If you love chocolate, recent hubbub about the cough-soothing effects of cocoa sounds like great news. It may entice you to shop in the candy aisle instead of the cold product aisle the next time you start hacking. But are the claims that a piece of chocolate or cocoa-infused syrup is more effective than a prescription for codeine-laced syrup true? Before you add extra calories while treating your cough, check out these facts to determine if a dose of chocolate really beats a dose of cold medicine.
6. Studies on Chocolate for Coughs
The effects of chocolate, or more specifically, cacao, on the common cough have been studied for several years. In 2007, the Mayo Clinic conducted a study to determine the effectiveness of treating cancer patients with dark chocolate. The goal was to ease a cough without the side effects of stronger antitussive agents. More recently, Professor Alyn Morice from the University of Hull in the UK has reported on the cough-soothing effects of chocolate to the Daily Mail. Researchers found that chocolate provided relief from coughing two days earlier than did codeine, which is commonly used for persistent coughs.
5. Chocolate Contains Theobromine
Theobromine is a bitter compound found in cacao seeds. It is similar to caffeine and may open up your airways, improving breathing. Theobromine appears to act on nerve endings involved in the process of coughing—the nerve endings that provide that annoying little tickle. One of the ways chocolate may soothe those nerve endings is simply by coating them and preventing that tickle. This means sucking on a piece of chocolate may soothe a cough the same way sucking on a lozenge does. Unsweetened dark chocolate has the highest concentrations of theobromine when compared to milk chocolate or sweetened dark chocolate.