Capsicum annuum is a species of the plant genus Capsicum native to southernNorth America and northern South America.
It is employed in medicine, in combination with Cinchona in intermittent and lethargic affections, and also in atonic gout,dyspepsia accompanied by flatulence, tympanitis, paralysis etc. Its most valuable application appears however to be in cynanche maligna (acute diphtheria) and scarlatina maligna (malignant Scarlet fever, used either as a gargle or administered internally.)
Anti-inflammatory properties: The phytochemical constituents of capsicum are shown to produce an anti inflammatory response that proves to alleviate peripheral neurogenic pain such as related to Crohn’s disease, an inflammatory disease of the bowel. Another example of peripheral neurogenic inflammation is cutaneous pain of the skin. Capsicum creams and balms are often massaged topically onto the skin with care taken to avoid open areas and mucous membranes. The burning effect of capsicum is felt when applied to the skin. This is caused by an inflammatory response of the peripheral nerve endings, but regular application deadens the sensory nerve endings which relieve chronic diabetic neurogenic pain. Some suggest that the anti inflammatory effect of capsicum may also help to alleviate pain related to arthritis. Capsicum cream may be utilized as an option for treating this malady and many others.
Cardiovascular: Studies of flavonoids have suggested that they are beneficial towards preventing coronary heart disease. Capsicum is both warming and vasodilative. a suggested effect of the vasodilative properties of capsicum is the improvement of hypotension and decreased heart rate.Vasodilatation allows for improved blood flow resulting in better oxygenation of organ tissues. This is most likely due to the tachynikins, a known bioactive ingredient in capsicum.
Antioxidant properties: Many of the bioactive compounds of capsicum provide antioxidant effects. Improved vasodilatation allows for these antioxidant phyto chemicals to circulate through regions of the body that may already been effected as well as healthy tissue. This allows capsicum to have a beneficial effect in repairing tissue protein’s and possibly even DNA.4 As well, the healthy tissue receives protection from the antioxidant effect of the capsicum chili pepper.
Chemopreventive properties: Another bioactive effect of tannin contained in capsicum molecule is in the prevention and treatment of cancer. Studies on capsicum have shown that is has a inhibitory effect on many types of malignant cancer that is well documented. These anti tumor properties are most beneficial to treating pulmonary, hepatic, and gastric cancers. The anti oxidative effects of capsicum are showing a possibility of treatment for other types of cancer, such as certain hormone related prostate cancers.
The anti-cancer effect of capsicum is determined by the bioactive ability of this phyto chemical to inhibit cancerous cell growth and also causes destruction of already damaged cellular structure in the human body.
Medicinal lotions and creams that contain capsicum extract are LIKELY SAFE for most adults when applied to the skin. The active chemical in capsicum, capsaicin, is approved by the FDA as an over-the-counter product. That is, it can be sold without a prescription.
Side effects can include skin irritation, burning, and itching. Capsicum can also be extremely irritating to the eyes, nose, and throat. Don’t use capsicum on sensitive skin or around the eyes.
Capsicum extract is LIKELY SAFE for most adults when taken by mouth, short-term and in amounts typically found in food. Side effects can include stomach irritation and upset, sweating, flushing, and runny nose. It is POSSIBLY UNSAFE to take capsicum by mouth in large doses or for long periods of time. In rare cases, this can lead to more serious side effects like liver or kidney damage.
Capsicum extract is POSSIBLY SAFE when used in the nose. No serious side effects have been reported, but application in the nose can be very painful. Nasal application can cause burning pain, sneezing, watery eyes, and runny nose. These side effects tend to decrease and go away after 5 or more days of repeated use.
Special Precautions & Warnings:
Pregnancy and breast-feeding: Capsicum is LIKELY SAFE when applied to the skin during pregnancy. But not enough is known about its safety when taken by mouth. Stay on the safe side and don’t use capsicum if you are pregnant.
If you are breast-feeding, using capsicum on your skin is LIKELY SAFE. But it is POSSIBLY UNSAFE for your baby if you take capsicum by mouth. Skin problems (dermatitis) have been reported in breast-fed infants when mothers eat foods heavily spiced with capsicum peppers.
Children: Applying capsicum to the skin of children under two years of age isPOSSIBLY UNSAFE. Not enough is known about the safety of giving capsicum to children by mouth. Don’t do it.
Damaged or broken skin: Don’t use capsicum on damaged or broken skin.
Surgery: Capsicum might increase bleeding during and after surgery. Stop using capsicum at least 2 weeks before a scheduled surgery.
- Cocaine interacts with CAPSICUM
Cocaine has many dangerous side effects. Using capsicum along with cocaine might increase the side effects of cocaine including heart attack and death.
- Medications that slow blood clotting (Anticoagulant / Antiplatelet drugs) interacts with CAPSICUM
Capsicum might slow blood clotting. Taking capsicum along with medications that also slow clotting might increase the chances of bruising and bleeding.
Some medications that slow blood clotting include aspirin, clopidogrel (Plavix), diclofenac (Voltaren, Cataflam, others), ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin, others), naproxen (Anaprox, Naprosyn, others), dalteparin (Fragmin), enoxaparin (Lovenox), heparin, warfarin (Coumadin), and others.
- Theophylline interacts with CAPSICUM
Capsicum can increase how much theophylline the body can absorb. Taking capsicum along with theophylline might increase the effects and side effects of theophylline.
Medications for high blood pressure (ACE inhibitors) interacts with CAPSICUM
Some medications for high blood pressure might cause a cough. There is one report of someone whose cough worsened when using a cream with capsicum along with these medications for high blood pressure. But is it not clear if this interaction is a big concern.
Some medications for high blood pressure include captopril (Capoten), enalapril (Vasotec), lisinopril (Prinivil, Zestril), ramipril (Altace), and others.
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Source: WebMD, http://www.webmd.com/vitamins-supplements/ingredientmono-945-capsicum.aspx?activeingredientid=945&activeingredientname=capsicum