Cayenne Side Effects

| Modified: Apr 05, 2018
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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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Cayenne Pepper


1 User Review

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Posted by Gulay Ersoz (Los Angeles, CA) on 11/11/2007
0 out of 5 stars

I have been taking one cayenne pepper pill a day with warm lemonade in the mornings for the last 2 weeks or so. I experience slight heartburn like feeling but it was not a big problem. Two days ago, I took two pills instead of one, and it was no more than 3 minutes after I swallowed the pills, I had the extreme cramping in my stomach, became very dizzy, my left arm was hurting and I felt tingling on my fingers and legs... Not only the pain was extremely bad, my head was spinning, I was having hard time walking in my kitchen. I was hot, I just wanted to stop the cramping and managed to throw up. Took two Tums... With the hyper ventilation and dizziness, I laid in the bath tub and turned the cold water on, (I was so out of it and unable to control my reflexes, I couldn't even take my clothes off) it took about another 10-15 minutes before the pain went away, and I actually managed to get up and walk around... I called my doctor friend and she asked me if I experienced chest pain, I said no. Other than that I had all the symptoms of a heart attack. Went to see a doctor, and after the EKG, I was told that I had a bad reaction to cayenne pepper. It was not a joking matter for me, as I was home alone with my 3 year old sleeping in her bed, I had to have a reality check. How healthy is it to be trying to be healthy???

Replied by Perry
(San Antonio, TX)
05/19/2008

As a counter to your expose on Cayanne and after effects, I have consumed three 100,000 units per capsule (cool) cayenne daily for three years with no adverse effects (for high blood pressure). So... works for me!