Is this a laughing matter? We couldn't restrain a chuckle or two. In the medical journal Chest, vol. 118, 2000, a group of physicians* not only revealed that chicken soup worked on experimental cold symptoms--but actually came up with a list of brands that were graded for presumed effectiveness. And even more--they provided a recipe!
They also noted that it was an anti-inflammatory factor or factors from the chicken that caused cold symptoms. Popular belief is that cold symptoms are caused by the organism (bacteria or virus.) What they revealed is that the runny nose, the sneezing, the headaches, are caused by the body's attempt to fight the invader, not the invader itself.
Though they did not attempt to test aspirin as an anti-inflammatory remedy, it would seem that it too could be launched in the fight against colds. Yes, it sometimes is. But perhaps it could be taken even if a headache was not present?
They also found that the vegetables cooked with the soup also had cold symptom benefits, that is, separate from the chicken. Both together were of course, superior.
Store-bought chicken soup (listed in order of presumed effectiveness):
Knorr's Chicken Flavor Chicken Noodle
Campbell's Home Cookin' Chicken Vegetable
Campbell's Healthy Request Chicken Noodle
Lipton's Cup-o-soup, Chicken Noodle
Progresso Chicken Noodle.
Other brands, including some of Campbell's, were less effective.
Here's the recipe. More work of course, but you can cut the excessive use of salt found in store-bought types:
1 5-to 6-lb stewing hen or baking chicken,
1 package of chicken wings,
3 large onions,
l large sweet potato,
11 to 12 large carrots,
5 to 6 celery stems,
1 bunch of parsley,
salt and pepper to taste.
Cover the chicken with cold water, and bring it to boiling. Add chicken wings, onions, sweet potato, parsnips, turnips and carrots. Boil about 1 1/2 hours, removing fat regularly. Add the parsley and celery. Cook all about 45 minutes longer. Remove the chicken, which is no longer used for the soup. Put the vegetables in a food processor until chopped fine or pass them through a strainer. Add salt and pepper.
Doctors Test Chicken Soup for a Cold - Don't Laugh Bibliography
*Chest, vol. 118, 2000 Drs. B. Rennard, Ertl, Gossman, Robbins and S. I. Rennard.