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Does Chicken Soup Really Cure The Common Cold?

Updated on December 1, 2013
Delicious homemade chicken soup
Delicious homemade chicken soup | Source

Chicken Soup For The Cold

Does homemade chicken soup really cure the common cold? When I was growing up and it sounded like I was coming down with a cold my Mom would immediately make me some buttered toast and a big bowl of Campbell's chicken noodle soup. Now it looks like there may be some science backing up the chicken soup "remedy" and good old Mom may have been right all along.

While no instant cure for the common cold really exists symptoms can be treated. If you take good care of your body it may be able to fight off the cold virus sooner. This is where our chicken soup "cure" comes in.

Swollen Nasal Passages

Some current research done by the Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine Section of the Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha seems to indicate that chicken soup can help reduce swelling in the nasal passages. Researchers exposed their white blood cells to chicken soup and measured the response. The white blood cell response is what causes the respiratory symptoms of the common cold. The soup greatly reduced white blood cell activity as did most of the components when tested by themselves, including the boiled chicken itself. So it seems that chicken soup really does help reduce the symptom of swollen nasal passages!

A humidifier can help keep the upper airway moist.
A humidifier can help keep the upper airway moist. | Source
Lemon and honey may also be beificial while treating a cold.
Lemon and honey may also be beificial while treating a cold. | Source

Neddi Pot Instructions


The steam from a bowl of soup can open up clogged nostrils. Dry nasal passages are irritable nasal passages. Keeping them moist with the help of a nice steamy bowl of chicken soup or a room humidifier can help.

Nutrients to the rescue!

Chicken is a great source of protein that we need to stay healthy. Low protein intake can decrease your immune systems effectiveness. Eating chicken soup is an easy way to get some calories and protein when you are not feeling well. The vegetables used to make the soup have a lot of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants to help fight off that cold. Keeping your body healthy with the proper nutrients helps strengthen your immune system so you can fight off that cold much faster.

Proper hydration is good for you!

Staying well hydrated is important when you are fighting a cold. Fluids in the soup help thin out mucus and decrease congestion. Taking in plenty of fluids helps keep your whole body running more smoothly. Drinking 2 liters of water a day is recommended to maintain good health. The water in the soup can help you get in more fluids when you are not feeling well.

How To Treat The Common Cold

Have a nice bowl of homemade chicken noodle soup.

Get plenty of rest.

Using a Nedi Pot can help clear nasal passages.

A cool mist humidifier helps nasal passages shrink and allows you to breathe easier.

Saline nose drops or spray keep nasal passages moist and helps avoid stuffiness.

Nasal suctioning with a bulb syringe either with or without saline nose drops, works especially well for infants less than a year old.

Sudafed can help by constricting the blood vessels in the nasal passage thereby reducing swelling and making it easier to breathe.

Acetaminophen or ibuprofen can be used to reduce fever, aches and pains.

Guaifenesin can be helpful in the treatment of the thickened mucus in your airway, it works by drawing water into the bronchi. The water then thins the mucus and lubricates the airway, helping to remove mucus when you cough.

Drinking plenty of liquids will help you to stay well hydrated.

Wash your hands frequently. This will also help to prevent others from catching the cold virus.

Do not use these Zicam nasal swabs!
Do not use these Zicam nasal swabs! | Source

Some Things To Avoid When Treating A Cold

Do not ask your doctor for antibiotics to cure the common cold virus. They will not be effective against the cold and the next time you really do need antibiotics they may not work as well for you.

Do not use over the counter cold medications for infants under the age of two. They have not been shown to be effective for them and may have adverse side effects.

Do not use medicine for adults and older children on infants under two years of age. Infants metabolize these medications differently than adults and it could be harmful to them.

Avoid using Zicam nasal gel or swabs. These were removed from store shelves by the FDA in 2009. They were shown to cause the loss of the sense of smell in some people (anosmia) somtimes permanently.

Avoid exposing other people to your cold. If you are around other people cover your mouth and nose with your inner arm (not your hands).

How Do You Catch a Cold?



What Causes A Cold?

The common cold is a viral infectious disease which affects mostly the upper airway and nose. Symptoms include coughing, sore throat, runny nose and a low grade fever. A cold usually gets better within seven to ten days but symptoms may last up to three weeks. The most common cause of a cold is the rhinovirus but there are over 200 viruses that are implicated as the cause of the common cold. Symptoms are mostly due to the body's immune response to the infection rather than to tissue destruction by the viruses themselves. The primary method of prevention is by hand washing with some evidence to support the effectiveness of wearing face masks. It is the most frequent infectious disease in humans with the average adult contracting two to three colds a year and the average child contracting between six and twelve.

Get The Facts About The Common Cold


About the Author

This article was originally written and published by Karen Shiley on 1/3/13.

My name is Karen Shiley. I live in the beautiful evergreen Washington state. I have an adventurous spirit and love to share what I learn with everyone. I like science, gardening, cooking, reading, daytrips and above all else my amazing family who supply me with endless amusment and happiness.


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    • Shiley profile image

      Karen Shiley 4 years ago from Washington

      Thank you CyberShelley I am glad that you enjoyed the article. It is always so nice to hear positive feedback.

    • CyberShelley profile image

      Shelley Watson 4 years ago

      Great article, with well researched and interesting facts. Thank you for taking the time to share! Voted up, useful and interesting.