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Chocolate to help a cough?

A compound found in chocolate outperforms over-the-counter and codeine-based cough-suppressants in clinical trials. The compound, theobromine, was written up in the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology Journal following a small placebo-controlled study at Imperial College London. Our GP told us that the best thing for a cough was a spoonful of honey, and it’s pretty much all we use around our house (well, that and the vile, repulsive, disgusting, incredibly effective Buckley’s Mixture — but that’s a last resort).

The researchers believe theobromine acts on the sensory nerve endings of the vagus nerve, which runs through the airways in the lungs to the brain. Capsaicin stimulates these endings to provoke coughing.

The team explored their hypothesis by looking at theobromine’s action on the vagus nerve in separate experiments involving guinea pigs and excised human trachea tissue.

Their results confirmed that theobromine does indeed inhibit the capsaicin-induced sensory nerve depolarisation in the vagus nerve.

Persistent coughs melt away with chocolate

via Boing Boing