To do so, they examined 163 patients in Europe with a cough, randomly prescribing them either regular codeine or a chocolate-based medicine called ROCOCO.
After analyzing the results, they found that patients on the chocolate-based medication reported a “significant improvement” in their symptoms within two days, compared to those on the regular cough syrup.
"We have just seen the results of the largest real-world study of an over-the-counter cough remedy ever undertaken in Europe," lead author Alyn Morice told the Daily Mail. "This proves that a new medicine which contains cocoa is better than a standard linctus."
» RELATED: Try honey before antibiotics for that cough, new UK guidelines recommend
Morice noted this isn’t the first study of its kind. A team at Imperial College in London discovered that theobromine, an alkaloid in cocoa, is better at suppressing cough than codeine.
The ROCOCO analysts had similar findings. They believe the properties of cocoa are demulcent and help relieve irritation and inflammation.
“This simply means it is stickier and more viscose than standard cough medicines, so it forms a coating which protects nerve endings in the throat which trigger the urge to cough,” Morice explained. “This demulcent effect explains why honey and lemon and other sugary syrups can help, but I think there is something more going on with chocolate.”
The authors recommend sucking on a piece of chocolate to help alleviate cough symptoms. Hot chocolate may not be as effective, because it doesn’t come in contact with the throat long enough.
These findings will be published in a journal later this year. In the meantime, learn more details about the assessment here.
» RELATED: Eating chocolate improves brain function, study says