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SCIENTISTS confirmed yesterday what mums have believed for centuries - chicken soup really does help fight the cold.

The researchers found it contains anti- inflammatory qualities which ease sore throats, soothe coughs and unblock stuffy noses.

Lab tests showed a bowl of hot homemade chicken soup stops the movement of white blood cells which produce mucus, causing congestion.

Study leader Dr Stephen Rennard published his findings after tests on his wife Barbara's soup.

He said: "She was making chicken soup and we were talking about its effects on colds.

"I figured that it maybe had some anti-inflammatory effect and that we could probably find out in the lab."

But Dr Rennard, from Nebraska University, did not rule out a psychological explanation to the soup's healing qualities.

He added: "There could be a tender loving care factor."

The study came as doctors, herbalists and nutritionists joined forces to help Scots beat the sniffles. The Cold and Flu Council will advise people how to minimise their risk of falling ill by healthy eating and taking exercise.

And those who do fall victim to colds and flu will be told to "self-medicate" rather than got to their GP.

The council has six members, including a stress counsellor and a pharmacist.

One of them is Professor Ron Eccles, director of the Common Cold Centre at Cardiff University.

He said: "Lack of public understanding about colds and flu results in many unnecessary surgery visits.

"We believe that by providing information on how to prevent and reduce the impact of infections, we can go some way to reducing them."
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Author:Mclean, Grace
Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Oct 19, 2000
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