Supplement Forms/Alternate Names:
• Capsicum; Cayenne
Capsaicin refers to the active ingredient in chili peppers. It can be taken by eating peppers and spices like cayenne, chili powder, or paprika. Capsaicin has been used to help promote weight loss and ease pain. It can be taken as a pill, powder, or extract. Capsaicin can also be applied to the skin as a gel, cream, or patch. It has been used to relieve pain in muscles and joints.Dosages
There are no advised doses for capsaicin.
What Research Shows
May Be Effective
Not Enough Data to Assess
Editorial process and description of evidence categories can be found at EBSCO NAT Editorial Process.
It is likely safe to use capsaicin on the skin and to take it orally in small doses for a short time, but a burning sensation is possible. Excessive doses may be unsafe.P1 Not enough studies have been done to say whether it is safe to use for a long period. Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding should not take capsaicin orally.
Talk to your doctor about any supplements or therapy you would like to use. Some can interfere with treatment or make conditions worse, such as:
References [ + ]
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B. Cannabinoid Hyperemesis Syndrome
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C. Chronic Pain After Surgery
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D. Diabetic Neuropathy
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G. Inflammatory Arthritis
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H. Low Back Pain
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I. Neuropathic Pain
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K1. Kosuwon W, Sirichitiwapee W, et al. Efficacy of symptomatic control of knee osteoarthritis with 0.0125% of capsaicin versus placebo. J Med Assoc Thai. 2010;93(10):1188-1195.
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L. Post-Mastectomy Pain Syndrome
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M. Postherpatic Neuralgia
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N. Prurigo Nodularis
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P1. Pabalan N, Jarjanazi H, et al. The impact of capsaicin intake on risk of developing gastric cancers: a meta-analysis. J Gastrointest Cancer. 2014 Sep;45(3):334-341.
Q. Stuffy Nose
Q1. Gevorgyan A, Segboer C, et al. Capsaicin for non-allergic rhinitis. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2015;7:CD010591.
Last reviewed February 2020 by EBSCO NAT Review Board
Eric Hurwitz, DC