The illness I had in January seems to be back. I was up most of last night with a non-productive cough and felt bad enough to strongly consider buying an OTC cough medicine, even though I know they don't do much good, nevermind the plastic involved.
This morning I read the Wikipedia article on cough medicine, and saw this:
Recent studies have found that theobromine, a compound found in cacao, is more effective as a cough suppressant than prescription codeine. This compound suppresses the "itch" signal from the nerve in the back of the throat that causes the cough reflex. It is possible to get an effective dose (1 g, though 0.5 g may be sufficient) from 50g of dark chocolate, which contains 2 to 10 times more cacao than milk chocolate. Cocoa powder contains roughly 0.1 g per tablespoon (5g). Theobromine was also free from side effects in the blind tests.
WOW. Dark chocolate can keep me from coughing all night long? Count me in! So after dinner I am off to the store for some paper and foil wrapped dark, dark chocolate-- and Throat Coat tea, a lemon and some fresh ginger. The cough must go.
P.S.: Update-- it works! It REALLY WORKS. I've had 3 blissful nights of sleep, with only minor interruptions from coughing. Next time I'll try cutting down to 25g from 50g of dark chocolate-- I bet it will still work.