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How Chilies Can Be Used to Treat Pain

Chili Peppers

Story at-a-glance -

  • Chili peppers’ heat comes from capsaicin, a compound produced to protect them from fungal attack
  • When you eat a chili pepper, capsaicin binds to and activates heat receptor proteins called TRPV1, so even though you’re not actually in danger, your body thinks it’s being exposed to extreme heat
  • If exposed to capsaicin for long enough, your pain nerve cells will become de-sensitized to the painful stimulus
  • Capsaicin is available in pain-relieving creams and patches, and has shown promise for relieving shingles pain, osteoarthritis, psoriasis symptoms, and more
  • Capsaicin has both antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, and has also shown some promise for cancer, weight loss, and allergy symptoms

By Dr. Mercola

Chili peppers are a staple part of the cuisine in Central America, Asia, and India, while in the US you can find countless varieties of hot sauce, often with the words "inferno," "insanity," or "fire" on the labels.


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