Skip to main content
    • Aa
    • Aa

Are hot chilli peppers good for you?

In a nutshell
In a nutshell

Chilli peppers contain capsaicin, for which there are specific receptors in nerves which not only transmit pain, but also initiate neuroendocrine responses.

Chilli has anti-inflammatory, antibiotic, and anti-cancer actions. In the gut it is generally more protective than it is irritant. Capsaicin is also used as a ‘local anaesthetic’ for neuropathic pain.

Hide All
1. SatyanarayanaMN. Capsaicin and gastric ulcers. Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr. 2006;46(4):275328.
2. SurhYJ. More than spice: capsaicin in hot chili peppers makes tumor cells commit suicide. J Natl Cancer Inst. 2002 Sep 4;94(17):1263–5.
3. TripathiYB. et al. Nutraceuticals and cancer management. Front Biosci. 2005 May 1;10:1607–18.
4. Westerterp-PlantengaM. et al. Metabolic effects of spices, teas, and caffeine. Physiol Behav. 2006 Aug 30;89(1):8591.
5. SzolcsanyiJ. Forty years in capsaicin research for sensory pharmacology and physiology. Neuropeptides. 2004 Dec;38(6):377–84.
6. WangDH. The vanilloid receptor and hypertension. Acta Pharmacol Sin. 2005 Mar;26(3):286–94.
7. CaterinaMJ. et al. The capsaicin receptor: a heat-activated ion channel in the pain pathway. Nature. 1997 Oct 23;389(6653):816–24.
8. GoldsteinFJ. Adjuncts to opioid therapy. J Am Osteopath Assoc. 2002 Sep;102(9 Suppl 3):S15–21.
9. LysyJ. et al. Topical capsaicin--a novel and effective treatment for idiopathic intractable pruritus ani: a randomised, placebo controlled, crossover study. Gut. 2003 Sep;52(9):1323–6.
10. De RidderD. et al. Intravesical capsaicin as a treatment for refractory detrusor hyperreflexia: a dual center study with long-term followup. J Urol. 1997 Dec;158(6):2087–92.
11. KeitelW. et al. Capsicum pain plaster in chronic non-specific low back pain. Arzneimittelforschung. 2001 Nov;51(11):896903.
12. MathiasBJ. et al. Topical capsaicin for chronic neck pain. A pilot study. Am J Phys Med Rehabil. 1995 Jan-Feb;74(1):3944.
13. DealCL. et al. Treatment of arthritis with topical capsaicin: a double-blind trial. Clinical Therapeutics. 1991;13:383395.
14. FuscoBM. et al. Repeated intranasal capsaicin applications to treat chronic migraine. Br J Anaesth. 2003 Jun;90(6):812.
15. BergerA. et al. Oral capsaicin provides temporary relief for oral mucositis pain secondary to chemotherapy/radiation therapy. J Pain Symptom Manage. 1995 Apr;10(3):243–8. Erratum in: J Pain Symptom Manage 1996 May;11(5):331.
16. EllisonN. et al. Phase III placebo-controlled trial of capsaicin cream in the management of surgical neuropathic pain in cancer patients. J Clin Oncol. 1997 Aug;15(8):2974–80.
17. WatsonCP. et al. A randomized vehicle-controlled trial of topical capsaicin in the treatment of postherpetic neuralgia. Clin Ther. 1993 May-Jun;15(3):510–26.
18. BernsteinJE. et al. Topical capsaicin treatment of chronic postherpetic neuralgia. J Am Acad Dermatol. 1989 Aug;21(2 Pt 1):265–70.
19. ForstT. et al. The influence of local capsaicin treatment on small nerve fibre function and neurovascular control in symptomatic diabetic neuropathy. Acta Diabetol. 2002 Apr;39(1):16.
20. BiesbroeckR. et al. A double-blind comparison of topical capsaicin and oral amitriptyline in painful diabetic neuropathy. Adv Ther. 1995 Mar-Apr;12(2):111–20.
21. Anon. Effect of treatment with capsaicin on daily activities of patients with painful diabetic neuropathy. Capsaicin Study Group. Diabetes Care. 1992 Feb;15(2):159–65.
22. TandanR. et al. Topical capsaicin in painful diabetic neuropathy. Controlled study with long-term follow-up. Diabetes Care. 1992 Jan;15(1):814.
23. KovacsEM. et al. Metabolically active functional food ingredients for weight control. Obes Rev. 2006 Feb;7(1):5978.
24. LejeuneMP. et al. Effect of capsaicin on substrate oxidation and weight maintenance after modest body-weight loss in human subjects. Br J Nutr. 2003 Sep;90(3):651–59.
25. JohnsonWJr. Final report on the safety assessment of capsicum annuum extract, capsicum annuum fruit extract, capsicum annuum resin, capsicum annuum fruit powder, capsicum frutescens fruit, capsicum frutescens fruit extract, capsicum frutescens resin, and capsaicin. Int J Toxicol. 2007;26 Suppl 1:3106.
26. ChowJ. et al. TRPV6 mediates capsaicin-induced apoptosis in gastric cancer cells-Mechanisms behind a possible new “hot” cancer treatment. Biochim Biophys Acta. 2007 Apr;1773(4):565–76.
27. GalatiG. et al. Cytoprotective and anticancer properties of coenzyme Q versus capsaicin. Biofactors. 2003;18(1–4):195205.
28. PandeyM. et al. Diet and gallbladder cancer: a case-control study. Eur J Cancer Prev. 2002 Aug;11(4):365–8.
29. MathewA. et al. Diet and stomach cancer: a case-control study in South India. Eur J Cancer Prev. 2000 Apr;9(2):8997.
30. Lopez-CarrilloL. et al. Capsaicin consumption, Helicobacter pylori positivity and gastric cancer in Mexico. Int J Cancer. 2003 Aug 20;106(2):277–82.
31. SekiN. et al. Capsaicin induces the production of IL-6 in human upper respiratory epithelial cells. Life Sci. 2007 Apr 3;80(17):1592–7.
32. AggarwalBB. et al. Suppression of the nuclear factor-kappaB activation pathway by spice-derived phytochemicals: reasoning for seasoning. Ann N Y Acad Sci. 2004 Dec;1030:434–41.
33. KimCS. et al. Capsaicin exhibits anti-inflammatory property by inhibiting IkB-a degradation in LPS-stimulated peritoneal macrophages. Cell Signal. 2003 Mar;15(3):299306.
34. ChengJ. et al. Capsaicin for allergic rhinitis in adults. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2006 Apr 19;(2):CD004460.
35. BlomHM. et al. The long-term effects of capsaicin aqueous spray on the nasal mucosa. Clin Exp Allergy. 1998 Nov;28(11):1351–8.
36. BaudoinT. et al. Capsaicin significantly reduces sinonasal polyps. Acta Otolaryngol. 2000 Mar;120(2):307–11.
37. StjarneP. et al. Capsaicin desensitization of the nasal mucosa reduces symptoms upon allergen challenge in patients with allergic rhinitis. Acta Otolaryngol. 1998 Mar;118(2):235–9.
38. FragassoG. et al. Nitric-oxide mediated effects of transdermal capsaicin patches on the ischemic threshold in patients with stable coronary disease. J Cardiovasc Pharmacol. 2004 Sep;44(3):340–7.
39. MilkeP. et al. Gastroesophageal reflux in healthy subjects induced by two different species of chilli (Capsicum annum). Dig Dis. 2006;24(1–2):184–8.
40. SchmidtB. et al. Chemical nociception in the jejunum induced by capsaicin. Gut. 2004 Aug;53(8):1109–16.
41. GonzalezR. et al. Effect of capsaicin-containing red pepper sauce suspension on upper gastrointestinal motility in healthy volunteers. Dig Dis Sci. 1998 Jun;43(6):1165–71.
42. PlatelK. et al. Digestive stimulant action of three Indian spice mixes in experimental rats. Nahrung. 2002 Dec;46(6):394–8.
43. KangJY. et al. Chili--protective factor against peptic ulcer? Dig Dis Sci. 1995 Mar;40(3):576–9.
44. KangJY. et al. Chilli ingestion does not lead to macroscopic gastroduodenal mucosal damage in healthy subjects. J Gastroenterol Hepatol 1988; 3: 573576
45. BortolottiM. et al. The treatment of functional dyspepsia with red pepper. Aliment Pharmacol Ther. 2002 Jun;16(6):1075–82.
46. AgarwalMK. et al. Effect of red chillies on small bowel and colonic transit and rectal sensitivity in men with irritable bowel syndrome. Indian J Gastroenterol. 2002 Sep-Oct;21(5):179–82.
47. KangJY. et al. Effect of capsaicin and chilli on ethanol induced gastric mucosal injury in the rat. Gut. 1995 May;36(5):664–9.
48. JonesNL. et al. Capsaicin as an inhibitor of the growth of the gastric pathogen Helicobacter pylori. FEMS Microbiol Lett. 1997 Jan 15;146(2):223–7.
49. MozsikG. et al. Four response stages of capsaicin-sensitive primary afferent neurons to capsaicin and its analog: gastric acid secretion, gastric mucosal damage and protection. J Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2001 Oct;16(10):1093–7.
50. ErinN. et al. Capsaicin-induced inactivation of sensory neurons promotes a more aggressive gene expression phenotype in breast cancer cells. Breast Cancer Res Treat. 2006 Oct;99(3):351–64.
51. SurhYJ. et al. Capsaicin, a double-edged sword: toxicity, metabolism, and chemopreventive potential. Life Sci. 1995;56(22):1845–55.
52. CruzL. et al. Ingestion of chilli pepper (Capsicum annuum) reduces salicylate bioavailability after oral asprin administration in the rat. Can J Physiol Pharmacol. 1999 Jun;77(6):441–6.
53. FazekasB. et al. Aflatoxin and ochratoxin A content of spices in Hungary. Food Addit Contam. 2005 Sep;22(9):856–63.
54. VrabchevaTM. [Mycotoxins in spices] Vopr Pitan. 2000;69(6):40–3.
Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

Arbor Clinical Nutrition Updates
  • ISSN: -
  • EISSN: 1446-5450
  • URL: /core/journals/arbor-clinical-nutrition-updates
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *


Abstract views

Total abstract views: 136 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between September 2016 - 19th October 2017. This data will be updated every 24 hours.