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Capsaicin quick review
Description: the ingredient found in different types of peppers, that makes the peppers hot.
Health benefits: acts as an antioxidant, protecting the cells of the body from damage by free radicals, helps prevent bacterial infections, used in topical ointments to help relieve neuralgia.
 

Capsaicin


Capsaicin is the ingredient found in different types of peppers, such as cayenne peppers, that makes the peppers hot. Capsaicin is trans-8-methyl-N-vanillyl-5 nonenamide, a naturally occurring alkyl vanillylamide and a type of capsaicinoid. Capsaicin and several related compounds are called capsaicinoids and are produced as a secondary metabolite by certain plants of the genus Capsicum (chile peppers), probably as deterrants against herbivores. There are two main capsaicinoids, capsaicin and dihydrocapsaicin and three minor capsaicinoids, nordihydrocapsaicin, homocapsaicin and homodihydrocapsaicin.

The chili pepper, red pepper and paprika are all species of capsicum. Capsicum is the dry powder obtained by grinding up the fruits of these plants. Capsicum oleoresin (or capsaicin oleoresin) is the liquid concentrate extracted from the dry powder. Capsicum has recently been officially defined in the USP 23 where it is defined as the dried ripe fruit of Capsicum frutescens Linne or Capsicum annum Linne. Capsaicin is the most pungent of the capsaicinoids, followed by dihydrocapsaicin. Pure capsaicin is a lipophilic colorless odorless crystalline to waxy compound. It is very soluble in fats, oils and alcohols. Capsicum also contains a red coloring matter, oleic acid, palmitic acid and stearic acid.

 

Capsaicin health benefits


Capsaicin is used in topical ointments to help relieve a certain type of pain known as neuralgia. Capsaicin is also used to temporarily help relieve the pain from osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis. Neuralgia is a pain from the nerves near the skin
surface. This pain may occur after an infection with herpes zoster (shingles). It may also occur if you have diabetic neuropathy. Diabetic neuropathy is a condition that occurs in some persons with diabetes. The condition causes tingling and pain in the feet and toes. Capsaicin will help relieve the pain of diabetic neuropathy, but it will not cure diabetic neuropathy or diabetes. Capsaicin works by first stimulating and then decreasing the intensity of pain signals in the body. Substance P is believed to be involved in two processes central to arthritis. By blocking the production and release of substance P, capsaicin can reduce the pain associated with arthritis as well as dampen the transmission of pain messages to the brain.

Capsaicin acts as an antioxidant, protecting the cells of the body from damage by harmful molecules called free radicals. Capsaicin also may help prevent bacterial infections. When peppers are eaten or taken as a dietary supplement, capsaicin may improve digestion by increasing the digestive juice in the stomach and by fighting bacteria that could cause an infection. Capsaicin may help prevent heart disease. It may stimulate the cardiovascular system and lower blood cholesterol levels and blood pressure. It also helps prevent clotting and hardening of arteries (atherosclerosis). Capsaicin may also thin mucus and help move it out of the lungs. It is also thought to strengthen lung tissues and help to prevent or treat emphysema.

 

How to use capsaicin cream


Capsaicin cream is intended for external use on the skin only. Do not swallow the medication. The treatment typically involves the application of a topical anesthetic until the area is numb. Then the capsaicin is applied by a therapist wearing rubber gloves and a face mask. The capsaicin remains on the skin until the patient starts to feel the heat at which point it is promptly removed. The result appears to be that the nerves are overwhelmed from the burning sensation and are unable to report pain for an extended period of time.

When you first begin to use capsaicin, a warm, stinging, or burning sensation (feeling) may occur. This sensation is related to the action of capsaicin on the skin and is to be expected. Capsaicin must be used regularly every day as directed if it is to work properly. Even then, it may not relieve your pain right away. The length of time it takes to work depends on the type of pain you have. In persons with arthritis, pain relief usually begins within 1 to 2 weeks. In most persons with neuralgia, relief usually begins within 2 to 4 weeks, although with head and neck neuralgias, relief may take as long as 4 to 6 weeks.

 

Precautions and side effects


Do not use capsaicin topical in wounds or on skin that is burned, broken, damaged, or irritated. Contact with the eyes should be avoided, as it is quite irritating. Do not take capsaicin if you have high blood pressure or are already being treated for high blood pressure. Do not use this medicine is under the age of 2. Do not apply around eyes, nasal passages, or genitals. Common side effects is Warm, stinging, or burning feeling at the place of treatment.