Chicken soup has been used for treating common respiratory illnesses at least since the 12th century. A study published in the October 2000 issue of Chest explains why this home remedy has held on so long — it may really help! In addition to the infection-fighting benefits of the heat, hydration, and salt that have previously been described, these researchers looked at the direct biologic activity of the soup itself. They found it to be an effective anti-inflammatory medicine, inhibiting neutrophil chemotaxis when tested in a laboratory. The test did not look at the results in real people. We still have so much to learn, but I am in favor of testing many time-honored, gentle, body-friendly remedies to see what they can really do.