Wednesday, January 18, 2017

A Traditional Treatment for Colds and Sniffles – Jewish Penicillin

At this time of the year everyone seems to suffer from cold and sniffles and everyone knows there is no cure for the common cold.  Chicken soup, however, owing to its efficacy as a remedy for colds, flu, stomach problems, etc., has long been referred to as ‘Jewish penicillin’. Like a lot of things that are consigned to folklore, old wives’ tales and rural customs, there is more than a grain of truth behind the claims that it really does lessens the sniffles and acts as a pick-me-up.

A study conducted by the American College of Chest Physicians found that chicken soup could help reduce upper respiratory inflammation, which leads to those annoying symptoms of a cold, like a stuffy head and incessant sneezing. They found this particular old wives’ tale exists in many cultures and that grandma’s chicken soup is prescribed around the world because it really does make people feel better.

Researchers first tested a recipe that was passed down from a Jewish team member’s Lithuanian grandmother, containing chicken, onions, sweet potatoes, parsnips, turnips, carrots, celery, parsley, salt and pepper, and found the soup did have an anti-inflammatory effect. The researchers then tested a variety of canned chicken soups and found that store-bought versions could be just as effective.

Standard Recipe for Chicken Soup
Chicken carcass
Sweet Potatoes
Salt and pepper

Peel the vegetables and cut into good sized chunks. Put all the ingredients into a pot with water and bring to a rapid boil. Skim the surface and remove all floating scum. Turn it down to a very low heat and simmer for two hours because the longer it simmers, the better the soup will be. Let the soup cool and refrigerate overnight. Any fat will rise to the surface and harden and make it easy to remove. Scoop off the fat and bring the soup back to the boil. Simmer until it’s time to serve.

Here is scientific endorsement that this little bit of kitchen-Craft really works and should be in everyone’s repertoire of healing – and every bit of goodness in the chicken is used. For a change, boil the chicken with just an onion and carrot and add tinned or frozen sweetcorn to the soup before serving.

Extract from The Secret People: Parish Pump Witchcraft, Wise-Women and Cunning Ways published by Moon Books

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