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Dr. Alex Tatevian has maintained a monthly acupuncture column in the health section of the Federal Hill Gazette since 1999.      
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  Federall Hill Gazette; February 2004

Chicken Soup for Flu: Your Grandmother Was Right!

   On Dec. 19 2003 Dr. Julie Gerberding, Director the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) formally declared this year's flu outbreak an "epidemic."
    Well, here is the news from modern science: chicken soup actually helps reduce the inflammation and mucus production, the most unpleasant symptoms of a cold and flu.
   Research by Dr. Stephen Rennard of the University of Nebraska Medical Center, published in the medical journal Chest in 2000, validates what your mom and grandma have been saying all along.
   He tested his wife's grandmother's chicken soup recipe in his laboratory, finding it did have medicinal value because it limited the movement of neutrophils, the white cells in the blood that fight infection. Neutrophils actually remove germs from the body, but in the process they stimulate the production of mucus - one of the most irritating symptoms of colds and the flu.
    Variety of soups was tested in the lab. The results? The soups are not created equal.
    A third of the commercial soups were found to be more effective than, but not as enjoyable as, the homemade version. Two soups had no effect at all, the rest were either less or equally effective. Hot water, which was also tested, had no effect.
    The study did not clarify what in the soup produced the health benefit. But it suggested the ingredients -- which included chicken, onions, sweet potatoes, parsnips, turnips, carrots, celery, parsley, salt and pepper -- somehow worked together to create a medicinal brew. And, of course, soup is a liquid, and medical experts always recommend fluids for cold and flu sufferers.
   So, if you’ve got a cold or the flu - stay home, keep warm and drink plenty of fluids, and do not forget the chicken soup.
   And, by the way, always listen to your mother.
   Alex Tatevian, DA
    ACU WELL Acupuncture & Integrative Medicine 141 Airport Road, Warwick, RI 02889
   Phone (401) 738-9355
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