Rediscovering "Jewish Penicillin"

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What is Jewish Penicillin?

So what on earth is "Jewish Penicillin", you ask? Don't worry, you don't need a prescription, and you do not have to travel overseas to get it. Jewish penicillin is just another way to say chicken soup. The reason chicken soup has been dubbed "Jewish Penicillin", according to one source, is because of the legend that Jewish mothers think chicken soup can cure anything. Yet, it seems that this notion is not exclusive to one nation. All over the world moms seem to follow the same ancient prescription.

Because the common cold is one of the most common ailment (hence the name) both kids and adults can suffer from it. Therefore, it never hurts to know what natural remedies are out there to help when the sniffles attack. The common cold is perhaps one of the oldest illnesses known to man, and so it's not difficult to see how civilizations may have come about inventing herbal remedies and concoctions that are now neatly packaged and rushed to health food markets. Natural remedies like lemon tea, bee honey, licorice root, cod liver oil, etc., are still very popular remedies today. Yet, humble as it may seem, chicken soup seems to be the heavy weight champion when it comes to kicking the sniffles in the gluteus maximus. No doubt, due to our fast-paced lifestyles, adults may rather go for the bottle of Nyquil when miserable, but if it is a child you want a remedy for, you may want to try safe, natural home remedies vs. prescription drugs, as the latter may have side effects. What’s more, prescription medicines do very little when it comes to fighting off viruses. What they can do very well, though, is damage the good bacteria in a person's body! This fact in itself is a good reason to go for that bowl of home-made chicken soup as a first resort.

Not an Old Wives Tale

Chicken is not a new tonic recommended for common cold sufferers. In fact, mothers have been applying this home remedy for centuries. What's more, recent laboratory research has proved that chicken soup is far from being an old wives tale, there are beneficial effects to consuming chicken soup.

Research at the University of Nebraska Medical Center found that chicken soup not only blocks the inflammation of white blood cells but also slows down their movement to the infected tissues of our body. This results in less congestion, and upper respiratory relief. So what is it that makes chicken soup such a health champion?

The Proof is in the Pudding

According to The World Health Organization, zinc deficiency is the main factor contributing to disease in underdeveloped countries. For one, a typical, healthy chicken is often enriched with zinc. Zinc is a great band director, allowing about 100 enzymes to do their jobs, and seems to aid in the fight against harmful viruses that attack our body. Another truth about zinc is that it not only helps prevent common cold viruses from multiplying themselves but also blocks them from inhabiting our respiratory tract. Therefore, anything that is rich in zinc is bound to boost our body's ability to fight the common cold viruses.

Another thing that chicken contains is cysteine. As you may know well, cysteine is very good for healing injuries. What you may not know is that it is equally helpful in repairing the damaged tissues of our respiratory tract. If your nasal passage is blocked, without a doubt cysteine would come to your rescue by freeing up the nasal passage from the mucus!

A Chicken's Best Friend

Although chicken is a champion in his own class, he can do with a little help. An ideal chicken recipe that can be used as a common cold remedy should contain onion, garlic, celery, carrots and other vegetables. Why is that? Well, as you probably know, common cold viruses severely damage the tissues of our throat, lungs and nose. Carrots and celery definitely can help repair those injured tissues because they are rich in powerful antioxidants! Onion for instance, is rich in Vitamin C, a well known remedy for common cold in itself, while garlic contains plenty of allicin, a substance which is known to be good at fighting any kind of viruses (to retain garlic's antibiotic properties that may be lost during the cooking process, it may be a good idea to smash a little garlic and add into the soup right before consumption), including common cold! Just like chicken, people have been using onion and garlic too as a common cold remedy for eons! Drink the chicken soup when it is hot as it would help to decongest your nasal cavity by breaking down clogged portions of your sinuses. Now that you know the effectiveness of chicken soup for the common cold, here is a recipe handed down from a great, great grandma living in the mountains of Puerto Rico! If you like you can kindly call this soup: "Puerto Rican Penicillin."


1/2 fresh chicken cut into piece, 1 small onion, 1/2 garlic head, 1 cup of chopped cilantro, 1 /2 cup chopped cilantro, 1 chopped small green pepper, 1 ounce rosemary, fresh oregano, thyme, 1 large potato cubed, 2 sliced carrots, 1/2 cup corn.

Cut the chicken into pieces and place in large pot of water (1 gallon). You can blend cilantro, culantro, thyme, fresh oregano, onions, green pepper, and garlic together in a blender with a little olive oil and water, or just chop all the ingredients and stir into the water. Let the chicken cook at medium heat for at least 30 minutes until it is tender. Lower heat, add potatoes, corn and carrots. Cook for another 15 minutes or so, until potatoes and carrots soften, and then add 1 cup of egg noodles, 1/4 cup olive oil and 1 cup tomato sauce. Note: To control the sodium, you do not need to add chicken bouillon nor any other seasoning to this recipe. Cook another ten minutes until noodles are soft. For an even more healing experience smash some fresh garlic, fresh oregano and a pinch of salt, and add to the soup right before consuming it. This will allow the healing properties of garlic to work in the body, since these properties may get destroyed in the cooking process. Salt to flavor, serve and enjoy! This soup is delicious, and very nutritious. Serves a family of four to six.



photo credit: <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/99051133@N00/3490371146">J. Bond Francisco 1890s</a> via <a href="http://photopin.com">photopin</a> <a href="https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/">(license)</a>


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Comments 2 comments

poetryman6969 profile image

poetryman6969 17 months ago

Lucky for us if not the chicken, that eating the chicken works!


mrod profile image

mrod 17 months ago Author

Yes, lucky for us :)

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