Mom was right. Chicken soup really can help you get over a cold.
Ingredients in chicken soup have anti-inflammatory properties that inhibit the movement of neutrophils into airways. Neutrophils are white blood cells that contribute to the inflammation that causes cold symptoms. Combat your next cold with plenty of rest, lots of fluids, and a bowl of homemade chicken soup.
Typical cold symptoms include coughing, sneezing, and a stuffy nose. Chicken soup may help quell symptoms in several ways. First, chicken soup contains compounds that help inhibit mucus production. In addition to chicken soup's anti-inflammatory effects, the heat and steam may help open up nasal passages. If you have a cold, get plenty of rest and drink lots of fluids to avoid dehydration. Over-the-counter cold remedies may help relieve your symptoms but they cannot cure a cold. Sipping hot chicken soup may help, as well -- a steamy bowl of chicken soup with plenty of garlic and a sprinkle of cayenne pepper will boost the nasal-clearing effects of the soup. And be sure to finish the broth; researchers determined most of the anti-inflammatory effects of chicken soup come from the liquid.
SOURCES: Chicken soup inhibits neutrophil chemotaxis in vitro. Rennard, B. O., Ertl, R. F., Gossman, G. L., Robbins, R. A., Rennard, S. I., Chest 2000 Oct;118(4):1150-1157.