I freaking LOVE hot cocoa at Christmas and wintertime, it’s like a warm hug in a mug! But, get this, did you know that this comforting cup of joy can actually be good for a sore throat? I know, mind blown right? I was skeptical when I first heard this, so being the Christmas-loving, research nerd I am, I had to find out if it was true. Spoiler Alert…IT IS!

I’m a Christmas Lover, like you, and definitely NOT a doctor. The insights and tidbits shared on this post are my personal discoveries meant to inspire and inform, not to diagnose or treat. If you need medical advice, please put down that cup of hot cocoa, close your laptop, and dial-up your actual healthcare provider.

Read on to discover how hot cocoa can help a sore throat or a winter cold, and boost your immunity. All information shared includes links to sources.

And, of course, I’ll share a delicious hot cocoa recipe that uses cocoa powder and is perfect for when you’re feeling under the weather. So grab a mug and let’s dive in! Or Jump Straight to the Healing Hot Cocoa recipe.

Healing History of Hot Cocoa

Left to Right: From fresh cacao (or cocoa) fruit with cocoa seeds to dried cocoa “beans” to cocoa powder

The healing power of hot cocoa lies in the cocoa (aka cacao) powder so let’s start there.

The use of chocolate for medical purposes dates back to the ancient Mayan and Aztec civilizations at least as far back as 600 BC.

The Spanish conquistador Hernán Cortés brought samples of cacao to King Charles of Spain in 1528 and this helped spread the use of chocolate in Europe.

From the 16th to 19th centuries, hot chocolate was seen as a medicine as well as a drink. Explorers such as Francisco Hernández and Santiago de Valverde Turices wrote that chocolate drinks could treat various illnesses including fever, liver disease, chest ailments, and stomach disorders.

In the 17th century, when chocolate was introduced to the French, it was used to treat fits of anger and bad moods believed to be due to its phenylethylamine content. Today, hot chocolate is mainly consumed for its excellent taste, but new research supports potential health benefits. I am going to share some of those below.


Can Hot Cocoa Boost Your Immunity?

a mug full of how cocoa powder with the word "pow" on the mug.
Cocoa Powder – Not All Heros Wear a Cape

Can hot cocoa boost your immunity? Yup! Well, actually, the power in hot cocoa comes from the cocoa powder. Cocoa powder has been shown to have some amazing benefits, including boosting your immune system.

Cocoa contains flavonoids called flavanols, which are antioxidants that help protect your body from harmful free radicals. These antioxidants are believed to enhance your immune system by increasing the activity of immune cells that fight off infections and illnesses.

By regularly drinking hot cocoa made from 70% or higher cocoa, you may be able to boost your antioxidant levels and support your health during the winter months. Just keep in mind that the amount of sugar you add will affect the overall health benefits.

And that’s not all – cocoa powder also packs a punch with minerals like magnesium, iron, zinc, and selenium that support your body’s overall functioning and keep your immune system strong.

Plus, ingredients like honey and cinnamon, often added to hot cocoa recipes (*wink wink* recipe foreshadow), have natural properties that can help boost your immune system even more.


Can Hot Cocoa Sooth A Sore Throat?

3 pictures. a woman with a sore throat, cocoa beans and cocoa powder, and a cup hot cocoa.
Sore Throat…Hot Cocoa to the rescue.

Now, let’s answer the question on everyone’s mind: “Is hot cocoa good for a sore throat?” The answer is yes! Studies have shown that hot cocoa can be a lifesaver for sore throats, helping in multiple ways. The warmth of the drink soothes the throat while the cocoa has antibacterial properties to fight the root cause. Ingredients like honey and cinnamon can also provide added relief. Not to mention, cocoa is packed with antioxidants that can reduce inflammation and support healing.


Can Hot Cocoa Help with a Cold?

a man who looks sick with a cold and is holding a mug
Have a Cold? Have a Hot Cocoa.

We now know that hot cocoa can help soothe a sore throat but did you know it can also do wonders for a cold? Hot cocoa has a warm and comforting effect that can soothe sore throats and calm coughs. The heat from the drink can help to loosen up mucus in your throat, making it easier to cough up and relieve chest congestion. The natural pain-relieving properties of cocoa can also help to ease headaches and reduce discomfort caused by a cold. Not to mention, cocoa is loaded with antioxidants that can help fight off cold-causing viruses. It’s also hydrating, making it a perfect drink for when you’re feeling under the weather.


Healing Hot Cocoa Recipe Made with Cocoa Powder

How do you make hot cocoa from cocoa powder that has maximum healing power? Follow the recipe for “Healing Hot Cocoa” that I’ve tested and perfected to find out. It takes advantage of the healing properties of cocoa powder and adds other ingredients for even more healing benefits. This recipe is kid-tested and mom-approved, making it the perfect drink for anyone looking to recover from a cold or sore throat.

When it comes to cocoa powder, aim for a high percentage of cocoa (70% or higher) for maximum flavanols. I used Hershey’s Dark Cocoa Powder, which is 100% cocoa.

For a healthier option, I used Monk Fruit, a natural zero-calorie sweetener that is also high in immune-boosting antioxidants. Compare that to sugar which can suppress your immune system. The taste testers preferred Lakanto Golden Monk Fruit Sweetener.

Lastly, this recipe takes Hot Cocoa to the next level by adding other ingredients that boost its healing power. Cinnamon and pure vanilla extract both offer an added boost. Pure Vanilla extract is an antioxidant that is also anti-inflammatory while cinnamon is anti-bacterial, anti-viral, anti-inflammatory, and loaded with antioxidants.


Healing Hot Cocoa Recipe

Healing Hot Cocoa

Holiday Cheermeister
Here's a sugar-free, immune-boosting, cold & sore throat-busting recipe for Hot Cocoa that uses cocoa powder. We skip the whipped cream and marshmallows and just stick with the good-for-your-health ingredients. This Healing Hot Cocoa is so rich & creamy, and feels downright sinful to drink…you won't believe you can drink it to help you heal from a cold and sore throat. Heck, it's so tasty that it might just become your new go-to hot cocoa recipe. So sick or not, bottoms up!
5 from 1 vote
Cook Time 10 minutes
Course Drinks
Servings 2 people
Calories 282 kcal


  • 3 Tbsp Hot Cocoa Powder Pick a cocoa powder that is 70% or more cacao
  • 2 Tbsp Monk Fruit Sweetner Lakanto Golden works great
  • Pinch Salt
  • 3 Tbsp Water
  • 2 cups Milk Oat milk is a good dairy free option
  • 1/2 tsp Vanilla Extract
  • 1/2 tsp Cinnamon
  • 2 Tbsp Honey


  • Start by combining the Cocoa Powder, Monk Fruit, Salt, and Water in a pot.
  • Whisk over low heat until you get a nice smooth chocolate sauce, 1 min
  • Add the Milk and continue to wisk to incorporate.
  • Add the Vanilla and Cinnamon, and whisk to incorporate
  • Remove from heat and add the Honey. Whisk to incorporate.
  • Pour in 2 mugs.
  • Sip, *sigh*


In order to get the most immune-boosting power out of this Hot Cocoa, stick with:
  • Cocoa Powder that is 70% or more cacao
  • A pure vanilla extract (made with vanilla beans)
  • Unfiltered organic honey
Keyword Hot Cocoa

I would have never guessed it, but there it is: hot cocoa is not just a winter treat, but it also has the potential to relieve symptoms of colds and sore throats. Its hydration, soothing properties, and antioxidants make it a comforting and beneficial drink to have during the winter months. So next time you’re looking to soothe your symptoms or boost your immunity, try a cup of hot cocoa made with cocoa powder!

Please follow and like:

One Reply to “Hot Cocoa to the Rescue: The Unexpected Sore Throat Soother”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating