Chicken soup has often been recommended by Grandmothers as a way to get over a cold or flu faster.  For hundreds of years, chicken soup has been considered to help with colds. In fact, the Egyptian Jewish physician and philosopher Maimonides suggested consuming chicken soup for the relief of respiratory tract symptoms in a 12th century book.

But is there scientific evidence of benefit?  Some studies have suggested that there is:

  • A 2000 study published in CHEST journal showed an anti-inflammatory effect in the nasal passages with chicken soup which could explain the improvement in symptoms.
  • A 2012 study published in the American Journal of Therapeutics suggested that a compound called carnosine found in chicken soup may be one of the active ingredients that can help with relieving some of the symptoms of the common cold.
  • A 1978 study also in CHEST showed that hot soup improved “nasal mucus velocity” (an amazing term by the way) which can help clear an infection compared with the same amount of plain hot water.

And now a new study has shown that soup broths (including vegetable, beef, and chicken) can have direct anti-malarial properties.  The study published in the Archives of Disease in Childhood found that several different broths studied were able to interfere with the life-cycle of the malaria parasite.  

As reported in November 18, 2019 The Telegraph (a British newspaper), out of 56 broths tested, “five of the broths curbed growth by more than 50 per cent, with two of them as effective as a leading antimalarial drug, dihydroartemisinin. Four others were more than 50 per cent effective at blocking sexual maturation, so potentially stopping malarial transmission.”

While most of us in the U.S. won’t be exposed to malaria, it does show that eating soup can have anti-microbial effects that can provide benefit.  Fall and winter are great times to make a good bone broth based soup for immune benefits but also to help your digestive system as well (not to mention, your taste buds).

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Categories: Wellness

Jeremiah Stevens

Dr Jeremiah M Stevens is a licensed Naturopathic Physician and co-founder of Consult A For more information or to schedule go to