Is there really something to the story that chicken soup is good for the common cold?

soupMoses Maimoindes, the noted physician/philosopher sure thought so over 800 years ago when he recommended it to his patients. Modern research has actually shown that chicken soup, more than other hot liquid, increases mucus flow and helps the body rid itself of the cold virus. Chicken is rich in an amino acid called cysteine which helps loosen secretions. This effect is increased by adding spices such as pepper and garlic. Often when people become ill with the cold or flu they lose body fluids and minerals called electrolytes. Potassium loss is of particular concern in dehydration. Parsnips are a very good source of potassium and should always go into chicken soup. So should carrots and onions because of their antioxidant content. Here is an easy and quick recipe. Your cold will be gone in seven days. If you don’t use chicken soup, it may take a week.

In a big pot, place two liters of cold water. Add six sliced carrots, three parsnips cut in half, a whole onion, a cubed celery root, four celery stalks, half a green pepper and eight peeled cloves of garlic. And then comes the secret ingredient. Chicken soup can be made without the middle man-the chicken. Knorr chicken bouillon cubes are great. Six of them! Why bother to extract the cysteine from the chicken when someone has already done it more effectively? Now add black pepper to taste and a packet of fresh dill. Simmer for forty minutes and then consume at least once a day.

For all you Global viewers who saw me (JS) on the morning show on January 26 and have been bombarding me with e-mails for information about “Dr. Joe’s Chicken Soup,” here it is. I had been making the soup at home for a long time and one day just for fun gave a sample to the owner of a food store. He liked it and said “Hey, why don’t we sell this stuff?” It started as a joke but people seemed to like it so they keep making it. The store is called “Qualitifruits” and is located at 5818 Westminster in Cote-St-Luc. Corner of Westminster and Mackle. (481-7341). For those of you not living in Montreal, sorry, you’ll just have to make your own.

Joe Schwarcz

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