Chicken soup for…

Chicken soup is one of our modern panaceas for all ills, but it was also used as medicine in the eighteenth century. However, while nowadays it is associated with treating colds and flu (and has actually been proved to have anti-inflammatory properties¹), then it appears to have been considered as a stomach remedy. Take this rather graphic recipe from a collection of recipes by an unknown hand²:

An exelent chicken broath, from Mrs Finch

Take a lean chicken, skin it & draw it put one ounce of fine

manna in the body of it, & secure it at both ends to keep the

manna in, put it in one quart of water & let it boyl gently

till it comes to one pint, then strain it off, & drink a coffe

cup full at a time till it hath answered the purpose of giving

a stool.

Tis so very innocent a woman in child bed may take it

at any time or an infant. It is perticularly good to procure

a stool in the piles, or for any great heat in the body or

complaint in the stomach when such a medison is proper

as it also comforts the stomach & bowels at the same time it

works off & often proves effectual when all medisons have failed.

The manna in question wasn’t the wonder food of the Israelites, but the dried sap of the ash tree, which has laxative properties.

Mind you, I think I might prefer an alternative (and not so innocent) remedy for the ‘looseness’ or diarrhoea, from another anonymous collection³ – although it does sound more like a hangover cure:

Take 6 spoonfulls of the best brandy & beat the yolk of an egge very

well & mix with it & grate in a whole nuttmegg & put in a little sugar

& brew it well together & drink it next your heart in a morning.


² British Library, Add 29,435.

³ Wellcome Library, MS.1321.

3 thoughts on “Chicken soup for…

  1. Pingback: Chicken Soup for… | The Recipes Project

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