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Chili Peppers Essay

1264 words - 5 pages

Sometimes the things that irritate the body can be the most helpful to it. At least, this is the case for the active component of chili peppers. An irritant for many animals, including humans, the component capsaicin causes the peppers to taste “hot” (Mason, 2004). This aspect of the chili pepper causes the neurons to be excited and increases the sensitivity, which causes itchiness and burning sensations (Mason, 2004). These sensations are the defense mechanisms by chili peppers to protect it from being eaten by other species. So how could something that creates an instant negative response in the body be good for it? When extracted and used in a unique method, the capsaicin that creates a burning sensation can actually bring a better sensation. Capsaicin can be used for medical purposes. Three studies show that capsaicin can be used to treat chronic pain, restore cardiac autonomic functions, and maintain modest body-weight loss. However, there is also a deeper effect of these studies that meet the eye.
In a study by Lorna Mason, R. Andrew Moore, Sheena Derry, Jayne E. Edwards, and Henry J. McQuay, the results showed that while the results were not the most effective, topical capsaicin can be used for those who do not respond to other treatments. To reach this conclusion, the following method was used. Registered brand names of capsaicin and capsicum were used to create the topical treatment. Random adults who suffered chronic pain from either neuropathic conditions such as diabetic neuropathic or postherpetic neuralgia, or musculoskeletal disorders such as arthritis and back pain, were given this treatment. The treatment was .075% capsaicin for neuropathic condition participants and .025% capsaicin for musculoskeletal condition participants. The cream had to be applied three to four times daily, with some of them having the placebo treatment. The capsaicin treatment was considerably more successful than the placebo for both sections of participants. Side effects were seen in 54% of the patients using capsaicin. One version of this study was done before but this study gave a lower effective level than the previous study. This study is difficult to have a double blind study because there is a stinging feeling when the topical treatment is applied. The result was that for every six neuropathic patients, one patient would benefit from the treatment. For every eight musculoskeletal patients, one person would benefit. Capsaicin is a great last hope for those patients who have gone through years of pain and will go through years of more. Although the pain may not be completely subsided, the little amount of help is still more of what these patients want. In addition, a major plus side to capsaicin is that it is an over-the-counter treatment for the topical treatment. In conclusion, while there are other more effective treatments for chronic pain, for those whom nothing else works it is the best method, as “even a small reduction in pain can be...

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