Although when I read that same 1978 study, I see a different conclusion: “Hot chicken soup, either through the aroma sensed at the posterior nares or through a mechanism related to taste, appears to possess an additional substance for increasing nasal mucus velocity.”
Meanwhile, as UCLA notes, according to a 1998 report from Coping with Allergies and Asthma, “chicken soup may improve the ability of the tiny hairline projections in the nose (called cilia) to prevent infectious particles from afflicting the body.”
Even though I don’t eat birds – I would say chicken soup has some science in its court. That said, my family makes a spicy vegetable soup with ginger, garlic, chili peppers, and lime that I am SURE cures the cold!
Dr. Shonna Yin from the N.Y.U. School of Medicine says that comfort for sick kids can come in the form of “plenty of fluids to keep children well hydrated, and honey for a cough in children over a year old (no honey for babies under a year because of the risk of botulism). Other measures may include ibuprofen or acetaminophen for fever and saline nose drops for congestion.”
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