Hot chili peppers nasal spray to ease sinus problems

Washington: A new study has found that hot chili peppers, which usually make people “tear up”, may help people “clear up” certain types of sinus inflammation.

University of Cincinnati allergy researcher Jonathan Bernstein, MD, found that a nasal spray containing an ingredient derived from hot chili peppers (Capsicum annum) might ease the problem.

The study compared the use of the Capsicum annum nasal spray to a placebo nasal spray in 44 subjects with a significant component of non-allergic 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 chili peppers and produces a hot sensation. Capsaicin is also the active ingredient in several topical medications used for temporary pain relief.

“Basically, we concluded that the spray was safe and effective on non-allergic rhinitis,” Bernstein said.

The study showed that participants who used a nasal spray with Capsicum reported a faster onset of action or relief, on average within a minute of using the spray, than the control group.

This is the first controlled trial where capsaicin could be used on a continuous basis to control symptoms.

The study appears in the August 2011 edition of Annals of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology.


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