When It Comes to Coughs, Chocolate Is More Effective Than Codeine

Who are you to argue with clinical research?


It’s always when you’re in a meeting--or trying not to make a peep--when you feel it: that annoying, please-everyone-stop-staring-at-me beginning of a cough. The next time it happens, you just might want to reach for dark chocolate.

Here’s why: According to Professor Alyn Morice, head of cardiovascular and respiratory studies at the University of Hull, chocolate is actually a more effective method for relieving a tickle (or hacking cough) than other over-the-counter drugs.

The prof--and resident cough expert--references a recent study where patients who took a new medicine containing cocoa (versus cough syrup) saw a significant improvement in their cough within two days. Another study, performed at the Imperial College of London, further explains: There’s an alkaloid in cocoa that is better at suppressing the urge to cough than codeine. Codeine.

It makes sense: Chocolate’s texture is stickier than regular cough medicines, which means it’s better equipped to coat your throat and protect the nerve endings that trigger the coughing sensation.

There’s more research to be done, of course, but in the meantime, we’re happy to test the theory.

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Freelance Editor

From 2015-2020 Lindsay Champion held the role of Food and Wellness Director. She continues to write for PureWow as a Freelance Editor.