By Cal Orey,
The Writing Gourmet
Surprise! Today, a hot off the press news report (actually more than one!) was no surprise to me, the author of The Healing Powers of Chocolate (Kensington, 2010). It's noted that the compound theobromine may be what the doctor will order to stop a cough. Uh, yeah... I knew that because London researchers were onto this cure some time ago--and now a British-based drugs company called SEEK are working as I write. In the Home Remedies from Your Kitchen section of my chocolate book, I wrote:
COUGH (Stop Hacking) Sometimes with colds or after them, a cough will follow. Nobody likes to suffer hacking, because it hurts after a while as well as disturbs you and other, right? Chocolate--yes, chocolate--may be the tasty cure for a cough, according to medical researchers. But if you have acute bronchitis, run--do not walk--to your doctor for a checkup. (Bronchitis can end up as a life-threatening pneumonia.)
What Chocolate Rx to Use: Drink a cup of quality dark hot cocoa (or two cups if you can afford the calories; if you're sick your appetite is AWOL, anyhow). Or, opt for an ounce or two of dark chocolate (contains nearly 1,000 milligrams of theobromine--the ingredient that will help suppress your cough) with a 70 percent cocoa content.
Why You'll Like It: If it works, you will be able to rest easy. Also, cough syrup doesn't always taste good, and cough drops don't seem to work that well. And, medical doctors believe dark chocolate may work as well as cough medicine, which often contains codeine, which can make you drowsy. Yes, melting your cough away with chocolate may work. It's the ingredient theobromine--found in cocoa--that proved more helpful than codeine. The reason? The natural cure acts on the vagus nerve, the culprit of coughing.
So, 'tis the season for colds and coughs. While I'm not going to wait for two years to see if the new researchers' work pans out, if I get a tickle in my throat, it's time for hot chocolate stat!