How to stop coughing with medicine or chocolate

Written by: Captain Skellett // May 26th, 2010 // Drugs

Image by Peter Pearson

I have been sadly struck down with a cold. So it was with weary steps I took myself to the pharmacy to obtain suitable drugs, and plenty of them. I got capsules which contain paracetamol (painkiller,) phenylephrine (ineffective speed-like drug that used to be pseudoephedrine and now doesn’t really work) and dextromethorphan (cough suppressant.)

Well I’m still coughing… So let’s see what the deal is with Mr. Dextromethorphan. Dexter for short.

Dexter is chemically similar to morphine and codeine. It was first developed to replace codeine as America’s favourite cough suppressant, and has been successful because it is non-addictive and has less potential for abuse. Unfortunately there’s debate about whether it actually works, particularly in children.

It may have less potential for abuse, but people still have a good time on cough medicine. Too much Dexter acts as a dissociative hallucinogen similar to ketamine (aka Special K) or PCP. Possibly you could enjoy watching a TV show of animals through a wide angled lens if you had too much.

If that’s not your cup of tea, why not actually have a cup of tea? Tea contains theobromine, which can suppress coughing. You know what else has theobromine in it? Cocoa. Dark chocolate in particular is a good source of theobromine, and is a delicious alternative to cough medicine. The study reported by New Scientist showed it was more effective than codeine, and better than placebo.

Dexter must have kicked in now, I’m not coughing so much. I always feel spaced out from cough medicine though, and I’m feeling pretty zonked… Methinks I will seek out some large supply of chocolate, just in case.

Captain Skellett

I be Captain Skellett. Me blog started in April 2009 when I was working full time and didn’t get a chance to talk science. Now I have changed jobs and talk science all the time, but that doesn’t stop me blogging. More About Captain Skellett   Google


4 Responses to “How to stop coughing with medicine or chocolate”

  1. Megan says:

    Thanks Dr. Skellett! Permission to eat chocolate to suppress coughing is all I need to hear! *cough* ooh gee think I need some choccy 😉

  2. Did it work or is this just another of your great excuses to eat chocolate.

    That’s almost as good as my excuse to drink red wine because of cholesterol.

  3. Deanne says:

    My husband and I have both been really sick with a virus that went to the chest with a hacking painful cough.. hence very little sleep the last 3 nights… heard about dark chocolate and sceptical about it decided to try it…I mean what did we have to lose? Unbelievably we both slept with just an occassional little cough.. no coughing bouts at all! Wonderful remedy… we have been trying Apple cider vinegar, honey,tumeric, ginger,cinnamon and all the rest with a bit of benefit… but this chocolate was the only thing that actually STOPPED the coughing.. a great sleeping aid.

  4. Nice to hear that, just to add up.. You can also eat spice such as green chilies, hot chili peppers, or other spicy foods. They will help out loosen up the mucus, which is very effective on how to stop a cough.

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