Arthritis is a condition that mainly affects the joints.
Arthritis literally means “inflammation”, which is body's natural response to injury or tissue destruction. This process leads to swelling, pain, redness, and stiffness in the joints in case of arthritis.
Arthritis can affect any joint of the body. There are various types of arthritis each of which differs in the mechanism by which it affects the joints.
Two most common types of arthritis are rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis. Managing arthritis can be tiring as it involves taking various painkiller medications and applying ointments for joint pain relief.
People with arthritis not only need medicines but can also benefit from various non-medical therapies like diet modification, weight loss, physiotherapy, hot or cold therapies, aromatherapy etc .
Numerous dietary supplements are studied to identify their benefits in arthritis. One such supplement is cayenne pepper essential oil. Let us go through the benefits of cayenne pepper in arthritis after discussing some basic information about it.
What is Cayenne Pepper Essential Oil?
Cayenne pepper essential oil is a concentrated oil obtained from the condiment cayenne pepper. It belongs to the same family of bell pepper and jalapeño.
Cayenne pepper was originally cultivated in America and now it is grown throughout the world.
It is believed that cayenne pepper has been cultivated and used since 7000 B.C. In olden days, it was used for improving digestion, frostbite, throat infections, and muscle pain relief .
The active ingredient in this spice is ‘capsaicin’ . Capsaicin is responsible for the spicy, pungent taste of cayenne pepper.
A growing amount of research presents the powerful analgesic properties of capsaicin for which it has been used for centuries.
It now finds use in various health conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, diabetic neuropathy pain, cancer pain, herpes etc.
Benefits of Cayenne Pepper Oil in Arthritis
Benefits of cayenne pepper essential oil in arthritis are due to the active ingredient in this oil called capsaicin. Numerous research studies have proven that capsaicin can reduce arthritis pain. It reduces inflammation which is the major reason for pain. Antioxidant effect of cayenne also makes it a good choice in arthritis as there is a great need for antioxidants in arthritis. Anti-obesity is another prominent effect that can be promising in arthritis.
1. Cayenne Pepper is Excellent for Pain Relief in Arthritis
Cayenne Pepper essential oil contains capsaicin which exerts a potent analgesic effect. When applied to the skin it leads to short-term pain relief in arthritis patients.
Capsaicin interferes with the pain chemicals that transmit pain signals to the brain which assists in alleviating pain.
Evaluation of numerous scientific studies which investigated the effect of cayenne pepper extract in arthritis proved that it has a moderate pain-relieving effect.
A trial conducted by David CN et.al. recruited 108 patients with joint pain and treated them with a dietary supplement that includes capsaicin. This resulted in a good reduction of joint pain.
Based on huge research data it can be said that cayenne pepper essential oil can be a great pain relief agent that can be applied to the ailing joints.
What does this mean? Cayenne pepper extract has strong evidence stating its benefits in arthritis by reducing pain. The active ingredient responsible for this effect is capsaicin.
2. It Helps in Weight Loss in Arthritis Patients
Obesity is a major risk factor for developing arthritis. Weight loss is crucial in the management of arthritis too.
Anti-obesity effects of capsaicin have been proven by various clinical trials.
This effect can be utilized to reduce weight in arthritis patients.
A trial involving 91 overweight subjects were randomly assigned with capsaicin or placebo and studies for 4 weeks.
This trial proved the anti-obesity effect of capsaicin when compared with placebo.
A diet including capsaicin has been proven to combat obesity by numerous animal studies too.
Capsaicin promotes weight loss by the following mechanisms:
- creating a feeling of fullness and suppressing hunger
- reducing the activity of enzymes that digest sugars and carbohydrates in the body
- preventing the accumulation of fat tissues
- increasing energy expenditure in the body by heat generation
Nevertheless, weight loss using cayenne pepper may require adherence to a fixed dose and ability to tolerate it which may be challenging.
What does this mean? Cayenne pepper extract can reduce weight which can be beneficial in managing arthritis. It works by increasing the energy expenditure in the body.
3. Antioxidant Effect of Capsaicin is Favourable in Arthritis
Arthritis patients have a deficiency in antioxidants which are necessary to fight the toxins in the body called free radicals. Antioxidant therapy can benefit arthritis patients by reducing these toxins.
The antioxidant property of capsaicin has been well established by various scientific studies.
This effect can be exploited to benefit arthritis patients.
The antioxidant effect of capsaicin can reduce the inflammation causing chemicals and reduce inflammation in arthritis.
Scientific data suggests that capsaicin is a potent antioxidant that can be employed in muscle and skeletal disorders to reduce pain and inflammation .
Animal studies have also confirmed the antioxidant benefits of capsaicin.
What does this mean? Cayenne pepper essential oil is a natural antioxidant which can decrease the level of toxins that cause tissue damage in arthritis. Capsaicin also replenishes reduced antioxidants in arthritis.
4. Cayenne Pepper Oil Can Control Inflammation
Cayenne pepper exerts anti-inflammatory action by interfering with chemicals that are responsible for inflammation.
This property of cayenne pepper can be utilized in many inflammatory conditions including arthritis.
Free radical (toxic chemicals that damage the cells) scavenging trait of capsaicin also imparts some anti-inflammatory effect.
The American College of Rheumatology advises the use of topical capsaicin along with oral drugs to provide better control of the inflammation in arthritis.
Anti-inflammatory properties of capsaicin have been established by various animal studies.
This effect is identified to be comparable to the drug diclofenac.
A laboratory study on human and animal isolated cells indicated that long-term use of capsaicin has anti-inflammatory effects which then leads to pain relief.
What does this mean? Inflammation is the main cause of pain in arthritis. Cayenne pepper can reduce this inflammation by interfering with the inflammation causing chemicals.
How to Take Cayenne Pepper Essential Oil (Capsaicin) – Dosage
Orally, take 30-120mg three times daily.
Look for the standardization as per the manufacturer and physician’s direction as the dose may vary accordingly.
Capsaicin is commercially available as 0.025%, 0.075%, and 0.1% creams. For topical application, various studies have suggested using 0.25%-0.75% of capsaicin creams. Apply to the painful areas three to four times per day.
In case of using cayenne pepper essential oil on the skin dilute it with a carrier oil as per the instruction by the manufacturer and gently massage to the area of pain
Oral intake of capsaicin may not be well tolerated by all patients as many are not acclimatized to a spicy diet. It can lead to gastric distress.
Doses of 45mg 3 times daily have also been shown to cause stomach discomforts. Therefore, special caution is advised before oral use.
Oral consumption of large dose (above 100mg per kg body weight) can cause peptic ulcers, kidney problems, and cancer .
Cayenne pepper may interact with blood coagulating drugs and therefore, when you are on regular medication it should not be taken without a physician’s advice.
Cayenne pepper oil cannot be used by patients with ulcers, diverticulitis or any other stomach conditions.
Contact with eyes and inhalation causes burning and it must be avoided. Upon initial application to the skin, it causes stinging and burning which subsides upon repeated use.
Side effects of the application of capsaicin to the skin are erythema, burning, stinging and itching. Therefore, it is better to use gloves before application.
Cayenne pepper essential oil is obtained from a spice used for it pungency in various cuisines.
Apart from cooking is has a history of use for improving digestion, muscle pain, frostbite, etc.
Cayenne pepper has an active ingredient called capsaicin that has been extensively studied for its analgesic effect.
It is proven to reduce pain in arthritis. Capsaicin can be applied topically to the skin to attain this benefit.
Capsaicin also reduces inflammation in arthritis which further contributes to pain relief. The antioxidant property of cayenne makes it a good choice in arthritis patients to reduce the toxins in the body.
Cayenne pepper oil can also aid in weight loss and benefit arthritis patients.
Cayenne pepper has quite great beneficial effects for arthritis. However, consumption of cayenne orally poses a challenge as it may cause ulcers in patients without exposure to spicy food.