If you're suffering from a cough, don't bother with that honey and lemon concoction. Chocolate is a much better alternative in calming persistent cough, according to a scientist from the University of Hull.
Alyn Morice, who is also a founding member of the International Society for the Study of Cough, said new research has shown that chocolate-based medication is more effective than linctus, and "the evidence is actually as solid as a bar of Fruit of Nut."
ROCOCO, the study that Morice referred to, involved 163 patients who were randomly given either linctus or the chocolate-based syrup called Unicough. The results of the study will be released within 12 months.
"We have just seen the results of the largest real-world study of an over-the-counter cough remedy ever undertaken in Europe," Morice wrote in the Daily Mail. "This proves that a new medicine which contains cocoa is better than a standard linctus. The head-to-head comparison found that patients taking the chocolate-based medicine had a significant improvement in symptoms within two days."
This effect was attributed to cocoa's demulcent properties. Because it is thicker and stickier than other cough medicines, the chocolate is able to coat nerve endings and calm the cough, explained Morice.
This concept is not at all new. Previous studies that investigated chocolate's ability to soothe cough found that it could be an effective treatment. A study presented at the winter meeting of the British Thoracic Society in 2012 concluded that chocolate is more effective than codeine in treating a cough, according to Medical Daily.
Morice also broke the myth that there are different types of coughs and people need to take different medications based on the type of cough they have. He said this idea began in the 19th century and is no longer applicable today.
"Variety is wonderful when we open a box of chocolates, but it's simply confusing when consumers are confronted an array of different cough mixtures for supposedly different coughs," he wrote. "From a marketing point of view, it makes a lot of sense to talk about wet coughs and dry coughs, chesty ones or tickly ones - because it's a great way to encourage people to buy more products. But from a scientific standpoint, it is incredibly outdated."