Simple Pantry Solutions: Cayenne

If you're looking for something to ease your aches and pains, you may want to check your spice rack. Cayenne is a popular way to ease pain.

Cayenne contains a compound called capsaicin. It is the source of its hot flavor and possible health benefits. In fact, you can buy capsaicin cream without a prescription. It can be used to ease nerve pain. It seems to work by reducing a chemical that transmits pain signals to the brain.

Healthy Uses

Cayenne may have these benefits:

  • Easing pain from things like arthritis, postherpetic neuralgia, back pain, diabetic neuropathy, and nerve pain after surgery
  • Easing itching and pain from psoriasis
  • Easing indigestion
  • Improving symptoms of nasal swelling

The best benefit from using cayenne seems to be for pain relief. Talk to your doctor about whether using cayenne or capsaicin is right to help manage your pain.

How Much You Need

Capsaicin cream can be used to treat painful areas. Be sure to use it as advised on the package or by your doctor.

Safety Steps

Cayenne is a spice. It may cause irritation of the skin, eyes, and stomach lining. Wash your hands after handling cayenne or capsaicin cream so you do not get it in your eyes. If capsaicin cream or cayenne irritates your skin or stomach, stop taking it. Do not apply cayenne or capsaicin cream to broken or irritated skin, or mucous membranes.

Talk to your doctor about the medicines you take. Cayenne and capsaicin cream may cause problems with certain medicines, such as blood thinners. It may also increase the risk of bleeding and bruising.

Safe use in children varies by age. Make sure to read the label carefully before using it on your child.

Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding should not take capsaicin orally.


American Botanical Council

American Herbal Products Association


The Arthritis Society

Health Canada


Capsaicin. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: Accessed October 21, 2021.

Cayenne. EBSCO Natural and Alternative Treatments website. Available at: Accessed October 21, 2021.

Last reviewed October 2021 by EBSCO Medical Review Board  Last Updated: 10/21/2021