Cocoa contains a chemical compound that has recently become the main ingredient of the drug for persistent coughs. British researchers say that the drug is in the final stages of clinical studies and may be sold in up to two years.
The chemical is called theobromine and is located in chocolate and cocoa. To date, most of the preparations now used to treat persistent coughs contain compounds that are derivatives of opiates such as codeine. Annually, millions of people worldwide suffer from a persistent cough, lasting more than two weeks.
From previous research, it is known that cocoa can help against diabetes and stroke. The flavonoid epicatechin contained in cocoa can save mankind from the most common diseases in the western world: stroke, heart failure, cancer and diabetes, according to a group of American scientists.
"Today, science recognizes 13 essential vitamins, but epicatechin is not among them, because it does not correspond to traditional notions of vitamin-like substance essential for the normal functioning and growth of cells, which leads to deficiency diseases. The relationship between high consumption of epicatechin and reducing the risk of these diseases is so striking that it needs further research. It is possible that these diseases occur in consequence of the scarcity of epicatechin "says nutrition expert and vice president of the Natural Products Association, Daniel Febricant.
Expanding the notion of vitamins can give pharmaceutical companies a chance to enrich their range and market epicatechin capsules, which is also contained in tea, wine, chocolate and some fruits and vegetables.
Experts say cocoa producers erroneously extract epicatechin from the composition of the product, because of its bitter taste.
It grows wild in Central and South America, being cultivated mainly in America and Africa. What is the process that makes cocoa powder? The fruit is fermented and then the seeds separated. After removal of the seed’s shell, the seminal core remains. It is ground to a paste. Then it produces chocolates, candies, cocoa butter and raw cacao powder.