Step Aside, Chicken Soup: Make Way for Hot Fruit Drinks

Cold viruses are stubborn germs that need both coaxing -- and time -- to get out of your system. So you might need some help while you're feeling under the weather.

Dr. Owen Hendley answers the question: 'Oscillococcinum (Oscillo) For The Flu?

'And it need not come from the pharmacy or medicine cabinet.

That's where the time-honored tradition of folk medicine comes into play in cultures and countries both here and abroad.

In the United States, when people get sick, they have been spooning up chicken soup for generations. The comforting golden broth, sometimes referred to as "Jewish or liquid penicillin," appears to have some therapeutic benefits, both from its ingredients and its warmth.

And while scientists have done a few studies on the soothing potion, surprisingly, there has not been any clinical research done on the effect of hot drinks on people with cold symptoms.

Until now.

The December issue of the journal "Rhinology" contained results from a very small trial done in Wales. The researchers looked at a group of 30 students, all of whom had cold and flu symptoms for about a week but had not yet taken any remedies or medication to relieve them.

Half the subjects were given slightly less than half a cup of a hot apple and black currant "fruit cordial" to drink, while a control group was served the same beverage at room temperature. (A fruit cordial is a concentrate that's diluted with water before it's consumed.)

Scientists asked the participants to rate their cold symptoms before the study began and after they first drank the purple-colored liquid, as well as 15 and 30 minutes later. The participants were also asked to breathe into a facemask to check on the air flow through their noses.