British researchers have found that a compound derived from cocoa is an effective treatment for persistent coughs, but lacks the side-effects normally associated with cough suppressants. The chemical, theobromine, not only can be used to stop coughing, but also can prevent coughing in the future. The researchers offered volunteers tablets of theobromine and asked them to breathe in a gas derived from chili peppers to trigger a cough. The test proved that theobromine kept volunteers from coughing for a longer time than codeine, a popular, powerful cough medicine. As an added bonus, theobromine does not cause the drowsy side-effects that codeine does.
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