Heat in chili peppers can ease sinus problems, research shows

By Angela Koenig

(Medical Xpress) -- Hot chili peppers are known to make people "tear up,” but a new study led by University of Cincinnati allergy researcher Jonathan Bernstein, MD, found that a nasal spray containing an ingredient derived from hot chili peppers (Capsicum annum) may help people "clear up” certain types of sinus inflammation.

The study, which appears in the August 2011 edition of Annals of , & Immunology, compares the use of the Capsicum annum nasal spray to a placebo nasal spray in 44 subjects with a significant component of nonallergic rhinitis (i.e., nasal congestion, sinus pain, sinus pressure) for a period of two weeks.

Capsicum annum contains capsaicin, which is the main component of and produces a hot sensation. Capsaicin is also the active ingredient in several topical medications used for temporary pain relief. It is approved for use by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and is available over the counter.

"Basically, we concluded that the spray was safe and effective on non-allergic rhinitis,” Bernstein says of the study which showed that participants who used a with Capsicum reported a faster onset of action or relief, on average within a minute of using the spray, than the control group.

Non-allergic rhinitis is an upper respiratory condition not caused by allergies but instead caused by environmental factors such as weather, household chemicals or perfumes; however, there are some people who have no triggers or don’t know what triggers are causing the inflammation, Bernstein says.

This is the first controlled trial where capsaicin was able to be used on a continuous basis to control symptoms. It is considered a significant advance, "because we don’t really have good therapies for non-allergic rhinitis,” says Bernstein, adding that in previous trials the ingredient was too hot to administer without anesthesia.

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Spring allergies have arrived

Mar 18, 2011

It may look like the dead of winter outside, but the allergy season is already underway. Trees begin spreading pollen before leaves appear on their branches. Grass and weeds will begin pollinating later in the year.

Recommended for you

In US, Ebola fears rise but most confident in response

16 minutes ago

After two health care workers in Texas were infected with Ebola while caring for a Liberian patient, a poll Tuesday showed a rattled US public that nevertheless stayed confident in the government's response.

'Humbled' NBC cameraman recovers from Ebola

46 minutes ago

A US photojournalist said Tuesday he was grateful to be alive after the hospital treating him declared him now free of Ebola, in a minor victory over the virus that has killed more than 4,500 people.

User comments

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

Ironhorse
not rated yet Aug 25, 2011
" adding that in previous trials the ingredient was too hot to administer without anesthesia."

Perhaps they cut it with a little salsa ;P