In previous articles, we discussed how chocolate can provide incredible benefits to our brain health, why we love it so much, and where we can find dairy-free options. Today, we will answer the question — can chocolate cure coughs better than traditional medicine?
“Chocolate can calm coughs,” Professor Alyn Morice, head of cardiovascular and respiratory studies at the University of Hull, and a founding member of the International Society for the Study of Cough, wrote in The Daily Mail. “I know that might sound like something out of Mary Poppins, but as an independent clinician who has spent years researching the mechanism of cough, I can assure you the evidence is actually as solid a bar of Fruit and Nut.”
Better than Standard Cough Syrup
According to a European study, patients who took medicine containing cocoa were found to have a significant improvement in their cough and sleeplessness within two days, compared to those taking standard cough medicine.
Another research from London’s Imperial College found that theobromine, an alkaloid found in cocoa, suppresses or calms coughs better than codeine, a common ingredient in cough medicine.
Researchers say that if further studies can confirm these results, chocolate can be used to create better and more efficient cough medicines, which provide significantly fewer side effects than existing drugs. Unlike most cough medicines available on the market, researchers say the chocolate ingredient does not inflict negative side effects, such as drowsiness.
“Coughing is a medical condition, which affects most people at some point in their lives, and yet no effective treatment exists,” says researcher Peter Barnes, a professor at the Imperial College London, in a news release. “While persistent coughing is not necessarily harmful it can have a major impact on quality of life, and this discovery could be a huge step forward in treating this problem.”
Relieves Inflammation or Irritation
Researchers claim cocoa has demulcent properties, which means it relieves inflammation and irritation. Essentially, it’s stickier than traditional cough syrup and can form a coating to protect the nerve endings in the throat, which trigger the urge to cough. This is the same reasoning behind the effectivity of honey and lemon in curing throat irritations.
Don’t Drink Your Chocolate
Morice further notes that “However, drinking hot chocolate won’t have the same effect, as the cocoa isn’t in contact with the throat long enough to form a protective coating. Slowly sucking on a piece of dark chocolate may provide some relief, but I think it is the way the chocolate compounds work with other ingredients in the cough syrup that make it so effective.”
How chocolate may be effective in stopping persistent coughs is a groundbreaking discovery. The next time you feel a brewing itch in your throat, skip the honey and lemon, cough syrup, and doing nothing. Instead, suck on a piece of dark chocolate. After all, “This means there will be no restrictions on when it can be taken,” says Barnes. “For example, people using heavy machinery or who are driving should not take codeine, but they could take theobromine.”