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Capsicum Frutescens

Capsicum Frutescens

*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

About

Capsicum, also known as red pepper or chili pepper, is an herb. The fruit of the capsicum plant is used to make medicine.

Capsicum is taken by mouth for various problems with digestion including upset stomach, intestinal gas, stomach pain, diarrhea, and cramps. It is also used for conditions of the heart and blood vessels including poor circulation, excessive blood clotting, high cholesterol, and preventing heart disease. Some people use capsicum for burning mouth syndrome, improving exercise performance, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), joint pain, stomach ulcers, weight loss, seasickness, toothaches, difficulty swallowing, alcoholism, malaria, and fever.

Some people apply capsicum to the skin for pain caused by shingles, osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, fibromyalgia, diabetes, HIV, and a certain condition that causes facial pain (trigeminal neuralgia). It is also used for muscular pain, back pain, and pain after surgery.

Some people apply capsicum to relieve muscle spasms, for skin eruptions (prurigo nodularis), to prevent nausea and vomiting after surgery, as a gargle for laryngitis, and to discourage thumb-sucking or nail-biting.

Some people put capsicum inside the nose to treat hay fever, migraine headache, cluster headache, and sinus infections (sinusitis).

One form of capsicum is currently being studied as a drug for migraine, osteoarthritis, and other painful conditions.

A particular form of capsicum causes intense eye pain and other unpleasant effects when it comes in contact with the face. This form is used in self-defense pepper sprays.

How does it work?

The fruit of the capsicum plant contains a chemical called capsaicin. Capsaicin seems to reduce pain sensations when applied to the skin. It might also reduce swelling.

Traditionally used for

Nerve damage related to diabetes (approved by the FDA for this use by prescription).
Pain.
Nerve damage caused by shingles (approved by the FDA for this use by prescription).
Back pain.
Cluster headache.
Runny nose not caused by allergies or infection (perennial rhinitis).
Preventing nausea and vomiting after surgery.
Pain after surgery.
Hay fever (allergic rhinitis).
Burning mouth syndrome.
Nerve damage caused by HIV.
Joint pain.
Migraine headache.
Stomach ulcers.
A skin condition called prurigo nodularis.
Polyps in the nose.
Swallowing difficulties.
Weight loss.
Blood clots.
Colic.
Cramps.
Fever.
Heart disease.
High cholesterol.
Laryngitis.
Muscle spasms.
Nausea.
Toothache.

Dosage

Recommended 500 mg taken once to three times daily.

Possible Side Effects

Capsicum is SAFE when consumed in amounts typically found in food. Side effects can include stomach irritation and upset, sweating, flushing, and runny nose. Medicinal lotions and creams that contain capsicum extract are also SAFE for most adults when applied to the skin. The active chemical in capsicum, capsaicin, is approved by the FDA as an over-the-counter medication. Side effects can include skin irritation, burning, and itching. Capsicum can also be extremely irritating to the eyes, nose, and throat. Don't use capsicum on sensitive skin or around the eyes.

Capsicum is SAFE when taken by mouth as medicine, short-term, when applied to the skin appropriately, and when used in the nose. No serious side effects have been reported, but application in the nose can be very painful. Nasal application can cause burning pain, sneezing, watery eyes, and runny nose. These side effects tend to decrease and go away after 5 or more days of repeated use.

Capsicum is POSSIBLY UNSAFE to take by mouth in large doses or for long periods of time. In rare cases, this can lead to more serious side effects like liver or kidney damage, as well as severe spikes in blood pressure.

Special Precautions & Warnings

Pregnancy and breast-feeding: Capsicum is SAFE when applied to the skin during pregnancy. But not enough is known about its safety when taken by mouth. Stay on the safe side and don't use capsicum if you are pregnant.

If you are breast-feeding, using capsicum on your skin is SAFE. But it is POSSIBLY UNSAFE for your baby if you take capsicum by mouth. Skin problems (dermatitis) have been reported in breast-fed infants when mothers eat foods heavily spiced with capsicum peppers.

Children: Applying capsicum to the skin of children under two years of age is POSSIBLY UNSAFE. Not enough is known about the safety of giving capsicum to children by mouth. Don't do it.

Bleeding disorders: While conflicting results exist, capsicum might increase the risk of bleeding in people with bleeding disorders.

Damaged or broken skin: Don't use capsicum on damaged or broken skin.

Diabetes: In theory, capsicum might affect blood sugar levels in people with diabetes. Until more is known, monitor your blood sugar closely if you take capsicum. The dose of your diabetes medication might need to be changed.

High blood pressure: Taking capsicum or eating a large amount of chili peppers might cause a spike in blood pressure. In theory, this might worsen the condition for people who already have high blood pressure.

Surgery: Capsicum might increase bleeding during and after surgery. Stop using capsicum at least 2 weeks before a scheduled surgery.

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