Is Chicken Soup Good for Fighting Off a Cold?

The short answer… yes!

Chicken Soup Inhibits Neutrophil Chemotaxis In Vitro

Chicken Soup
“Chicken soup has long been regarded as a remedy for symptomatic upper respiratory tract infections. As it is likely that the clinical similarity of the diverse infectious processes that can result in “colds” is due to a shared inflammatory response, an effect of chicken soup in mitigating inflammation could account for its attested benefits. To evaluate this, a traditional chicken soup was tested for its ability to inhibit neutrophil migration using the standard Boyden blindwell chemotaxis chamber assay with zymosan-activated serum and fMet-Leu-Phe as chemo-attractants. Chicken soup significantly inhibited neutrophil migration and did so in a concentration-dependent manner. The activity was present in a nonparticulate component of the chicken soup. All of the vegetables present in the soup and the chicken individually had inhibitory activity, although only the chicken lacked cytotoxic activity. Interestingly, the complete soup also lacked cytotoxic activity. Commercial soups varied greatly in their inhibitory activity. The present study, therefore, suggests that chicken soup may contain a number of substances with beneficial medicinal activity. A mild anti-inflammatory effect could be one mechanism by which the soup could result in the mitigation of symptomatic upper respiratory tract infections.”

I would suggest a home-made chicken soup with herbal benefits… here’s a handy recipe from Granny Earth, ND:

5 pound organic stewing chicken
4 cloves garlic
3 parsnips
10 large carrots
1 bunch parsley
1 teaspoon celery seed
3 large onions
1 large sweet potato
2 turnips
6 stalks of celery
Hot pepper flakes- a few

Clean the chicken, put it in a large pot, and cover with cold water- about 3 – 4 quarts. Bring to a boil. Add onions, garlic, celery, parsley, sweet potato, parsnips, turnips, and carrots. Boil about 1 1/2 hours. Add the parsley celery and hot pepper flakes. Cook about 45 min longer. Remove the chicken (not used further for the soup – only for the stock). Add Sea Salt or Crystal Salt and black pepper to taste.

Healing benefits of ingredients:

1. Onions -contain protein, calcium, sulfur, vitamin A, B complex, C and E. They contain sulfur compounds and have anti-inflammatory effects. Like garlic, onions have the antibiotic oil- allicin, which gives them their pungent flavor.
2. Garlic-has powerful antibiotic, antiviral and anti-fungal properties. Is being used for boosting the immune system, lowering blood pressure, assisting in treatment of heart disease, and cancer and lowering cholesterol.
3. Sweet potato- excellent source of vitamin A (beta-carotene), vitamin C ,manganese, copper, dietary fiber, vitamin B6, potassium and iron. Having significant antioxidant capacities, they stabilize blood sugar levels and lower insulin resistance.
4. Parsnips- a good source of the antioxidants vitamin C and vitamin E, which help to boost the immune system, plus they’re a good source of fiber, which protects against colon cancer and helps maintain healthy bowels. Parsnips are a good to reduce high blood pressure, because they have a high potassium content.
5. Turnips- are rich in beta-carotene and protect mucous membranes (especially in the lungs and intestinal tract) from cancer and free-radical damage. Also high in vitamin C, indoles, calcium and other minerals.
6. Carrots- Carrots, one of the routine vegetable ingredients found in chicken soup, are the best natural source of beta-carotene. The body takes that beta-carotene and converts it to vitamin A. Vitamin A helps prevent and fight off infections by enhancing the actions of white blood cells that destroy harmful bacteria and viruses.
7. Celery – carminative, diuretic, tonic, nervine. Used to promote restfulness and sleep, celery is also excellent for relieving rheumatism and gout. Its high magnesium and iron content is invaluable as a food for blood cells. Because of its antispasmodic properties, celery is good for all lung conditions, including asthma and bronchitis.
8. Parsley – contains two components that provide unique health benefits- 1. volatile oils-including myristicin, limonene, eugenol, and alpha-thujene. 2. flavonoids- including apiin, apigenin, crisoeriol, and luteolin. The activity of parsley’s volatile oils qualifies it as a “chemo-protective” food- a food that can neutralize particular types of carcinogens (like benzopyrenes from cigarette and charcoal grill smoke).
9. Sea Salt- natural balance of sodium, magnesium and potassium- helps to lower blood pressure and promote good health. Mineral salts create electrolytes, the sparks of life- carry electrical currents to cells throughout the body. Electrolytes are necessary for enzyme production. Enzymes are responsible for breaking down food, absorbing nutrients, muscle function, hormone production, etc. Electrolytes and enzymes are linked to healthy immune function, proper regulation of bodily fluids, and adrenal health.
10. Black pepper- contains volatile oils, alkaloids, proteins and minerals. It has the following healing actions: circulatory stimulant, diuretic, cerebral stimulant, reduces infection, diaphoretic (induces sweating), astringent (tightens mucous membranes) and stimulates sinuses to drain.

By the way, if you would like more information on Granny Earth, ND, and her book, “Do It Yourself Weed Medicine“, check out this link:

Do It Yourself Weed Medicine


  • Greetings Dr. Bailey,
    Am glad to see you like my ‘Chicken Soup Recipe’ and the healing benefits of its ingredients.
    How about if you put an N.D. after my name?
    It would also be sweet if you’d give a plug to my book-
    Do It Yourself Weed Medicine too!
    You can look at it at:
    Thanks so much for all you do-
    Granny Earth, N.D.

  • No problem, I have added in the link and made the correction. Thanks for your great information!

  • Thank you Dr. Bill-
    Granny Earth, N.D.

  • My 45 year old daughter has just had a major relapse of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. I want to make her this great looking Chicken Soup. Not much of a cook myself, so I am asking a question. Do you chop the Vegetables and eat them in the soup? Where it says to remove the chicken it says ‘not used further for the soup-only for the ‘stalk'” which makes me wonder if this is just a ‘Stock’, or a complete soup. I hope you can reply to this old Granny!
    Thanks, June

  • June,

    I have forwarded your question on to “Granny Earth” the author of the recipe. I am sure she will get back to you!

  • Hi Dr. Bill,
    Granny Earth here- Wondering if you can make a spelling correction in my ‘Chicken Soup Recipe’ above? Where it says- (not used further for the soup- only for the stalk). ‘stalk’ should be spelled ‘stock’. Not your fault- probably was like this when I submitted it to News Target.
    Thanks so much,

  • No problem. I have made the correction. Thanks for all you do to help folks with natural remedies!

  • Here is June again! This has to be the most delicious and nutritious soup I have ever made! (I used Free Range Chicken and Organic Veges) My daughter, who suffered a major relapse of her CFS three weeks ago, found most foods had a peculiar taste (she had been on Biaxin -not good!), She found she was able to enjoy this soup and felt quite a bit better after eating. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

  • Dear Dr. Bill,
    I need to inform you that my book-Do It YourselfWeedMedicine… no longer available from Truth Publishing. As of the 8th of March
    their site will no longer show my book. It will only be available at
    Could you make this change?
    Granny Earth, N.D

  • I have made the change… thanks for letting me know!

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