Does Chicken Soup Really Help a Cold?

Does Chicken Soup Really Help a Cold?


Photo Credit: Wikipedia

Was Grandma right?

There haven’t been any clinical trials comparing chicken soup to a placebo to prove it helps. But, there have been studies about two aspects that are related to making you feel better when you have a cold:

  • Mucous
  • Anti-inflammation.

Pediatricians, Dr. Aaron E. Carroll and Dr. Rachel C. Vreeman, have set out to determine if the things our mothers and grandmothers told us when we were growing up were true or myths. Their book, “Don’t Cross Your Eyes…They’ll Get Stuck That Way,” addresses dozens of these myths.

The chicken soup advice is true. Carroll and Vreeman first cite research that shows hot liquids, in general, give you a runny nose, as it loosens mucous. This helps relieve congestion. While even hot water has this effect, it is more pronounced with chicken soup.

Also confirming Carroll’s and Vreeman’s research, a scientist recently studied the components and combination of his wife’s grandmother’s chicken soup in the laboratory for its anti-inflammatory properties. He also tested 13 commercial brands of soup and found that all but one or two of them also inhibited inflammation, a common reaction to colds that causes many of their side effects.

The Mayo Clinic agrees with this advice, and cautions that parents not give over-the-counter cold medicines to children under the age of 2. They also say that while the reputation of zinc as a cold remedy has not held up in clinical studies, where it has been shown to have the most effect to relieve symptoms or shorten a cold’s duration is when it is taken in the first 24 hours.

Nothing cures a cold and antibiotics do not help. However, your Mom’s chicken soup will make you feel better, and not just because she made it for you.

Carol Covin, Granny-Guru, Author, “Who Gets to Name Grandma? The Wisdom of Mothers and Grandmothers”


Don’t forget to follow Grandmother Diaries via Geek Girl on Facebook and Twitter. Sign up for updates by email!

Filed in: Health Tags:

Comments (7 )

Trackback URL | Comments RSS Feed

  1. JeriWB says:

    In addition to the general goodness that is otherwise known as soup, when I have a cold I will make sweet and sour soup and then add some chili pepper paste to the broth. Granted, this wouldn't work with the grandkids, but the extra spice along with the hot broth, really can help alleviate stuffiness due to a cold quite a bit.

    • carolcovin says:

      I love the idea of adding hot spices to your soups. That should certainly help with stuffiness!

  2. Don't forget the importance of this being a comfort food. That type of remedy can't be measures scientifically.

    • carolcovin says:

      You're right, Jon. And, this morning, after I came down with a cold yesterday (yeah, the irony) and my husband made me chicken soup for lunch, this morning he made me soft-boiled eggs and toast, because he knows that's what my Mom always made for us when we were sick:)

  3. Susan Cooper says:

    That was fun to read. It’s nice to know that there is some merit in the myth. I will have think about posting my homemade chicken soup. 🙂