Although some chiles are quite hot, most are valued for their soothing effects on the digestive system, relief from symptoms of colds, sore throats and fevers, circulation, especially for cold hands and feet, and as a hangover remedy. Peppers can act as a heart stimulant which regulates blood flow and strengthens the arteries, possibly reducing heart attacks. Nutritionally, fresh chile peppers are an excellent source of calcium and vitamin C. You can make a chile tincture (medicine), especially from the hottest varieties, by drying the peppers and grounding into a powder. Use one or two tablespoons in warm water for relief of may symptoms. Or pack chile powder into gel capsules for use when making a tea is not convenient.
Capsaicin is a remarkable health-promoting substance. But since burning and irritation are common side effects, it may be wise to start using it slowly and building up a tolerance for larger quantities.
I can not vouch for any of the health benefits or medical uses provided in this information. Some may consider them under the category of "old wife's tales". Other remedies may work like miracles. Try them at your own risk. If you do not get the benefit you were seeking at least you can still enjoy the heat.
A team of US cancer scientists found in tests on mice that capsaicin could provoke apoptosis, or programmed cell death, in the cells behind human prostate cancer, the most common cancer among men in the United States.
Scientists at the Samuel Oschin Comprehensive Cancer Institute at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, the tests showed the potential of repressing the growth of the cancer cells in humans. "Capsaicin had a profound anti-proliferative effect on human prostate cancer cells in culture," said the institute's Soren Lehmann. "It also dramatically slowed the development of prostate tumors formed by those human cell lines grown in mouse models," he said.
To conduct their test, the researchers fed the heat-generating alkaloid
found in all types of chilis orally to mice. Lehmann said the dose was
equivalent to a 200 pound (90 kilogram) man eating from three to eight of
the ultra-hot habanero peppers three times a week.
The heat of habanero peppers registers up to 300,000 Scoville units, compared to a maximum of 5,000 Scoville units for jalapenos and 175,000 for bird chilis popular in Southeast Asia and Africa, according to the Chile Pepper Institute of New Mexico State University.
Lehmann's research team found that the capsaicin interfered with the cancer cells' ability to avoid apoptosis, which occurs normally in many tissues as they replace aged cells with new ones. Cancer cells are able to mutate or change genes to avoid a programmed dying off.
The team found that the doses of capsaicin induced about 80 percent of
prostate cancer cells to move toward apoptosis.
Prostate cancer kills about 221,000 people worldwide every year.
Chile peppers, especially hotter varieties such as Cayenne and Habanero, can also be used externally as a remedy for painful joints, for frostbite, and applied directly to stop bleeding. They stimulate blood flow to the affected area, thus reducing inflammation and discomfort. Sprinkle a little powder into gloves or shoes to help stimulate circulation and keep the hands and feet warm. To make a liniment for external use, gently boil 1 tablespoon of hot pepper in 1 pint of cider vinegar. Do not strain, and bottle while hot.
Fresh or lightly cooked peppers are rich in Vitamin C; indeed this was first isolated in Hungary from bell pepper. However, these peppers are best known in medicine as sources of capsaicin which is used as an investigatory tool (since it stimulates liberation of Substance P, and is relied on as a cough inducing agent in laboratory studies) as well as a pain relieving medication for topical use in arthritis and neuropathies. Peppers which have pungency increase mucous secretion in the lungs and nose. The capsaicin of chile peppers is also used offensively in pepper sprays since it is very irritating to the eyes and respiratory tract. Most of the older medical uses (such as dyspepsia) are not regarded as valid medications, but chile pepper is still used in Ayurvedic therapy to treat peptic ulcers. Currently, capsaicin is used topically in proprietary creams to treat pain and neuropathies, whereas formerly chile-impregnated plasters and poultices were similarly used. The addition of chile pepper to chicken soup (with accompanying garlic and other herbs) is recommended as a useful therapy for colds, sinusitis and bronchitis.
Aside from their eye-opening flavor, perhaps the most surprising feature of chili peppers is their vitamin C content--91 milligrams in 1/4 cup of fresh chilies. Most people don't eat chili peppers in large quantities, but the amount of vitamin C is still significant. And red chilies (although not green ones) are full of beta-carotene. The nutritional aspect of hot peppers most interesting to researchers today, however, is capsaicin--the compound that gives chilies their "burn." Capsaicin seems to have a positive effect on blood cholesterol, and also works as an anticoagulant. And the "high" that some people experience when eating fiery chili-spiked foods is a perfectly safe one: Some scientists theorize that in response to the discomfort produced by the chilies' "burn," the brain releases endorphins--substances that, at high levels, can create a sensation of pleasure.
A nasal application of capsaicin greatly ameliorated symptoms among 52 patients suffering from cluster headaches. Seventy percent of the patients benefitted when the capsaicin was applied to the nostril on the same side as the headache. When capsaicin was applied to the opposite nostril, patients did not improve.
If you suffer from a peptic or duodenal ulcer, the last thing you might consider taking is hot Cayenne Pepper. This goes against everything you've ever heard about what aggravates an ulcer, the facts are that most "spicy" foods do just the opposite.
Capsicum Cayenne Pepper can reduce pain which serves as a local anesthetic to ulcerated tissue in the stomach and can even help to control bleeding in the stomach. Some individuals may be bothered by eating "Red Pepper" or spicy foods, these foods do not cause the formation of gastric ulcers in normal people. An interesting note is that people suffering from ulcers usually avoid Cayenne Pepper, in fact those people may actually benefit from its therapeutic action.
Taking Capsicum may significantly reduce the risk of ever developing a peptic ulcer. A Chinese study published in 1995 stated, "Our data supports the hypothesis that the chile used has a protective effect against peptic ulcer disease."1
Another 1995 study found that Capsicum can even protect the stomach lining from aspirin induced ulcers.2
Aspirin can cause stomach ulceration in certain individuals or if taken with too little water or juice. Researchers have concluded after experimenting with human volunteers that the capsaicin content of capsicum has a definite gastro - protective effect on the mucous membranes of the stomach.3 Eighteen healthy volunteers with normal gastrointestinal mucosa took chile and water followed by 600 mg of aspirin and water. The study was conducted over a period of four weeks. Endoscopy results showed that taking 20 grams of chile before the aspirin definitely demonstrated a protective action on the stomach lining.4
Capsicum has the ability to rebuild stomach tissue. Capsicum has the ability to bring blood to regions of tissue at a faster rate boosts the assimilation of foods that are consumed with it. Several clinical studies support this phenomenon. It has been thought that Capsicum stimulate the release of substances which increase secretions in the stomach and intestines plus can increase an abundance of blood to the stomach and intestines.5 In fact, Capsicum can increases the flow of digestive secretions from the salivary, gastric and intestinal glands.
References: (1): J. Y. Kang, et al. "The effect of chile ingestion of gastrointestinal mucosal proliferation and azoxymethane-induced cancer in the rat." Journal of Gastroenterology-Hepatol. Mar-Apr. 1992: 7 (2): 194-98. 2 K. G. Yeoh, et al. "Chile protects against aspirin-induced gastroduodenal mucosal injury in humans." Dig-Dis-Sci. Mar. 1995: 40 (3): 580-83. 3 Ibid. 4 Ibid. (5): L. Limlomwongse, et al. "Effect of capsaicin on gastric acid secretion and mucosal blood flow in the rat." Journal of Nutrition. 1979: 109, 773-77. See also T. Kolatat
Chile Pepper Could Aid Weight Loss
Arizona Republic - Phoenix,AZ - Aug. 29, 2006
What advocates claim: The capsaicin found in chile peppers is believed to be the agent responsible for the peppers' beneficial effects. It's the same substance that makes chiles spicy, so the hotter the chile, the more potential benefit. Some maintain that chile peppers aid weight loss by increasing metabolism. Peppers can support a healthful diet by adding flavor to otherwise bland foods, and they put the brakes on appetite. Anyone who has ordered a dish from a Thai menu with a three-pepper rating can tell you that it's hard to overindulge on a meal with that much heat. What's more, eating chile peppers releases endorphins that make us feel good.
What we know: In 1986, researchers at Oxford Polytechnic in England fed 12 volunteers identical 766-calorie meals. On some days, researchers added three grams each of chile powder and mustard. On alternate days, they added nothing. Researchers found that on the days they added extra spices, participants burned 45 extra calories, on average.
To test her theory about chile peppers, author Allison conducted a small study with the aid of a registered dietitian and a UCLA internist. Fourteen subjects ate a low-fat diet with and without chiles. During the 56 days in which volunteers ate chiles, participants lost an average of 9.4 pounds. By comparison, in the phase of the study in which they did not eat chiles, volunteers lost only nine-tenths of a pound. Allison said subjects also reported fewer cravings for fat and sweets during the chile phase.
Both studies were too small to draw firm conclusions, but the idea has promise. A 1999 review of weight-loss supplements found "some support for mild effects of capsaicin" in whole foods, but not in supplements.
Peppers are hot -- as a health and diet aid
Darren Swan Oct 02, 2007
The spicier a pepper, the stronger its health effect.
The secret is out: hot peppers are the spice to a healthier life.
Capsaicin, the hot pepper's natural heat-causing component, has been proven to kill cancer cells, prevent sinus infections, serve as an anti-inflammatory agent, provide gastric relief and produce fat oxidation.
A daily dose of hot peppers lets people breath easier, feel less pain and lower their body fat.
Registered Dietitians and medical experts in Chicago are pushing the multitalented and diverse health benefits of hot peppers.
Carla R. Heiser, registered dietitian and managing partner of Body Logic MD in Chicago, advocates diet and lifestyle strategies in conjunction with a cohesive medicinal plan.
"Medication is used to heal and people can use their food to keep the process going to eventually come off the medication," Heiser said. "Successful diet and lifestyle pathways can get us away from a reliance on medications."
The burn felt while eating a jalapeno, habanero or cayenne pepper comes directly from the food's capsaicin. Capsaicin, though odorless and flavorless, is primarily found in the pepper's seeds and ribs, but is also evenly distributed throughout the vegetable's flesh, according to the Wellness Encyclopedia of Food and Nutrition.
It retains the unique ability to provoke prostate cancer cell suicide, repress joint pain, block pro-inflammatory chain reactions in the blood and reduce nerve fiber swelling in the brain.
This age-old vegetable has similar effects to those of Aleve, Tylenol, Advil, Tums and chemotherapy all wrapped in one-except this food has zip, taste and no fearful side effects to the consumer beyond a spicy backlash.
The hot pepper's fuel has the same metabolic effects as Ephedra without containing Ephredra's negative cardiovascular side effects. It has been added to vitamin and weight loss supplements to increase effectiveness and safety.
A common myth exists that hot peppers cause ulcers and small intestine irritation. However, research asserts that though spicy food may add to ulcer pain and irritation, it does not function as a cause: Ulcer development has never been factually linked to spicy foods or hot peppers.
Recent experiments at the Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles provided experimental evidence supporting capsaicin's ability to halt prostate cell replication and encourage programmed cell death. Heiser said the uncovered benefits of capsaicin are on the right evolutionary road and we as eaters should get on the bandwagon.
"The first path was treating cancer cells with capsaicin and then to use the data to write the study that would then be applied to animals," she said.
"This is all a scientific process," she said." We'll move from a Petrie to replication on an animal model and with good results they are likely to move to human beings. Animals might even be skipped because [hot peppers] are already in our food supply."
Hot pepper research has become incredibly popular in 2007 with more than 200 placebo-controlled studies conducted in that time.
When it comes to health food, people pick peppers
Hot peppers have been around for more than 6,000 years and now they are taking the medical world by storm.
They have an array of health benefits and it's time to get them in your diet.
Most authentic Mexican dishes call for some type of hot pepper, whether they be jalapeno, poblano or even chiles all do the trick. Some sandwiches at your local deli come with pepperoncini or even wax peppers.
However, Dawn Jackson Blatner, registered dietician and author, said people need to get creative in the ways they incorporate these little red, green, yellow, red and orange vegetable fireballs to acquire a taste for some of nature's piquant foods.
Blatner said hot pepper medicine is exciting because people have these foods already in their cabinets.
"The first take home message for people is that these foods taste good and it can be good for you too," the Chicago-based nutrition expert said.
"Hot peppers and their active ingredient, capsaicin, acts as an anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory agent, reduces risk for heart disease, and is great for people with arthritis or marathoners regarding inflammation. It's a pretty special spice."
Preliminary research proposes that adding a teaspoon of cayenne pepper can cause the body to burn an extra 15 calories after eating the meal.
Blatner, a personal cayenne pepper lover, has come up with several different ways to incorporate the food into her diet.
She will burn some whole grain popcorn and sprinkle the pepper on top of it. Adding it to spaghetti sauce is a good way to subdue the strength of the pepper without losing its nutritional value.
Mix some in with a low fat frozen chocolate yogurt can give a peppery touch to dessert. This is a must-have spice to keep in your rack.
The power of plants and vegetables does not surprise dietitians. Hot peppers are phenomenal for the body and these experts in food and diet rely on these to help improve the human condition.
"We know plants are very powerful to protect humans against disease and we use them as much as possible," she said.
Not everyone loves spicy food or can tolerate it, for that matter.
Sometimes it takes up to 14 food exposures in taste tests or especially with children to get used to a new food.
Blatner, who works with overweight patients at Northwestern Memorial Hospital Wellness Institute in Chicago and is a spokeswoman for the American Dietetic Association, said eating hot peppers is like any other desired health habit.
"Keep practicing and one day you'll start craving it," she said.
In the countries where diets are traditionally high in capsaicin (the chili pepper substance, the fruits contain 0.1-1.5% capsaicin), the cancer death rates for men and women are significantly lower than they are in countries with less chili pepper consumption (World Health Organization statistics). When capsaicin was administered to rats receiving carcinogenic agents, the incidence of certain tumors were decreased over controls. Capsaicin has been found to preferentially inhibit the growth of cancer cells in laboratory studies. Experiments have shown that capsaicin seems to be able to detoxify a wide range of chemical carcinogens which, if left free to roam the body, could set up mutations that lead to cancers. It also induces apoptosis in various immortalized or malignant cell lines.
Researchers tested the capsaicin on human skin cancer cells to analyze how the cells reacted. They found that the majority of the skin cancer cells exposed to the substances died. The researchers say these substances seem to kill cells by damaging the cell membranes and limiting the amount of oxygen that reaches the cancer cells.
Study authors Numsen Hail Jr. and Reuben Lotan, PhD, of the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston say if more studies confirm these findings, the compounds may eventually be used in skin patches or creams that could treat or prevent skin cancers.
A different human study found that people who ate the most cayenne actually had lower rates of stomach cancer.
A chili pepper tincture can be used in the amount of 0.3-1 ml TID. An infusion can be made by pouring a cup of boiling water onto 1/2-1 tsp of cayenne powder and let set for 10 minutes. A teaspoon of this infusion can be mixed with water and drunk three to four times daily.
Buiatti E, Palli D, Decarli A, et al. A case-control study of gastric cancer and diet in Italy. Int J Cancer 1989;44:611-6. Lopez-Carrillo L, Lopez-Cervantes M, Robles-Diaz G, Ramirez-Espitia A, Mohar-Betancourt A, Meneses-Garcia A, Lopez-Vidal Y, Blair A. Capsaicin consumption, Helicobacter pylori positivity and gastric cancer in Mexico. Int J Cancer. 2003 Aug 20;106(2):277-82. Macho A, Lucena C, Sancho R, Daddario N, Minassi A, Munoz E, Appendino G. Non-pungent capsaicinoids from sweet pepper synthesis and evaluation of the chemopreventive and anticancer potential. Eur J Nutr. 2003 Jan;42(1):2-9. Zhang J, Nagasaki M, Tanaka Y, Morikawa S. Capsaicin inhibits growth of adult T-cell leukemia cells. Leuk Res. 2003 Mar;27(3):275-83. Surh YJ. Anti-tumor promoting potential of selected spice ingredients with antioxidative and anti-inflammatory activities: a short review. Food Chem Toxicol. 2002 Aug;40(8):1091-7. Park KK, Chun KS, Yook JI, Surh YJ. Lack of tumor promoting activity of capsaicin, a principal pungent ingredient of red pepper, in mouse skin carcinogenesis. Anticancer Res. 1998 Nov-Dec;18(6A):4201-5. Surh YJ, Lee E, Lee JM. Chemoprotective properties of some pungent ingredients present in red pepper and ginger. Mutat Res. 1998 Jun 18;402(1-2):259-67. Surh YJ, Lee SS. Capsaicin in hot chili pepper: carcinogen, co-carcinogen or anticarcinogen? Food Chem Toxicol. 1996 Mar;34(3):313-6. Lopez-Carrillo L, Hernandez Avila M, Dubrow R. Chili pepper consumption and gastric cancer in Mexico: a case-control study. Am J Epidemiol. 1994 Feb 1;139(3):263-71. Kang JY, Alexander B, Barker F, Man WK, Williamson RC. The effect of chilli ingestion on gastrointestinal mucosal proliferation and azoxymethane-induced cancer in the rat. J Gastroenterol Hepatol. 1992 Mar-Apr;7(2):194-8.
Capsaicin can cure cancer?
May 18, 2010 by Ray Alax
The medical profession has a long history of opposing alternative healing professions. While always claiming public safety as its reasons for the attacks, the true reasons involve protecting their monopoly of the health care market. In the past, medicine has fought battles to limit the practices of such professionals as homeopaths, naturopaths, osteopaths, podiatrists, optometrists, dentists, psychologists and chiropractors. In the case of osteopathy and chiropractic, there are distinct differences in the approach to healing and health when compared to medicine. The last thing that organized medicine wants is for their doctrine of drugs and surgery to be challenged. And it is still going on today
Capsaicin (CH3)2CHCH=CH(CH2)4CONHCH2C6H3-4-(OH)-3-(OCH3)) is the active component of chili peppers, which are plants belonging to the genus Capsicum. It is an irritant for mammals, including humans, and produces a sensation of burning in any tissue with which it comes into contact. Capsaicin and several related compounds are called capsaicinoids and are produced as a secondary metabolite by chili peppers, probably as deterrents against certain herbivores and fungi. Pure Capsaicin is a hydrophobic, colorless, odorless, crystalline to waxy compound.
Capsaicin is also the key ingredient in the experimental drug called Adlea, which is in Phase 2 trials as a long acting analgesic to treat post-surgical and osteoarthritis pain for weeks to months after a single injection to the site of pain. More over, it reduces pain resulting from rheumatoid arthritis as well as joint or muscle pain from fibromyalgia or other causes.