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11 January 2019, 11:11 | Updated: 11 January 2019, 11:29
A professor from the University of Hull says chocolate is better at calming coughs than traditional cough medicine
It might sound too good to be true but a new study has revealed that chocolate is actually better at soothing coughs than traditional cough syrup.
Professor Alyn Morice, Head of Cardiovascular and Respiratory Studies at the University of Hull and founding member of the International Society for the Study of Cough, says that having a bar of milk chocolate is more effective than shop-bought medicine.
Revealing the results of the largest ’real-world study of an over-the-counter cough remedy ever undertaken in Europe', he said: "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 and Nut.”
So how does it work?
According to the Professor, it's down to chocolate's "demulcent properties” – its stickiness. The consistency of the sweet treat works by forming a coating on the throat’s nerve endings, suppressing 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," he added.
The trial, titled ROCOCO, studied 163 people and found that those who took the cocoa-based medicine instead of the regular medicine saw significant improvements in just two days.
Researchers at Imperial College in London previously found that theobromine - an alkaloid component in cocoa - is 'better at suppressing the urge to cough than codeine'.
So next time you start to feel that irritating tickle at the back of your throat, reach for a slab of Dairy Milk and give it a try! You won't regret it, we promise.