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What is Capsaicin

Ever bit into a hot chilli pepper and burned your mouth? Well, it’s the capsaicin chemical in that pepper that causes this warming (or frighteningly burning) effect, that I for one love to taste in my food.

I add cayenne pepper to my food wherever possible. It spices up my rather ordinary bland food dishes, and besides, capsaicin has many health benefits and can even help you lose weight.

In nature, capsaicin is a natural deterrent, irritating the skin of any animal it comes into contact with. Some people, gardeners in particular, often make a ‘critter repellent’ which contains cayenne pepper, which they spray and pour over their beloved plants to protect them.

Capsaicin was first identified in the early 1900’s, and was later proved to have various interactions in the human body, in the twentieth century. In it’s purest form, capsaicin has no color, is very aromatic and does not dissolve in water.

Health Benefits of Capsaicin

There is a huge amount of published scientific research which confirms that this derivative of the genus capsicum plant has many health benefits.

1. Provides pain relief from back pain
2. Hinders cancer cell growth
3. Soft tissue pain relief
4. May help with weight loss
5. Helps with headaches
6. Provide relief for skin conditions

Warnings and Interaction of Capsaicin

When cooking with chilli peppers or kitchen powders that contain capsaicin, be careful not to rub your eyes, your face, until you have thoroughly washed your hands with soap.

And especially, make sure there is no trace on your hands when you go to the toilet after using anything which contains this alkaloid. I’ve made this mistake, and I assure you of the pain and discomfort for hours later.

Using Capsaicin Products

If you’re using a gel or lotion, be mindful not to spread it over open wounds, or if you have any area where your skin is aggravated, avoid this area.

You may feel a slight burning sensation, but this is temporary and should disperse later.

The usual treatment with such ointments, says not wash off for about 30 minutes.