Hot chili peppers ease sinus problems

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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