Heat in chili peppers can ease sinus problems, research shows

August 25, 2011 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.

Related Stories

Recommended for you

Zika virus infection alters human and viral RNA

October 20, 2016

Researchers at University of California San Diego School of Medicine have discovered that Zika virus infection leads to modifications of both viral and human genetic material. These modifications—chemical tags known as ...

Food-poisoning bacteria may be behind Crohn's disease

October 19, 2016

People who retain a particular bacterium in their gut after a bout of food poisoning may be at an increased risk of developing Crohn's disease later in life, according to a new study led by researchers at McMaster University.

Neurodevelopmental model of Zika may provide rapid answers

October 19, 2016

A newly published study from researchers working in collaboration with the Regenerative Bioscience Center at the University of Georgia demonstrates fetal death and brain damage in early chick embryos similar to microcephaly—a ...

Scientists uncover new facets of Zika-related birth defects

October 17, 2016

In a study that could one day help eliminate the tragic birth defects caused by Zika virus, scientists from the Florida campus of The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) have elucidated how the virus attacks the brains of newborns, ...

1 comment

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

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

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.