Back pain, inflammation, arthritis, and headaches are common health issues nowadays. In the past, these problems would come with aging, but now, even young people suffer from this type of issues. Taking painkillers all the time may help you ease the pain for a while, but then it will come back even more violent, as you haven’t treated the cause. Moreover, no one recommends painkillers for the long term, as they also have harmful compounds that will affect some of your body’s organs and systems.
But there is a much simpler solution for inflammation and the pain triggered by it – cayenne pepper. This spice is used especially in Chinese, Japanese and Korean alternative medicine, in order to heal arthritis, muscle pain, stomach conditions, and cardiovascular problems.
What Makes Cayenne Pepper a Powerful Natural Remedy?
The most important compound of cayenne pepper is capsaicin, which provides most of this spice’s proprieties.
Capsaicin inhibits the substance P. This neuropeptide is responsible for triggering the pain sensation in inflammation, as it announces the brain that you should experience pain. If the amount of substance P is reduced, the pain you feel is also considerably relieved. Applied on the affected area, capsaicin can ease the pain dramatically, even when it comes to inflammatory or chronic issues, such as osteoarthritis. In fact, this substance is generally used in natural ointments for arthritis. But the benefits of capsaicin have been confirmed by many scientific studies, too.
But is it possible for this pain relief to be only a placebo effect? Researchers have wondered this, too, which led to a complex study meant to solve this mystery. There were almost 300 participants in the study who suffered from chronic back pain or chronic soft-tissue pain. They were given ointments either with capsaicin, or placebo ones. The patients who received capsaicin as treatment experienced significant improvements in their pain while the others have not reported pain relief.
Cayenne Pepper – the hotter, the better?
As the spicy taste of cayenne pepper is given by capsaicin – the substance which is proved to relieve pain, many people tend to believe that the hotter the pepper, the better. Even though the amount of capsaicin is higher, in this case, you should know that this active compound can burn the skin. Especially if you have sensitive skin, cayenne peppers – even the milder ones – can affect it. For this reason, it is recommended to use cayenne peppers that are not so hot for preparing oil or ointment.
Make Your Own Cayenne Pepper Oil
- ½ cup of extra virgin olive oil
- ¼ cup of Cayenne pepper powder
Mix the powder and oil and place the resulted solution in a mason jar. Let it sit for 2-3 weeks, and then use it on the affected areas. Put a few drops on the painful area and massage them as needed.
Warning: capsaicin can give you a burning sensation, so keep your hands away from your eyes when handling cayenne peppers. Also, don’t use this oil on the cracked skin or open wounds.