Chocolate Can Fight Coughs Better Than Some Cold Medicine—Here’s Why

Forget honey and lemon. You may be able to cure your cough with chocolate!

A nagging, persistent cough can take you down for days—if not weeks. The answer has always been rest, fluids and cough medicine. (A soothing bowl of soup helps, too.) Fortunately, there’s a new treatment that is even more effective and a lot more enjoyable. The answer to your prayers may be sitting in your pantry.

A recent study conducted by Professor Alyn Morice, a cough expert from Hull University, found that cough sufferers who ate chocolate recovered faster than those taking traditional cough medicine!

Wait—How Does That Even Work?

Researchers split the 163 participants into two groups and administered either traditional cough medicine or medicine containing cocoa. The chocolate group reported significant improvement in their coughs after just two days.

So how does chocolate help a cough? First, chocolate itself is more sticky than traditional cough syrup. That means that it’s better at coating your throat, preventing irritation that causes you to cough. When the nerve endings in our throat become hypersensitive from a cold or the flu, it causes us to cough and spread the illness. Because chocolate is thick and sticky like honey, it calms down the nerves and quickly soothes a cough.

Chocolate may be the perfect cough medicine, because in addition to its perfect consistency, it contains compounds that have other health benefits, too. It can help lower cholesterol, keep skin looking young and more.

Ready to Try It?

Before you run to the store and stock up in the candy aisle, it’s important to note that not all chocolate is created equal. Sipping a mug of hot cocoa sounds soothing, but won’t actually help your cough. The research indicates that cough medicine with cocoa is the most helpful, but until that’s readily available, try slowly sucking on a piece of quality dark chocolate. This will allow the delicious candy to coat your throat and give you fast coughing relief.

Even if you don’t have a cough, go ahead and unwrap your favorite chocolate bar. Even if there’s no research to prove it, chocolate can make just about any day better. Enjoy!

Decadent Recipes for Dark Chocolate Desserts
1 / 37

Note: Every product is independently selected by our editors. If you buy something through our links, we may earn an affiliate commission.

Carrie Madormo, RN
Carrie is a health writer and nurse who specializes in healthy eating and wellness through food. With a master’s degree in public health from the Medical College of Wisconsin, she strives to translate the latest health and nutrition research into interesting, actionable articles. During her six years at Taste of Home, Carrie has answered hundreds of reader questions about health and nutrition, such as if pomegranate seeds are safe to eat, why pregnant women crave pickles and how much caffeine is in a shot of espresso. Carrie is also a former health coach and food blogger.