Ever since I can remember, when any of us in my family gets the slightest sign of sickness, I start a pot of Nana Kim's chicken soup. Kim is married to my husband's father and she is a kitchen magician goddess:). Not only is her chicken soup delicious (my kids get so happy when I make it), it is medicinal. I grew up with a mom who also made chicken soup when we were growing up. I always knew this dish as "Jewish penicillin." BTW, my mom's version was delicious too, I just never learned to make it, before I got my hands on Kim's recipe:). I never really knew why we called it "Jewish Penicillin" until I started studying natural health. This is a truly anti-viral, cold and flu busting food! I love that people used to understand the medicinal qualities of foods. I'm sad that we have largely lost that art in our culture. Hippocrates, the father of medicine, said, "Let food be thy medicine and the let medicine be thy food."
I will share the recipe in case you want to just get that pot of soup cooking, and below the recipe, I will share more about the medicinal aspects of this "oh so comforting," soup.
The original recipe is Kim's Chicken Noodle Soup. Just for the record, I have always used rice, gluten free noodles or, often, I just leave out rice or noodles for a no-carb version. It tastes great all three ways so you can choose which version is best for you.
1 3 - 4 pound chicken, shredded
2 32 ounce boxes chicken broth
2 TBS olive oil or ghee
5 stalks celery, diced
4 - 5 carrots, diced
2 cups broccoli (I often also add chard)
1/4 cup lemon juice, from fresh lemons
2 TBS parsley, chopped
1 TBS dried basil
1 tsp thyme
1/2 tsp rosemary
2 - 4 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp cracked pepper, or to taste (use freshly cracked pepper)
1 tsp salt (use Real Salt™, Celtic or Himalayan), add more if desired for taste
1 12 oz. package egg noodles, I find it's best to cook noodles al dente before adding.
Additional water as needed to make soup desired consistency
Remove skin (& fat) from chicken and rinse thoroughly. In six quart pan, cook chicken in 2 qts. water until done, about 1/2 hour. Alternatively, you can bake the chicken with skin on, seasoned, in the oven at 350 degrees for about one and half hours.
Remove chicken from pan and set aside to cool. In large stock pot, add olive oil or ghee. Saute onion, garlic and spices on medium heat until lightly browned, stirring often.
Add chicken broth. When chicken is cool enough to handle, tear meat and discard bones. Add to pot.
Let simmer one hour. Add vegetables. Meanwhile, optionally, cook noodles until soft in a separate pot. Add to soup. Or add 1/2 cup of rice (uncooked). Cook 1/2 hour. As soup cooks, add water to desired consistency.
Garlic is high in Vitamin C, supporting the immune system. In one study, it was shown that daily garlic supplementation reduces the occurrence of colds by 63% and the symptoms of colds, if taken when sick, by 70%. It is also high in a substance called Allicin, giving it potent anti-viral properties.
Lemon is known to be detoxifying, metabolism boosting, immune system supportive and cancer protective. High in Vit. C and D-limonene, ingesting fresh lemon juice daily can help protect against the common cold and flu.
Real Salt (not the refined table salt variety, but pure mined salt) is very high in essential minerals. Dr Linus Pauling, said "We could trace every disease and every ailment to a mineral deficiency." Minerals are important for all systems of the body. They support adrenal function which we can all use more of! Real salt is actually shown to lower blood pressure and improve circulation. I use as much as needed to make the soup salty and delicious. Salt, in the culinary world, is known to pull the flavors out of the other ingredients in any recipe.
Thyme is known to have properties that are antiviral, bactericidal, fungicidal, antibiotic, diuretic, antispasmodic, expectorant, and antiseptic. This makes it useful during cold and flu season. Thyme also helps the body to eliminate toxins and boosts the immune system by supporting the formation of white blood cells, increasing resistance to invading organisms.
Parsley is known to improve liver function and help to detoxify the body which is important when any sickness develops. It is also high in antioxidants and has anti-inflammatory properties. It is also known to properties that protect against certain cancers.
Black Pepper helps the body absorb all the amazing medicinal properties of the ingredients in our food.
Basil can help to remove mucus in the respiratory system. It has anti-viral, anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. It is commonly used to support the body when their is any sort of throat or lung infection present.
Onions are useful in treating coughs and respiratory ailments.
Rosemary has anti-viral, anti-fungal and anti-bacterial properties to help support the body during cold and flu season. It is also known for it's cancer protective properties.
So, now we know that food actually can medicine if we choose to make use of it in this way! Eat soup, stay well:).
Maria Rippo is a Transformational Healing & Wellness practitioner with an online as well as a local practice in Bothell, WA. She is an Advanced Clinical Hypnotherapist and Holistic Coach working towards her Master's degree in Transpersonal Psychology, but mostly, she is a human trying to figure out how to navigate this thing called life. This article Copyright 2016 by Maria Rippo, all right reserved. To replicate or use any portion of this article, please do so in its entirety including this text or contact the author at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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