Thursday, September 12, 2013

Chicken Broth with Medicinal Spices or Back to School Sick Soup


There is comfort chicken soup--which is good on a cold winters day, and then there's sick soup for when you'e looking for a remedy.  Comfort Chicken Soup cures a winter chill but "Sick Soup" soothes you when you are ill.

This soup has medicinal herbs and spices that can expedite or at least subdue a cold and general sickness.

Nourishing Back to School Sick Soup

It seems like just yesterday we were enjoying summer and sipping on Margarita Beer Cocktails.   Now, it's back-to-school time which brings new activities, new adventures and new people into our lives exposing us to new germs.

The cough came on suddenly.  Started with one horrible dry cough that came out of nowhere and proceeded to get worse.  Coughing, sneezing and general yuckiness.  [not to be confused with caramelized yumminess.]

When I heard, "Mommy, will you make your 'Dee-ish-us' soup for me?"  I never felt more like a Mother.

Although my poor child felt lousy, I was warmed by the awareness that although the nursing days are long gone, I can still nurture and foster my child and provide some kind of relief in the form of nourishment.

Last minute, use what's in the refrigerator "Sick Soup"    

                  Chicken Broth with Medicinal Spices

for when someone is suddenly sick.

Relieved when I remembered I had a chicken in the refrigerator; I tore through the kitchen hoping to find the rest of the ingredients.  

Garden tomatoes, parsley, onion, celery, garlic, carrots for Chicken Broth with Medicinal Spices

Garden tomatoes, parsley, onion, celery, garlic, carrots for Chicken Broth with Medicinal Spices

The whole time I was wracking my brain trying to remember every home remedy about healing herbs and spices that I had ever read.

Chicken broth with medicinal spices Thyme, Chives, Turmeric, Minced onion, Cayenne, whole black peppercorns, Himalayan Pink Salt marvelousmusings
Thyme, Chives, Turmeric, Minced onion, Cayenne, whole black peppercorns, Himalayan Pink Salt

This isn't so much a recipe but a technique.  Most of the time when I cook I hardly use any measuring tools--I save those for when I'm baking--which is an exact science.  When cooking it's best to eyeball it.  Free yourself from the inhibition of recipe cards and measurements and just cook!

How to make Chicken Broth with Medicinal Spices:

you will need:
One whole chicken, cut up

Cold water filtered through a Brita


all good size pinches:
  • Thyme
  • Chives
  • Turmeric
  • Minced onion flakes
  • Cayenne pepper
  • Whole Black peppercorns--a small cupped handful
  • Himalayan Pink Salt

I simply washed the vegetables and put them in the pan with enough water to cover.  I did not cut the vegetables in any way because I was looking to boil all the goodness out of them so the nutrients would be sipped in the broth.

Here are the vegetables I had on hand:

  • tomatoes:  (whole) handful of GIANT grape from the garden
  • parsley: a small bunch left whole
  • onion: half  with skin intact
  • celery: a small bunch
  • garlic: 6 cloves whole (with skins)
  • carrots:  about a cups worth of baby carrots
Put the chicken in pan with vegetables you have on hand and cover with water.  I like to make soup with the stuff that kind of gets forgotten about in the fridge.  Not moldy stuff or stuff that has gone bad, but the stuff that is limp and a bit too soggy to serve fresh when you need it to be crispy but what difference does it make when its boiled in a soup?

I start with cold ingredients in a cold pan with cold water.   I usually sprinkle and pinch the spices on top of the pan filled with ingredients.

Slowly start to heat it.  I fill my water pretty high in the pan and always run the risk of it overflowing out if the water boils too hard--which it shouldn't.  What I like to do is get it to a nice boil so I pay attention and stand over it.  

When the boiling becomes stronger than just a few bubbles here and there,  I put the lid on the pan and let it roll.  You have to find the sweet spot of temperature.  High enough so that it cooks and softly boils but not enough that it comes to a roaring boil and boils over.
photo of Chicken Broth with Medicinal Spices starting to boil marvelous musings
Chicken Broth with Medicinal Spices starting to boil

To skim the scum or not?

I don't.  I used to.  I would stand over the soup and remove the foamy "impurities" as it arose.  Then one day my husband was making the soup and didn't skim the scum.  Worried that I was going to have scummy soup when I opened the lid; I was surprised to see that if you just leave it alone it boils itself back in. 

Some experts say that it makes for a cloudy soup but I prefer to have a tastier more nutrient dense soup than a clear soup.  This is "Sick Soup" not a fancy Consomm√©.   I'm searching for clarity in life, but not in my Sick Soup.

Part of the reason for me not to skim or de-fat this Sick Soup is because I find that the oil can provide lubrication and coat the throat to ease and calm coughing jags. 

Once it is gently and softly simmering, put a lid on it and leave it for a couple of hours except to periodically check to make sure all the liquid is not boiling away.  As the liquid evaporates the boil may become harder in which case you would have to turn it down. The point is to keep it at even and consistent simmer.

After a few hours when it looks and smells done take out the chicken.  If you want you can bone the chicken and put the meat back into your broth at this point.  We served the meat on the side because we we're looking for more of a liquid food--a beverage broth instead of a hearty soup.  Although any kind of grain, rice or pasta may be added.

The patient requested star pastina and had it in the first bowl but all other subsequent cups were served plain in a special "tea" cup.

How can culinary spices be medicinal?

Herbs and spices have been treasured and cherished for their taste and medical properties since ancient times.   Spices are potent and a little bit goes a long way both in flavoring and their medical uses and side effects.

Unless you're allergic, more likely than not these herbs and spices are completely safe to consume.  They are culinary ingredients used in the preparation of food since the beginning of time as we know it.

In saying that let me make it absolutely clear that I am not a physician or herbalist or anything but a mother making soup.  When you or your loved one's are sick it is always best to consult your physician or medical practitioner before starting anything new.  Many foods, including spices, have a profound effect on certain medications and caution must be taken.


University of Maryland Medical Center says about Thyme:
  • "Thyme (Thymus vulgaris) -- Thyme has traditionally been used to treat respiratory illnesses such as bronchitis and to treat cough. Two preliminary studies suggest that thyme may help treat acute bronchitis and relieve cough. Thyme is approved by the German Commission E to treat those conditions. Thyme oil is considered toxic and should not be taken by mouth. Thyme may increase the risk of bleeding, especially if you also take blood-thinners such as aspirin, clopidogrel (Plavix), or warfarin (Coumadin). "  Source: Cough | University of Maryland Medical Center University of Maryland Medical Center.

  • The essential oil of thyme contains the active ingredient thymol which is an active ingredient in Listerine antiseptic mouthwash.  


  • Known as the "golden spice," has been treasured for it's versatality of function and medicinal properties for thousands of years.
  • Turmeric is a staple spice in the cuisine of India, traditionally served in a dish known as curry.   It can be used as a dye (careful when using it it stains everything yellow!) and it's used in cosmetics.  It is also very commonly used as medicine.
  • A traditional common cough "home remedy" is made by mixing this powerfully anti-inflammatory spice into an elixir called "turmeric tea."
  • Potent and powerful, turmeric can even aid those suffering from Rheumatoid arthritis.

If you think you have never eaten Turmeric;  I bet you did--it's what makes mustard yellow!

Cayenne Pepper:

Cayenne pepper contains the powerful substance capsaicin which may help:
  • reduce pain.
  • fight inflammation
  • clear congestion in the nose or lungs by stimulating secretions

Whole Black Peppercorns:

"The king of all spice" was once so valuable that is was used as currency!
  • helps the body absorb vitamins and nutrients from food
  • stimulates the taste buds
  • aids in digestion


  • a rich source of vitamin c


  • YUM

The Goldfish are colored with turmeric dye.

Chicken Broth with Medicinal Spices plated in bowl with goldfish colors crackers on the side marvelous musings
Chicken Broth with Medicinal Spices

And goldfishes make everything better.

Served as a beverage, this simple healing broth was something to sip on.

Have you ever tried to tailor make a soup?

Do you have any secret or medicinal ingredients?

Do you have any kitchen concoctions?

****I am not affiliated with any of the products used in this post.  All the products in this post were in my kitchen.  This is not a sponsored post.

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  1. I had never thought of chicken soup as being medicinal, but it is true, but I like the other spices you add to yours. Almost year round e have chicken soup in our fridge, it is great anytime and helps control glucose and fills a hungry tummy!!

    Thanks for sharing on Oh My Heartsie Girl!!
    Have a great weekend, Karren
    PS shared to twitter

    1. We eat soup all year 'round too, there are so many variations. If you ever use these spices to make your own "Sick Soup" let me know how it turns out.

      Thanks for hosting it was my pleasure to share!

      Hope your weekend is filled with fun :)

  2. The best part about this recipe is that you don't have to do any chopping. I believe in chicken noodle soup for sick ones, so this takes it up a notch.
    Visiting from Oh My Heartsie's link party.
    Tina - Amanda's Books and More

  3. I wanted to invite you to the Friday Flash Blog Party, the best linky in town! I hope you'll join us and link up. Who knows. You may just get highlighted!

    The party goes on ALL weekend.

    Jennifer @ The Jenny Evolution