Chicken Soup and Colds – Is There Anything There?

Old Wives’ Tale or Ancient Wisdom?
A Cure or Just Prevention?


For centuries, Chicken Soup has enjoyed a reputation for efficacy in helping prevent or curing upper respiratory infections – in many countries and over a long time span.  Is this reputation justified or is it just an old wives’ tale?

Informed opinions differ. Among health care experts, including physicians and students of immunology and virology opinions seem roughly divided as to whether Chicken Soup confers any benefits to the respiratory system, either for prevention or for cure. A somewhat larger portion of health care specialists seem to favor Chicken Soup, or anyway hot soup in general, for its benefits in helping patients feel better and possibly recovery sooner.

While more study and data are needed, one study published in the medical journal Chest suggests that Chicken Soup might have anti-inflammatory properties.

Studies in 2012 found that a compound found in Chicken Soup, Carnosine, helps the body’s immune system fight the early stages of flu.

Chicken Soup may be most beneficial during the early stages of a respiratory infection.  A 1998 study focused on allergies and asthma found that Chicken Broth may improve the functioning of the cilia — tiny hairs in the nasal passages — that impede the external contagions getting into the bronchial tubes.

In recent years the Flu vaccines provided by government public health services in many countries have been designed to provide protection against a spectrum or band of the anticipated influenza strains.  Many patients who receive the shots are infected with other strains or with weaker versions of the covered strains.  These people may sometimes avoid hospitalization but still need bed rest for a while and cold possibly benefit from hot Chicken Soup.

There are so many versions of Chicken Soup in different countries and all of them seem good.  This Japanese version is easy to make and seems at least as effective as any.  It would be a good regular addition to any household menu during the Cold and Flu season. Just in case. There are no drug side effects and it is soothing and refreshing and improves hydration.  You can make it with the cheapest, bony Chicken parts.

This soup combines the benefits of Ginger with those of the Chicken itself.

If you have followed the instructions well, after it has been chilled, the stock should be jellied, showing that Collagen has been extracted from the Chicken.


Chicken Soup



6 cups fresh cold Water
1 – 1½ pounds fresh uncooked Chicken bones, such as backs, necks, wings
5 – 6 slices fresh peeled Ginger Root
5 – 6 Green Onions, cut into lengths about 2 inches’
1 – 1½ teaspoon Salt
3 whole black or green peppercorns1 Egg White, beaten stiff

For Garnish:

Fresh Ginger Root, cut in fine julienne
Green Onion tops, chopped finely

You will also need a few yards of cheesecloth and a colander to strain the soup and produce a perfectly clear broth.


First put the water in a large pot with the Chicken Bones and Meat.  Bring to a brisk boil, skim off any dark foam.

Add Salt and Peppercorns. Put in the Green Onions and sliced Ginger at this point. Reduce fire to a simmer and cook covered for 45 minutes.

Line a colander with several layers of cheesecloth.  Pour the stock through this strainer and discard the bones, Vegetables and Peppercorns.

Put the strained broth into a deep, clean pot.  Meanwhile, beat the Egg White and prepare another colander with more cheesecloth.

Heat the broth in the pot to boiling, then put in the beaten Egg White and stir well.  Bring to the boil again, and strain through the cheesecloth-lined strainer.

Chill the resulting soup, which should be quite clear, in the refrigerator.  When it is set, the soup should be quite gelatinous, and any remaining fat can be skimmed from the top.  The result will be a clear, intense Chicken Soup with  notes of Onion and Ginger and no visible fat.

Serve the soup hot, garnished with slivers of Ginger and finely chopped Green Onion.

The combination of Ginger with Chicken is an old one in Asian cuisines. Other dishes with this combination include Chicken Stock,, Chicken Noodles with Sesame-Ginger Sauce,,Ginger Chicken, and Ginger Chicken Stock.

Also Japanese Chicken Stock.



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