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Chicken Soup – Medicinal or not?

Chicken Soup

An age old remedy for colds, flus , or general malaise.. Its mechanisms are numerous.. Steam to moisturize, broth a great food for debility, the herbs generally offer antimicrobial/expectorating support and more.. Its nickname the “Jewish penicillin” is quite well earned.. The evidence was so compelling that in 1978 researchers at Mount Sinai Medical Center, proved chicken soups favorable effect on air flow and mucus.. Even more so than plain hot water, with cold water having no effect. Interesting right? But it gets a bit more technical..

Dr Stephen Rennard, a pulmonary care expert, also noted the apparent anti inflammatory effect chicken soup had when his wife cooked up her traditional Lithuanian recipe of this soup. He decided to perform a study which was published in 2000 in the Journal of the American College of Chest Physicians (CHEST). What blew my mind about this is the results showed that chicken soup INHIBITED neutrophil mobility…just a quick recap neutrophils are a type of white blood cell, that are important for immune responses. They are a major component of the innate immune system.. and make up about 55-70% of your White blood cells..

So is this a good thing? My initial response was that of complete disbelief.. Well interestingly for colds and flus, they contribute to mucus production and some of the other symptoms such as fevers, runny nose, painful throat, etc.. So chicken soup would be great for the surface symptoms but theoretically can send the infection deeper, especially in immuno compromised folks.. Something doesnt sound right hmm..

Dr Rennard tested many other types of chicken soup offered in the market and 5 were found to have even GREATER neutrophil inhibiting activity.. Those were : Knorr chicken flavour, Campbells hom ecookin chicken vegetable, Campbells health request chicken noodle, Lipton cup a soup chicken noodle and Progresso chicken noodle. Interestingly enough Neutrophils were more active in Campells chicken flavour ramen soup, likely due to the presence of the excitotoxen MSG..

So what do we make of this info? its important to take it with a grain of salt.. Neutrophils are usually in the body and not exposed directly to chicken soup. Chicken soup in our body is digested before it hits the blood stream.. so its not exactly the same thing.. So whether this info is useful in terms of application to people or not, I cant really say, but it sure is interesting..!!

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