Who would have thought that one of the world’s favorite sweet food can actually soothe cough? Most people reach out for lemon or cough syrup to cure the symptoms, while in fact you can simply indulge in a bar of chocolate. It sounds too good to be true, but this is the most recent findings.
The study was conducted by Professor Alyn Morice, the head of cardiovascular and respiratory studies at the University of Hull and a founding member of the International Society for the Study of Cough. “Chocolate can calm coughs,” she announced.
The ROCOCO Research
The study can be considered one of the biggest “real world study of an over-the-counter cough remedy ever undertaken in Europe”. It was called ROCOCO, a well-designed research that involved 163 patients who were randomly selected for a controlled test. After two days of taking up cocoa-based medicine, significant improvement in their condition was observed.
Professor Morice suspects that the “demulcent properties” or stickiness of chocolate helps cure the cough. Its consistency forms a coating on the nerve endings of the throat suppressing the cough. He explains further, “This demulcent effect explains why honey and lemon and other sugary syrups can help, but I think there is something more going on with chocolate. I’m sure it has a pharmacological activity, some sort of inhibitory effect on the nerve endings themselves.”
The Previous Research
A previous research can also back up the recent study. The researchers at the Imperial College London introduced a new trial medicine with licensed brand name Unicough. It contains the alkaloid in cocoa called theobromine which was proven better at suppressing cough compared to codeine, the traditional ingredient in cough medicines.
“Coughing is a medical condition, which affects most people at some point in their lives, and yet no effective treatment exists,” Peter Barnes of the Imperial College London said. “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.”
In the study, the ten participants were given of the three choices – theobromine, codeine, and capsaicin. The single dosage was given during the three study visits each of which is separated by a week. The participants were also exposed to different levels of capsaicin which is a cayenne ingredient that stimulates coughing. The researchers did this step to see how much capsaicin concentration was needed to induce five coughs.
When the participants were given theobromine, the capsaicin concentration was approximately one-third higher than with the placebo. Moreover, there was no difference between the levels in placebo and codeine. It was concluded that the theobromine seems to suppress the vagal nerve activity which causes coughing.
Only ten volunteers participated in the study, but the researchers looked forward at further studies to confirm the result. If more studies are conducted, better cough remedies with fewer side effects will be formulated in the future.
Chocolate Has Fewer Side Effect Than Cough Syrup
Furthermore, the previous research at the Imperial College London found out that the theobromine doesn’t cause any side effect in stopping the cough compared to codeine or placebo. Barnes explained, “This means there will be no restrictions on when it can be taken“.
So the next time the annoying cough attacks you but you need to stay awake, just reach out for a bar of chocolate and enjoy.
Here is a news video from WCNC discussing further what chocolate can do for your cough:
Note: This article is for informational and entertainment purposes only and not to be treated as a professional opinion or diagnosis.