Is everyone's favorite sweet treat better than common over-the-counter medicines for treating cough? Findings of a study conducted by researchers in the UK show the potentials of chocolate in relieving symptoms of cough, albeit the study involved a cocoa-based medicine and not chocolate bars.

Cocoa-Based Medicine vs. Common Cough Treatment

Alyn Morice, from the University of Hull in Yorkshire, England, and colleagues explored the safety and efficacy of a cocoa-based treatment by involving 163 individuals with acute cough, which is commonly contracted with cold, flu, or acute bronchitis.

The participants of the ROCOCO study were randomly prescribed with either regular over-the-counter cough syrup and CS1002, a medicine that contains cocoa, the primary ingredient used to make chocolates.

Within two days, the patients on the chocolate-based medication had significant improvement in their symptoms compared with those who received regular cough medicine.

CS1002, which has since been licensed under the brand name Unicough, also reduced cough frequency and sleep disruption within two days.

Of the participants who received the cocoa-based medicine, nearly a quarter stopped the treatment after their conditions improved. Just over a tenth of the participants who received the widely used cough treatment did.

"Although the primary end point was not achieved, CS1002 was associated with greater reductions in cough frequency, sleep disruption and improved health status compared with SL," the researchers wrote in their study, which was published in BMJ Open in January 2017.

Six of the participants who received Unicough, however, reduced their dose of medications because of tiredness and drowsiness, which were later resolved.

Chocolate And Cough

The researchers think the properties of cocoa are more viscose and stickier compared with standard medicine. Chocolate forms a coating in the throat that helps protect the nerve endings known to trigger cough.

Another research by Morice and colleagues showed that the theobromine extracted from cocoa can block the actions of the sensory nerves known to trigger cough reflex.

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