Chocolate Cures the Chronic Cough

More great news from the forefront of medicine: chocolate is a wonderful cough suppressant. Move over, yucky cough syrup that makes my tongue feel like it is varnished, here comes some effective relief! Always knew that getting my own Godiva club card would turn out to be a healthy move!

This is too wonderful to make up. Chocolate has long been revered for its positive health impacts. Now, researchers at the National Heart and Lung Institute in London studied the effectiveness of various compounds as a cough suppressant. The old standby, codeine cough syrup, performed marginally better than a placebo. The placebo was much better at avoiding that “cotton in the brain” feeling, dry mouth and constipation that codeine can produce.

The all-around best cough suppressant was found to dark chocolate. Actually, one ingredient in dark chocolate, called theobromine, seems to be active ingredient. But who cares about that, right? The dark chocolate has lots of theobromine and tastes delicious.  For those few people who don’t like chocolate (poor, sad people) there will soon be an over-the-counter medication that is strictly theobromine without any chocolate. That leaves more chocolate for the rest of us.

Coughing is caused by irritation to the vagus nerve.  Codeine deadens this nerve bundle, which helps quiet the cough. Sadly, the codeine also makes you drowsy and more likely to drive that forklift off the dock (isn’t that what the warning label is preaching about?).

The theobromine in dark chocolate has a similar suppressive effect on the vagus nerve. In the National heart and Lung Institute testing, theobromine was one third more effective than codeine in stopping a cough. Yes, a full 33% more effective than bitter codeine, with far fewer side effects. Except around the hips, but this is for medical purposes, so it shouldn't count.

So, if you have a cough that won’t stop, consider eating some dark chocolate. About 2 ounces for adults is enough, although taking a bit more (just to be safe) sounds pretty good, too. Children only need about an ounce of dark chocolate to be an effective cough suppressant. Wow, Mary Poppins used a spoonful of sugar to get the medicine to go down. Turns out she should have used a square of dark chocolate instead, and kept the medicine in the cupboard.

Do you think this is why the nice ladies at See’s Candies wear those white lab coats?

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