Chili Pepper Heat Can Ease Sinus Problems

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CINCINNATI, Aug. 28 (UPI) — Hot chili peppers, which many people say “clears their sinuses” actually can work in a nasal spray, U.S. researchers say.

Dr. Jonathan Bernstein of the University of Cincinnati says a nasal spray containing an ingredient derived from hot chili peppers — Capsicum annum — may help people “clear up” certain types of sinus inflammation.

Bernstein and colleagues compared the effects of the Capsicum annum nasal spray to those obtained with a placebo nasal spray on 44 study subjects who had significant non-allergic rhinitis — for example nasal congestion, sinus pain, sinus pressure — for a period of two weeks.

Non-allergic rhinitis is an upper respiratory condition not caused by allergies but by environmental factors such as weather, household chemicals or perfumes, Bernstein says. There are some people who have no triggers or don’t know what triggers are causing their inflammation, he says.

“Basically, we concluded that the spray was safe and effective on non-allergic rhinitis,” Bernstein says in a statement. “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 Capsicum was able to be used on a continuous basis to control symptoms, Bernstein says.

It is considered a significant advance, “because we don’t really have good therapies for non-allergic rhinitis,” Bernstein says.

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