Well Being

Use Chili Peppers To Fight Sinus Problems

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Hot chili peppers could help ease symptoms of a sinus infection, even if you hate spicy food.

University of Cincinnati allergy researchers found nasal spray made from capsicum, an ingredient in hot chili peppers, helped relieve nasal congestion, sinus pain and sinus pressure within a minute of being used. “Basically, we concluded that the spray was safe and effective on non-allergic rhinitis,” said study leader Jonathan Bernstein, and this is important because “we don't really have good therapies for non-allergic rhinitis.”

Non-allergic rhinitis is an upper respiratory condition caused by environmental factors—things like weather, household chemicals or fragrances—instead of allergies.

The study was funded by natural healthcare company Dynova Laboratories, for whom Bernstein is a paid consultant. Dynova makes one product: Sinus Buster pepper-based nasal spray.

But there's no need this is necessarily sinister—other studies have shown that chili peppers can provide pain relief for migraine and sinus headaches, and peppers have long been used as a folk remedy for sinus and other conditions.

“Capsaician from red hot chili peppers has great medicinal properties for your sinuses,” according to sinus doctor Walter Johnson. “This little molecule helps break up mucus congestion and dilates the sinuses to help promote appropriate drainage. Try using recipes that call for red hot chili peppers on a regular basis and you’ll quickly notice sinus relief after these meals.”

Photo: Ramesh NG