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Medicine or Malarkey: Does Bone Broth Really Help Cure the Common Cold?

Have you noticed it’s everywhere? It seems that all of a sudden, bloggers in alternative health, the Paleo diet and natural living began touting the benefits of bone broth. It is recommended as a general health tonic, an immune system booster and a cure when you are feeling ill. Is this flavorful liquid the miracle tincture that so many people believe it to be?

The truth is, bone broth isn’t a new discovery. This liquid which is made by simmering bones of beef, poultry, pork or fish in water, is just stock, which has been used by cooks as the foundation of soups, stews and sauces for quite a long time.

There is a long historical tradition of using these sorts of hot liquids as a remedy when someone is ill. In America, it’s traditionally been chicken soup. In Korea, it’s a beef bone soup called seolleongtang. Mexico has sopa de lima and countless other remedies exist around the world.

Unfortunately, neither bone broth, nor any other remedy, can cure the common cold. A cold is a virus, and that means that the only cure is time. Your body’s immune system will eventually fight off the infection, usually in about 10 days.

However, that doesn’t mean that bone broth and other hot soups do not help.

These hot liquids do have some therapeutic benefit. While there is not a great deal of research on the effectiveness of bone broth, one study does indicate that, when made with chicken, it can help reduce the severity of a cold. Researchers found that people who ate chicken soup experienced a mild reduction in inflammation which helped relieve some symptoms of respiratory tract infections.

When you are sick, it is easy to become dehydrated, especially if you are sweating from a fever or running to the bathroom with gastrointestinal issues. Broth is hydrating, and the electrolytes (in the form of sodium) mean your body can absorb the water more easily. Broth can also be easier to “keep down” if an illness has made you nauseated. Having something warm to drink can also feel comforting when fever leaves you with the chills.

Because of the benefits, go ahead and drink bone broth when you have a cold. While it is not a cure, it may help relieve symptoms to help you feel better more quickly.

If you are sick for more than 10 days or if you experience worsening symptoms, professional medical care may be in order. This is especially important if you are experiencing chest pain or are having trouble breathing, as this may be a situation best handled at the ER.

Our trained medical staff can help determine the cause of your symptoms and recommend treatment to get you back to better health.