Down through the ages, homemade chicken soup has been valued and appreciated for its soothing and healing qualities when it comes to colds and the flu. I decided to investigate what it is about chicken soup that makes the ailing patient feel better, so I reviewed several studies, including the pioneering work by Stephen Rennard, MD at the University of Nebraska. All the research agrees that chicken soup helps break up congestion and eases the flow of nasal secretions. Many say it also inhibits white blood cells that trigger the inflammatory response, causing sore throats and the production of phlegm. Chicken also contains an amino acid called cysteine that is released when you make the soup. This amino acid thins mucus in the lungs, aiding in the healing process.
When combined with nutrient rich veggies, homemade chicken soup can definitely help the healing process in those who fall prey to colds or the flu!
5 pound organic stewing chicken
4 cloves garlic
10 large carrots
1 bunch parsley
1 teaspoon celery seed
3 large onions
1 large sweet potato
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:
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.
Garlic-has powerful antibiotic, antiviral and antifungal properties . Is being used for boosting the immune system, lowering blood pressure, assisting in treatment of heart disease, and cancer and lowering cholesterol.
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.
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 fibre, 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.
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.
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.
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 anitspasmodic properties, celery is good for all lund conditions, including asthma and bronchitis.
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 "chemoprotective" food- a food that can neutralize particular types of carcinogens (like benzopyrenes from cigarette and charcoal grill smoke).
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.
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.
Granny Earth is an avid gardener and herbalist, and has a Doctorate in Naturopathy. This recipe is from her forthcoming book, "Healthy Recipes from Granny's Cupboard." For more recipes for food and medicines made from weeds, look for her first book, "Do it Yourself Weed Medicine," available at www.GrannyEarth.com