Chicken soup inhibits neutrophil chemotaxis in vitro. "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 chemoattractants. 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."
Bonus quote from the Material and Methods section of the full text:
"Traditional chicken soup was prepared according to a family recipe, which will be referred to as “Grandma’s soup” (C. Fleischer; personal communication; 1970). This recipe is as follows: • 1 5- to 6-lb stewing hen or baking chicken; • 1 package of chicken wings; • 3 large onions; • 1 large sweet potato; • 3 parsnips; • 2 turnips; • 11 to 12 large carrots; • 5 to 6 celery stems; • 1 bunch of parsley; and • salt and pepper to taste. Clean the chicken, put it in a large pot, and cover it with cold water. Bring the water to a boil. Add the chicken wings, onions, sweet potato, parsnips, turnips, and carrots. Boil about 1.5 h. Remove fat from the surface as it accumulates. Add the parsley and celery. Cook the mixture about 45 min longer. Remove the chicken. The chicken is not used further for the soup. (The meat makes excellent chicken parmesan.) Put the vegetables in a food processor until they are chopped fine or pass through a strainer. Both were performed in the present study. Salt and pepper to taste. (Note: this soup freezes well.) Matzoh balls were prepared according to the recipe on the back of the box of matzoh meal (Manischewitz; Jersey City, NJ)."
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