Wednesday, October 6, 2010

The joys of Theobromine.... Ah choo!

How I hate being sick!!!  My nose is stuffed, my head feels like it's underwater and my brain hurts.  Other than that....

I threw in the towel this morning and actually stayed home.  I've been sick for 3 days and I dragged my sorry sinuses up and down 6000 feet on 2 of those days, ears alternately plugging and popping until last night it was so bad, I had vertigo trying to walk up my porch stairs and nearly fell on my face.  Not good.  When I woke this morning and considered descending from on high once again -- I was seriously afraid my head might explode!  So, I did what I rarely do and canceled the day.  My kids missed their classes and I felt lousy about that, but it was also pouring rain and frankly, the combination of searing sinus pain and potential hydroplaning might not have been the best parenting strategy either.

I'm attacking this cold a little differently though.  New research has indicated that the best cough suppressant around  -- 30% more effective than even codeine -- is dark chocolate!  Yup!  Theobromine, something dark chocolate apparently has in abundance, is the kicker.  Before long, no doubt, some greedy corporation will figure out a way to extract the theobromine and insert it into some nasty cough syrup and then slap a ridiculous price tag on the stuff.   Apparently though, just eating a square or so of dark chocolate works beautifully.  Today, I've decided to test the theory.  I don't know if it's some sort of placebo effect or if it really has true medicinal value -- but so far, it's working.  Each time I start to cough -- and I'm known for some seriously horrendous, rib cracking, coughing fits -- I nibble a square of my "medicine" and the coughing eases.  The effect tends to last about 4-5 hours.  It's early though and the jury's still out.  Once the post-cold cough sets in, we'll see.

I'm the perfect test subject for this because my colds follow a very predictably unpleasant course.  Generally, I'm sick with the actual cold (sore throat, congestion, general misery) for about a week and then it becomes a cough and I cough myself silly for upwards of a month, sometimes two.  It's ridiculous.  Every year I hear the same thing -- "You still coughing???"  "Um, yes..."  "You better go see a doctor about that!"  "Gee thanks, I'll get right on that."  Sarcastic, yes... but seriously, all the doctor ever says is rest, and that does nothing.  The only thing that ever touches my coughs is seriously narcotic-type cough medicine -- and my doctor is just not often willing to dispense that sort of thing.  I'm also not that willing to take it since it knocks me senseless and as I'm pretty much the sole source of child care, that just doesn't fly.

Dark chocolate squares though, don't knock me out and are basically fabulous.  If I walk away from this cold without my usual 40 days and nights of wracking cough -- I'll be a true believer!  Now I just have to find a way to hide my new medicine away from the grubby paws of my greedy kiddos!


  1. You know, it hadn't occurred to me to try that, yet. But, it makes complete sense. We give the rats each a chocolate chip per day to fight all the respiratory nasties to which they are prone. I don't see why it shouldn't do just as kindly for us!

    -Stephanie Paris (don't have my stuff set up so it will just post as anonymous)

  2. Hi Stephanie -- Where did you hear about giving it to rats? Never would've thought of that. Makes sense though...

  3. Hope you are experiencing blessed relief through that most beautiful of healing balms. Yay dark chocolate!

  4. Thanks Teri -- I'm still coughing, but not nearly as severely as usual though -- So, I'm satisfied :)

  5. We read about it on a couple of web sites when we first started keeping the rats. We had a few bouts with respiratory illness with our early rats (including one, very unfortunate, fast and deadly experience with one of the first two we got). So, we did a bit of digging and discovered the "daily chocolate chip" method of prevention. Since we started doing that we have only had one infection that we needed to treat, and that was extremely mild. Knock wood.