Sweet remedy: Chocolate can help you beat persistent coughsChemical found in cocoa has been shown to help Researchers recommend a bar of dark chocolate a day
10:53 GMT, 9 December 2012
Chocolate may be a remedy for the common cough, according to new research, writes Roger Dobson.
A compound in cocoa has been shown to reduce symptoms of both acute and chronic coughs.
About 300 people with a persistent cough are taking part in a clinical trial at 13 NHS hospitals where they are being given the naturally occurring chemical theobromine, derived from the raw ingredient of chocolate, twice a day for 14 days.
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Early indicators are that 60 per cent of patients experience some measure of relief.
Researchers say a daily bar of dark chocolate may contain enough of the active compound to have an effect on a chronic cough.
However, it is not a cure – symptoms did return once treatment was ended.
An earlier study at the National Heart and Lung Institute showed that theobromine appears to block the action of the sensory nerves, which in turn halts the cough reflex. It was found to be more effective than widely used codeine.
Cocoa coughs: Chemical theobromine occurs naturally in cocoa and may help against persistent coughs
Everyone suffers a cough from time to time, but one in 12 Britons has a cough that interferes with activities of daily living on at least a weekly basis.
The amount of the theobromine used in the trial was a single dose of 1,000mg. Unsweetened dark chocolate has about 450mg per ounce, sweet dark chocolate around 150mg and milk chocolate about 60mg.
Principal investigator Professor Alyn Morice, head of the Hull Cough Clinic, says: ‘This new capsule we are using seems very effective.
‘Eating a bar of dark chocolate a day which has high levels of the compound may also be effective for people with diagnosed persistent cough, although eating chocolate on a daily basis may have other unwanted effects, including weight gain and so on.’