Chicken Soup….more than just good for your soul!

As the leaves begin to change color and the temperature grows colder, families all around the world turn to soup.  Its warm, its comforting, its hearty, but did you know it also helps keep you well?  Who doesn’t remember cuddling up with a warm bowl of chicken noodle soup while fighting off the cold or flu?  It turns out, there is real science behind this theory.

The combination of chicken and broth dates back to the ancient Greeks.   This combination of foods was used to cure basically any ailment they came across.

The idea of noodles and broth comes from Asia in the 1200’s.  It made its way to Europe by the 1700’s.  Physicians in Italy used noodle soup to help cure sick patients because it was easy to digest.

Photo credit: AdenosinaNews.Wordpress.com

Photo credit: AdenosinaNews.Wordpress.com

Noodle soups didn’t become an important part of the American diet until the early 1900’s.  Finally, in 1934 someone had the brilliant idea to combine chicken, broth and noodles and viola! “Noodle with Chicken Soup.” was created by none other than the Campbell’s soup company.  A radio DJ, trying to promote the product, accidentally called it “Chicken Noodle Soup”  and it soon began finding its way into cupboards around the country.

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Just like the ancient Greeks, Americans ate soup when they were feeling poorly This led scientists to question whether or not there was any validity to this theory, that soup has healing properties, or if it was just a marketing strategy.

In 2000, scientists at the University of Nebraska discovered some interesting things about Chicken Noodle Soup. They found that some components of the chicken noodle soup  have an anti-inflammatory effect that could lead to temporary relief of illness.  It has also been shown that chicken soup contains a certain amino acid that mimics a type of medicine used by doctors for patients with bronchitis and other respiratory infections.

These findings seem to suggest that eating soup when sick might be a very good idea indeed!

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Various forms of Chicken Soup exist all over the world.  Consider the following variations:

China: Chicken and broth is seasoned with ginger, scallions, black pepper, soy sauce, rice wine and sesame oil.

France:  Chicken soup that includes: bay leaves, fresh thyme, dry white wine and garlic.

India: In India chicken soup is commonly found as an appetizer and it comes in many forms.. Sweet Corn Chicken soup is the most popular, but other variants such as Clear Chicken Soup, Hot and Sour, and Spicy Indian Chicken Soup exist. Most of the Chicken soups are served with Bread Crumbs and boiled eggs. It is very common to see vendors selling soup along the street, particularly in the winter.

Mexico:  Here chicken soup is made with whole chicken pieces instead of chopped or shredded chicken, and large cuts of vegetables, such as half-slices of potatoes and whole leaves of cabbage. Another variation of chicken soup is garnished with chopped avocado, white cheese, and a chipotle chili.

Regardless of your preferred ingredients, it is safe to say Chicken Noodle soup is well loved around the world.  There is no better feeling than curling up under a blanket with a steaming bowl, and it may even cure your cold!  What are you favorite things to put in chicken noodle soup?  Comment below!

The Strangest Old-Fashioned Health Remedies

We’ve written about plenty of useful old-fashioned cures that have stood the test of time, but what about the cures that fizzled out of popularity? (Disclaimer: we do not suggest trying any of these.)

Here are some good examples of bad cures:

  • A cure for baldness meant putting fresh cow manure directly on your head.
  • Got anemia? Eat raw liver and drink blood. Sure, you’ll get your iron, but you’ll lose all of it if it comes back up.
  • Cure a head cold by catching leaves falling from trees! Of course, for this cure you will have to wait until autumn rolls around to cure your cold.
  • Get rid of diarrhea by eating coconut cookies. This is probably one of the most delicious cures you’ll find; if it doesn’t work, at least you get to eat cookies!
  • Cut away a headache by sleeping with scissors under your pillow. The headache will be gone just overnight (that’s the claim, anyway)!
  • Sear a rabies bite with a hot iron to stop yourself from going crazy.
  • For a stomach ache, cut off a little hair from behind your right ear while under the light of a full moon, then throw the hair over your right shoulder.

We do not recommend trying these at home. Or trying them anywhere, for that matter. These old wives’ tales will probably just make you sicker!

All listed “cures” courtesy of legendsofamerica.com.

Old Fashioned Remedies: Apple Cider Vinegar

The best thing about old-fashioned, natural cures is that one product can solve – or at least soothe – multiple problems. You can keep them around the house in case of any issue.

Apple cider vinegar is one such solution. This all-purpose vinegar is different from regular vinegar because it’s made from the juice of apples and fermented into vinegar.

It’s important to use unpasteurized ACV to get the full benefits.

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So what can apple cider vinegar do for you? Let’s start with the basics:

  1. Apple cider vinegar improves digestion. Dissolve a tablespoon into a large glass of water and drink it 15 minutes before a meal. This will help break down the food in your stomach for easier digestion.
  2. Drink ACV to improve your immune system. Doing so helps the growth of good bacteria in your body and helps prevent illness.
  3. Got heartburn? ACV helps. As usual, don’t drink it straight, but if you’re suffering from heartburn, dilute it in water and drink up to stop the burn. ACV helps balance stomach acid and in doing so calms down heartburn.
  4. ACV reduces bacteria that cause bad breath. Just gargle some diluted ACV to kill the bad germs and the bad breath will go away.
  5. Drink ACV for energy. It’s considered very healthy with lots of nutrients that will give you energy throughout the day.

These are just the start of the solutions that apple cider vinegar can give you. You can go here for more information.

Do you take apple cider vinegar, or use it externally? Let us know in the comments what apple cider vinegar does for you.

Old Fashioned Remedies: Make Your Own Toothpaste

Modern medicine has come far – but in some cases when you look at the chemical list, it doesn’t sound so great.

For instance, look at the chemicals in toothpaste. Glycerin coats teeth but it also stops cavities from self-healing. Do you really want that?

Homemade toothpaste is worth a shot. It has a different taste that you have to get used to that’s a different sort of minty freshness, but you can also change around the flavors yourself.

A popular ingredient for homemade toothpaste is coconut oil. Coconut oil is all-around great for you; it’s heart-healthy and lowers risk of heart disease. Plus it gives that tropical flavor!

Another important ingredient in homemade toothpaste is baking soda, which helps effectively clean teeth.

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Channel your inner historian with this vintage sterling silver toothbrush. We don’t recommend using it to brush your teeth — who knows whose mouth it’s been in?

Want to try some homemade toothpaste of your own like they used back in the day? Here’s a recipe (adapted from familysponge.com):

6 tablespoons coconut oil
6 tablespoons baking soda
25 drops peppermint essential oil
1 tsp stevia (or more based on taste)

Just mix together and store in a jar.

You can also replace the drops of peppermint oil with any other essential oil of your choice! That’s the fun part of making your own toothpaste. Enjoy!

Have you made your own toothpaste? How did it turn out?

Old Fashioned Remedies: The Magic of Honey & Cinnamon

For years, the combination of honey & cinnamon has been touted for its beneficial properties. Both cinnamon and honey individually have wonderful attributes, and putting them together doubles the benefits.

Some go so far as to claim that honey & cinnamon will cure any disease. While we wouldn’t dare to assert that claim, science does suggest that the combination is still a pretty powerful medicine.

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What will honey & cinnamon do for you, you ask? Here are just a few things:

Antioxidants. Want to boost your immune system? Honey & cinnamon were born to do just that. These magical ingredients help the immune system fight off viruses and colds.

Fight off cancer. Some say that honey & cinnamon will help prevent cancer. Honey has chemicals said to prevent cancer and cinnamon prevents tumor growth.

Help arthritis. Got arthritis? Take this combination twice a day in a cup of hot water. The anti-inflammatory properties will reduce any arthritis pain.

Bug bites. As well as witch hazel, honey & cinnamon work wonderfully for treating bug bites. Just combine the two and put the solution onto the itchy bug bite or an itchy patch of skin and the itching should disappear!

Digestion. Honey & cinnamon in hot water are sure to ease any stomach upsets. This combination will help the digestive system work better and relieve indigestion.

Skin care. Both aging skin and skin that suffers from breakouts will benefit from a simple paste of honey & cinnamon. Their antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties help soften skin and get rid of spots.

These are just some honey & cinnamon remedies! There are plenty more out there — what would you use this miraculous pairing for?

Sources:

Snopes

Natural Cures

Surprising Benefits

 

Old Fashioned Remedies: Cure Your Cold with Ginger

Ginger root does a lot more than add a zesty flavor to Asian dishes. Ginger fights nausea, alleviates arthritis pain, and protects against cancer. But one of the simplest and most effective uses for ginger is its power over the common cold.

Ginger is a funky-looking root.

Ginger is a funky-looking root.

Ginger boosts the immune system. Taking ginger regularly, whether in meals or in tea, helps prevent colds or the flu with its antioxidant properties.

Ginger helps during a cold, too.

If you have a stuffy nose, a high concentration of ginger will clear it right up (if you’re brave enough)!

 

Photograph of tea by David J. Fred.

Photo by David J. Fred, CC 2.5

Here’s a simple tea that will help you say adios to your everyday cold symptoms.

The Recipe

You need three ingredients: ginger, lemon juice and honey.

Steep a tablespoon of grated fresh ginger and a splash of lemon in hot water, and add honey to taste.

Five to ten minutes steeping in the water will get you a delicious tea that will help clear the cold right up.

The ginger will clear your sinuses and soothe your throat. Lemon’s high concentration of vitamin C aids the immune system, and honey helps the throat and aids a cough if you have one.

What’s your go-to recipe for a quick cold fix?

Old Fashioned Remedies: The Cure for Insomnia

 

Do you suffer from insomnia? Numbers estimate that 60 million Americans are affected by insomnia every year.

There are a number of treatments for insomnia. One of the most natural involves soothing herbs. Chamomile is especially famous for its sleep-inducing properties.

In 1911, the cures for insomnia ranged from reasonable to downright ridiculous.

This is an excerpt from the 1911 handbook Personal Hygiene and Physical Training for Women by Anna M. Galbraith:

Treatment for Insomnia – The mechanical measures for the relief of insomnia have for their purpose the withdrawing of the blood from the brain to the surface of the skin: hot foot-baths, brisk exercise, light massage, and cold rooms. Mental work should be laid aside several hours before retiring; late suppers avoided; coffee, if taken at all, should only be taken for breakfast, and then only one cup. Reading or amusement should be selected that does not excite the nerves.

To woo sleep the woman should put herself in a position of rest, which of itself physiologically induces sleep. Avoid irritations, noises, bad air, cold feet, overloaded bowels, and of which tend to wakefulness to prevent the proper physical rest. Then sleep usually comes of itself.

Some of this advice is sound, but don’t go trusting every word, since modern science has definitely moved forward since then.

Looking for a simple, old-fashioned solution to insomnia? Try drinking tea.

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Chamomile has oft-praised properties for curing lack of sleep. Steep a teaspoon of chamomile in hot water for a few minutes and drink up; you can also buy tea bags of chamomile at your local grocery store.

Another old-fashioned cure for sleep troubles is ginger tea. Ginger has soothing properties and is especially good for unsettled stomachs. It draws the blood from the head and toward the stomach.

Drink either of these and you should sleep like a baby. Of course, if your insomnia is especially bad, you should see a doctor, but for a night of restlessness, these should do the trick.