Stimulant, tonic, sialagogue, alterative,
rubefacient, carminative, digestive
Cayenne pepper has
beneficial antioxidant and cardiovascular effects.
It has many
beneficial effects on gastrointestinal function.
The carotene molecules of cayenne pepper and paprika exert
powerful antioxidant effects.
Cayenne pepper exerts a number of beneficial effects on
the cardiovascular system. It reduces the likelihood of developing
atherosclerosis by reducing blood cholesterol and triglyceride
levels. It also reduces platelet aggregation and increases
fibrinolytic activity. Cultures consuming a large amount of cayenne
pepper have a much lower rate of cardiovascular disease.
When topically applied to the skin or mucous membranes,
capsaicin stimulates and then blocks small diameter pain fibers by
depleting them of a neurotransmitter called substance P. Substance P
is believed to be the principal transmitter of pain impulses. It
also has been shown to activate inflammatory mediators in joint
tissues in osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.
Capsaicin lowers body temperature by stimulating the
cooling center of the hypothalamus in the brain. It appears that
people who live in tropical
areas tolerate high temperatures by consuming
may offer benefits in a number of conditions, including pain
disorders (post-amputation pain, post-mastectomy pain, post-herpetic
neuralgia, diabetic neuropathy, cluster headaches, osteoarthritis,
and rheumatoid arthritis). Topically applied, capsaicin may be useful
in the treatment of psoriasis.
Capsaicin was found to relieve the pain associated with
shingles (herpes zoster), a clinical condition known as
post-herpetic neuralgia. Clinical trials have shown that about 50%
of those taking capsaicin report improvement as opposed to 10% for
the placebo group.
capsaicin may be effective in reducing the pain of trigeminal
neuralgia, a painful disorder of the main nerve of the face,
characterized by severe stabbing pain affecting the cheek, lips,
gums, or chin on one side of the face. In one study, more than 80%
of those treated with capsaicin responded favorably. This is
remarkable as there are no medication available for this condition
except surgery. Capsaicin may help relieve the pain following breast
reconstruction or mastectomy.
Mouth pain due to
chemotherapy or radiation:
Capsaicin was found to
dramatically reduce the pain of
mouth sores resulting from chemotherapy or radiation treatment in a clinical trial.
Diabetic neuropathy is a painful nerve disorder caused by
long-term diabetes. Capsaicin has been found to be of considerable
benefit in relieving pain of this condition.
Cluster headaches are migraine-like headaches
characterized by severe pain, usually localized around one eye.
Double blind studies have shown that intranasal application of a
special capsaicin ointment by a physician may relieve cluster
headaches. Episodic patients were found to benefit more from the
treatment than chronic patients.
may be effective in relieving the pain of either osteoarthritis or
Excessive substance P levels in the skin have been linked
to psoriasis. Capsaicin was found to reduce scaling, redness, and
combined psoriasis severity.