The Ultimate Chicken Soup

Medically reviewed in August 2021

When drippy red noses are everywhere, it's time to make a big batch of Dr. Ziment's sinus-clearing Garlic Chicken Soup. We discovered this aromatic mixture while tracking down foods that double as medicine. This spicy version of chicken soup is practically a wonder drug for head colds—and it tastes amazing, especially if you love spicy food.

Devised by cold-and-cough expert Irwin Ziment, MD, who was chief of medicine at Olive View-UCLA Medical Center when he cooked it up, the soup gets much of its power from red pepper flakes. In addition, the hefty dose of garlic—30 cloves, although they cook down to produce a much milder, sweeter flavor than one would expect.

Dr. Z recommends 1 cup three times a day, and inhaling the vapors is part of the prescription. 

Dr. Ziment's Garlic Chicken Soup
The spicier the soup, the better it will be at clearing your head, so be generous with the red pepper flakes -- just don't make the soup so hot you can't tolerate it.

2 quarts chicken broth
2 cups sliced carrots
2 garlic heads, about 30 cloves, peeled
1/4 cup minced parsley
1/4 cup minced cilantro
2 teaspoons lemon pepper
2 teaspoons minced fresh mint leaves
2 teaspoons dried basil, crushed, or 2 tablespoons fresh basil, minced
2 teaspoons curry powder
1 bay leaf
Dried hot red pepper flakes, to taste

Combine all ingredients in a stockpot; bring to a boil and simmer, uncovered, for 30 minutes. Discard bay leaf. Puree in batches in a blender or food processor. Return to pot, stir well, warm if necessary, and serve, or freeze in small containers.

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