It’s 112F over here in Riyadh and even at night it stays around 108F yet here I am with a major sore throat. The other night I was just cleaning up and all the sudden my throat hurt. It’s weird how sickness can just hit you like that all the sudden out of no where. I went into the kitchen and steeped some herbs that are good for a sore throat and drank that and felt a lot better and so today for dinner, I decided to make a chicken soup that was made for the sole purpose of my illness.
So that I do have to make several meals for everyone I make a pot of white rice on the side. By doing this I am able to give Talal rice and just the chicken from the soup since he will not eat soup. I do not tell him where I got the chicken or trust me he would not touch it. And then when it comes to my husband there is no way a bowl of chicken soup will fill him up so he adds his soup on top of rice which is the way Arabs tend to eat stews anyway. So as you see it’s a meal that you can make work for everyone.
The magic of this soup is the tea that I add to it. Do not worry, it’s not actually tea just steeped herbs that are good for a sore throat. I have several herb and spices, books that I use to reference different sicknesses. I thought I would add some highlights from them to show you why I chose these specific herbs.
Cloves are high in vitamins, minerals and fiber. However, the component responsible for clove’s powerful effects and odor is a substance called eugenol. Eugenol is toxic against harmful organisms, including fungus, and may even relieve discomfort also, fights against bacteria.
Ginger is a warming tea that is also a mild expectorant, which is very beneficial for cold conditions.
Lavender is used as a gargle is a remedy for toothaches, sore throats, and laryngitis. It provides antiseptic protection to fight infections.
The menthol in the mint soothes irritated mucus membranes, and is also believed to have anti-microbial powers, meaning that it kills bacteria and viruses.
In a German study involving nearly 300 people, a spray containing sage extract was “significantly superior” to a placebo in quickly easing the pain and inflammation of a sore throat. The spray provides “a convenient and safe treatment,” concluded the researchers in the European Journal of Medical Research. In another study of 154 people with sore throats, a sage/echinacea spray was more effective in reducing symptoms than a spray combining the antiseptic chlorhexidine and the anesthetic lidocaine.
Thyme is one of Mother Nature’s most powerful antiseptics—when applied to your skin or the mucous membranes inside your mouth, it kills germs. (Thyme is a primary antiseptic in the mouthwash Listerine, famous for the slogan, “Kills Germs on Contact.”) And while there’s lots of preliminary research in test tubes and experimental animals on the power on thyme (and other powerful compounds in thyme) to defeat a variety of diseases, the gold-standard human research is all about germs—particularly the viruses and bacteria that cause acute bronchitis.
Adding a bit of salt in your soup also helps since salt is great to get rid of mucus and throat pain. I added cardamom, coriander and cumin just for taste since I love those favors, but again like all other herbs they also aid in tons of things. Cardamom and coriander are great for tummy issues while cumin helps with diabetes. Instead of adding ALL of this amazing spices to the soup, which would make it hard to eat, I have just steeped them with water for a while. The longer you steep, the more effective it will be. 10 minutes usually works for me. From there I strain the liquid out and add that to the soup pot.
3 cups boiling water
2 tablespoons dried sage
1 tablespoon dried thyme
A few sprigs of fresh mint
1 piece of 1-inch ginger, sliced
1 teaspoon drive lavender
1 teaspoon whole cloves
1. In a glass container, add sage, thyme, mint, ginger, lavender and cloves. Carefully pour hot water. Allow to steep for 10 minutes, then strain. Reserve liquid.
4 skinless and boneless chicken breast, cubed
3 garlic cloves, smashed
1 tablespoon butter
1/2-inch ginger, grated
1 carrot, diced
Salt and pepper, to taste
3 cups soar throat tea (above)
2 cups chicken broth
1 teaspoon ground cumin
4 green cardamom, bruised
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1. In an 8-quart saucepan on medium heat add, butter and garlic. Allow to cook for about 3 minutes, then add chicken breast, carrots and ginger. Cook until chicken is lightly browned on each side.
2. Carefully add soar throat tea and chicken broth, mix. Add cumin, coriander and cardamoms. Bring to a full boil, reduce to low and cook for 30 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Yields: 3 servings
*update: I made this soup last night and I woke up today in full health without ever taking any man made medicines.