Chocolate may help soothe your cough better than cough syrup, doctor says
According to a doctor, anyways.
It's the time of year where just about everyone seems to be battling a nasty cough.
Which means that everyone is reaching for the lozenges, sprays and syrups in an effort to feel better - or, at least, to save their voice a little bit.
However, a doctor has now said that chocolate is actually better at soothing coughs than the traditional cough syrup.
Professor Alyn Morice, head of cardiovascular and respiratory studies at the University of Hull, has said that the sweet treat "can calm coughs."
He admits that while he knows it sounds like "something out of Mary Poppins", the evidence is "actually as solid as a bar of Fruit and Nut."
In a piece for the Daily Mail, Professor Morice told how the results of the largest real-world study of an over-the-counter cough remedy had come in.
The research showed that medicine that contains cocoa is better than normal cough syrup.
163 patients were involved in the "randomised controlled trial", with those who took the chocolate-based medication showing a "significant improvement in symptoms" in two days.
It isn't the first time that chocolate has been hailed as a possible solution to soothe a cough.
Researchers at the Imperial College in London previously found that theobromine, a compound in cocoa, was better at suppressing a cough than coding.
Professor Morice said that the new chocolate medicine, Uncouth, had been shown to reduce the patient's frequency of coughing as well as their sleep disruption within 48 hours.
Researchers believe that the findings are due to the fact that cocoa is a "demulcent" - which means that it is stickier and thicker than the standard cough medicine.
Therefore, it forms a thicker coating that protects the nerve endings in the throat that can trigger the urge to cough.
Professor Morice added:
"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.
"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 chocolate may provide some relief, but I think it is the way the chocolate compounds work with other ingredients in the linctus which make it so effective."