Cayenne pepper, though used as a common spice in many cultures, can have side effects. Earth Clinic readers have reported a number of side effects with the use of cayenne pepper over the years, including increase in blood pressure, throat irritation, dizziness and insomnia. Often side effects affect the digestive system, as in heartburn, stomach cramps, and stomach pain.
When used topically for pain relief or to help increase circulation, cayenne pepper has caused a very uncomfortable burning sensation for some.While hundreds of readers report cayenne pepper as a cure for sore throats, there are some readers who did not find relief and found that cayenne pepper made their sore throat feel worse with a burning sensation.
Earth Clinic Readers Report Side Effects of Cayenne Pepper
Some Earth Clinic readers say they will never use cayenne pepper again after trying it in the nose and experience a very strong burning or irritation. Others decide the side effects are worth it.
Megan from Iowa reports, "I tried snorting cayenne pepper to relieve my sinus headache. I used roughly 1/32 of a teaspoon in my most obstructed nostril. Though my sinuses were cleared temporarily, the burning was hardly worth it. The left half of my face was inflamed, my eyes were running, and blowing my nose hurt like sin. I used my netti pot after, to try and quell the pain, with less than optimal results. Half an hour later, the burning has stopped and my congestion is back. Maybe I did something wrong, but I would not recommend this remedy."
Ray from New Jersey reported his experienced side effects when snorting cayenne pepper for a painful sinus infection accompanied by a fever. "Rather hastily and unscientifically I put a couple of shakes of organic cayenne pepper into about a tablespoon of water in a teacup. I used a Q-tip to put it each nostril a couple times each and snorted it up. I then bent over and kept snorting. I followed with a Q-tip dipped in water to get more movement and snorted some more. My mixture may have been a bit intense. It burned alright -my eyes teared as if I was bawling like a baby and I had a few sneezing fits. I hung on for a few minutes and then blew my nose. Put some more water in there and snorted a bit more. Ten minutes later there was a definite change. My head still hurt and my nose was on fire! Then after about another 15-20 minutes most of the pressure in my head left and when I tried blowing my nose, no colored discharge! My temperature went down to 99 and I no longer had the chills. It worked! It worked!" In the end, Ray considered the remedy "absolutely amazing," and apparently worth the side effects.
Ways to Avoid Side Effects of Cayenne Pepper
As with most remedies, it is generally best to start with less and increase the dose slowly. With cayenne pepper, one can start with a lower heat unit and increase as desired, slowly.
Because digestion starts in the mouth, taking cayenne pepper in water or juice may be preferable to taking it in capsules. When the capsule dissolves in your stomach, the stomach may react more strongly than if would if it had advanced warning from having been introduced in the mouth.
If you have experienced side effects from cayenne pepper, please share them with us!
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