc are the only things which have been proven to shorten the term of a cold. You can find that in "You: the Owner's Manual."

                              1. For you cold try to include some parsnips. They help in fighting colds.

                                1. I always use some parsnip when making chicken soup...lends some sweetness to it along w' the carrots

                                  1. chicken soup, sure. absolute remedy whenever i am feeling like i am gettin it......garlic. i know i am going to smell, but i'm not sick. i make some toast, an butter it, and then mince some raw garlic maybe about a clove for one piece of toast, and eat. harsh, strong, but it'll kick anything out of your body.

                                    1. Unfortunately, even homemade chicken soup couldn't fend off the cold I caught a few days ago. Tried Zicam, Airborne, Emer-Gen-C, and Oscillococcinum at various times since Monday when I felt it coming on, along with chicken soup. This sucker just wouldn't be denied. I was *so* hoping I could make it through the year without a head cold.

                                      So while the chicken soup was/is good, it didn't help me.

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: LindaWhit

                                        With Zicam in the news it seems relevant to mention that most flavors are a result from a combination of taste bud and olfactory receptor stimulation. As much as 90% of what we believe to be taste is really due to smell. This can be critical in the kitchen or eating out if food is spoiled. I think the discussion of treating colds, your sense of smell and how Zicam and other medicines affect our sense of smell is relevant.

                                      2. The Thais swear by Tom Yum Goong, and it's hard to argue. Shrimp, mushrooms, chilis, lemongrass, garlic, galangal, kaffir lime, a little fish sauce, all in a chili-paste infused broth that'll clear your head and warm your heart. I've seen claims that it prevents cancer -- not due to any one ingredient, but rather the magical combination.

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: Rick_V

                                          this one is so good and I can see why it is curative-lemongrass and spices are good for you-help you sweat-I love this soup as well.

                                        2. Here's a reference to the health research on Tom Yum: http://www.thaivisa.com/forum/lofiver...

                                          1. great Grandma (lived to 105 yrs. old) words of wisdom: eat a raw onion when you feel a head cold coming on(or have been exposed to) so forget the whole idea of homemade soup just get the onipn peeled and bite into it!! I have a cold and I am getting ready to do so first thing in the morning! (I already warned my husband)

                                            Stay healthy in 2006 and 2007 and always

                                            1 Reply
                                            1. re: clemmons

                                              My brother swears by eating raw onion and garlic as cures for the cold--I myself prefer chicken soup and eat it about once every 3 weeks--I feel healthy and good-

                                            2. Chicken soup is known as Jewish penicillin.

                                              A Jewish farmer had 2 chickens and one was feeling poorly. So he killed the healthy one to make soup for the sick one.

                                              I always add a lot of celery to my chicken soup, carrots, onions (whole), parsnip and turnip. Don't forget lots of salt (gotta harden those arteries). Remove onion when soup is cooked.

                                              1 Reply
                                              1. re: smartie

                                                There's no one home for me to read that joke to, so I read it to one of my dogs (Bella)
                                                She didn't think it was as cute as I did...

                                                When I feel a bad cold coming on, I send my husband out for Hot & Sour soup. I used to swear by it, from this place over in Edison NJ but we've moved and I can't get the CURE anymore. I pretend the Hot & Sour from here is just as magical. Oddly, it doesn't seem to work because I won't eat it since I don't really like the taste of it. HA!