The Common Cold Remedies Chicken Soup

If you’re like millions of other Americans, when you were a child and had a cold, someone in the family likely offered you a big bowl of piping-hot chicken noodle soup. While many of us think chicken soup as a cold remedy is more wives’ tale than science, it turns out mom and grandma might have known more than we thought: Scientists have discovered that chicken soup actually does help alleviate cold symptoms. Chicken soup acts as an anti-inflammatory as well as a decongestant.

Chicken Soup of Yesteryear

In the 12th century, Maimonides, famed physician to the ancient kings, prescribed “the broth of fowl” to his patients. Chicken soup was used to treat such conditions as hemorrhoids, constipation and leprosy. However, Maimonides thought chicken soup was especially useful in treating the common cold and other respiratory illnesses. Maimonides wrote: “The meat taken should be that of hens or roosters and their broth should also be taken because this sort of fowl has virtue in rectifying corrupted humours.”

The Science Behind Chicken Soup

As early as the 12th century, and possibly even before, physicians were prescribing chicken soup as a cure for a number of ailments. However, until recently, doctors were unsure of the remedy’s effectiveness.

According to research recently conducted by physicians at the University of Nebraska’s Medical Center, chicken soup not only helps hydrate us when we have a cold, but it also helps reduce inflammations, helping clear airways and make breathing easier.

Researchers tested three homemade chicken soup and 13 commercially-produced soups. The results showed that all of the homemade soups and many of the store-bought soups slowed the activity of white blood cells that attack viruses and cause a buildup of fluids in the chest.

Cold Causes

Most colds are caused by viruses, which means they can’t be treated with antibiotics. Most doctors recommend treating the cold with over-the-counter pain relievers and decongestants. In addition, you should drink plenty of fluids and get plenty of rest.

Best Commercially Available Chicken Soups

To reap the benefits of chicken soup, you don’t have to dig up grandma’s chicken soup recipe and spend hours chopping and dicing in the kitchen. Luckily, there are several canned soups that can help you alleviate cold symptoms. Look for the following at your local grocery store. The soups are listed from most effective in fighting colds to least effective in fighting colds:

  1. Knorr’s Chicken Flavor Chicken Noodle
  2. Campbell’s Home Cookin’ Chicken Vegetable
  3. Campbell’s Healthy Request Chicken Noodle
  4. Lipton Cup-o-Soup, Chicken Noodle
  5. Progresso Chicken Noodle
  6. Grandma’s Soup
  7. Health Valley 100-Percent Natural Chicken Broth
  8. Healthy Choice Thick and Heart Country Vegetable
  9. Progresso Hearty Vegetable and Pasta
  10. Campbell’s Vegetarian Vegetable
  11. Campbell’s Vegetable Soup with Beef Stock
  12. Health Valley Fat-Free Garden Noodle
  13. Cup o’ Noodles, Oriental Nissin
  14. Campbell’s Ramen Noodles, Chicken Flavor.


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CBC (2007). More ‘effective’ soups. Retrieved October 26, 2007, from the CBC Marketplace Web site:

Mayo Clinic Staff (February 23, 2006). Cold remedies: What works, what doesn’t, what can’t hurt. Retrieved October 25, 2007, from the Mayo Clinic Web site: