Is chocolate better than cough syrup for soothing sore throats?
It’s the cold season, which means you may be throwing all sorts of lozenges, sprays and syrups down your throat in a bid to keep your voice fighting fit (not to mention audible).
Well, here’s some good news. You can throw away that horrid-tasting medicine and enjoy some chocolate instead!
According to one doctor, chocolate is better for your throat than cough syrup.
Professor Alyn Morice, who is head of cardiovascular and respiratory studies at the University of Hull (and founding member of the International Society for the Study of Cough) says having a bar of milk chocolate is better for a cough than over-the-counter medicine.
Plus, we all know which one tastes better!
Professor Morice told the MailOnline: “Chocolate can calm coughs.
“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 & Nut.”
Morice has recently pored over the results of the largest ‘real-world study of an over-the-counter cough remedy ever undertaken in Europe’.
The study suggests new medicine which contains cocoa (the main ingredient of chocolate) is better than a standard linctus (thick liquid cough syrup).
Researchers found that when they compared patients who took the chocolate-based medicine to patients taking regular medicine, the former saw a significant improvement with their symptoms in as little as two days.
Chocolate as medicine
The study, entitled ROCOCO, was a randomised controlled trial of 163 patients.
But Morice says he isn’t the first to come up with this kind of theory.
In fact, he claims researchers at Imperial College in London found theobromine –an alkaloid component in cocoa – is ‘better at suppressing the urge to cough than codeine’.
“The idea that chocolate could cure a cough might sound a bit mad, but the ROCOCO researchers believe the benefits are primarily down to the demulcent properties of cocoa,” says Morice.
“This simply means it is stickier and more viscous than standard cough medicines, so it forms a coating which protects nerve endings in the throat which trigger the urge to cough.
“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.”
Although, he did add that chugging down a mug of your favourite hot chocolate won’t have the same effect on your cough as an actual bar of chocolate.
Even with this research, and as great as it all sounds, it’s probably best to check with your GP if home remedies of bars of chocolate don’t work!