Chilli Immolation?

Sanjay Manohar, 2010

“A chilli,” said Rebecca, gasping, “Oh, yes!” She thought a chilli was something cool, as its name imported, and was served with some. “How fresh and green they look,” she said, and put one into her mouth. It was hotter than the curry; flesh and blood could bear it no longer. She laid down her fork. “Water, for Heaven's sake, water!” she cried.
Vanity Fair , W. M. Thackeray
Active ingredient up to 1% capsaicin
Other names 8-methyl-N-vanillyl-6-nonenamide, N-(3-methoxy-4-hydroxybenzyl)-8-methylnontrans-6-enamide
Normal dose in India 3g/day


I entered "red chilli" into a literature search, and read the abstracts of the top 25 papers. Additionally I searched for "chilli AND gastritis" and read 25 further abstracts. Relevant findings were summarised, and are presented below.




  • Eating of large amounts of capsaicin causes damage to the inner lining of the stomach 32. Chilli slows the time it takes for food to leave the stomach, but speeds the time it takes for food to leave the body at the other end 1,9.
  • Infusing red chilli powder into the stomach via a tube causes rapid and marked loss of the lining cells of the human stomach 4, 10.
  • In healthy volunteers, infusion of 1.5g red and black pepper into the stomach both led to small amounts of internal bleeding into the stomach, comparable to that caused by aspirin 10.
  • Large doses of chilli without eating other food causes increased stomach acid production 31.
  • Chilli powder itself contains small amounts of aspirin 16.
  • Ulcer patients ingest fewer chillis than healthy people without ulcers (less than half as much chilli!), suggesting chilli is protective against peptic ulcers 3
  • Healthy people had endoscopy to examine the stomach before and after eating 20g red chilli powder - there was no difference (whereas after taking aspirin, there was visible bleeding) 8.
  • Duodenal ulcer patients fed chilli don't heal any slower 6.
  • Capsaicin selectively prevents the growth of H. pylori: this bacterium is associated with stomach and duodenal ulcers and three types stomach cancer 13
  • Rats who are given aspirin develop stomach problems; if they are given capsaicin before the aspirin, these problems are ameliorated.
  • In rats, immediate and long-term capsaicin (given under the skin or orally) decreases stomach damage caused by drinking alcohol. This may be because it increases mucus production. 15
  • 18 healthy human volunteers took a single dose of 600mg aspirin, once with and once without drinking 20g chilli 1hr before. Chilli decreases the severity of acute aspirin-induced injury to the lining of the stomach and duodenum 26
  • A cancer-causing chemical (demethylhydrazine) was given to rats. Adding red chilli to food pellets for 32 wks increased the rate of colon cancer, whereas black pepper and cumin suppressed it. This may be due to chilli preventing bile acid secretion. 11
  • In a study with 8 rats, a diet of 10% chilli pepper was associated with liver cancer.
  • In a Mexican study of 220 patients, chilli pepper consumers have a 5 to 6 times more likely to have stomach cancer. However there was no evidence that the actual quantity of chilli correlates with risk.22
  • Duodenal cancer was increased by 10% in rats who were given 1% chilli in their diet for 35 days. 20 Coconut can reduce this effect. 19
  • In the test-tube, capsaicin increases mutations in human white blood cells.
  • In a small study, mice were given capsaicin in the diet for 16 months. They had a reduced appetite, and Their tumour rates were generally lower, particularly liver cancer 12.
  • "There are contradictory data on the mutagenicity of capsaicin". Capsaicin may alter the way cancer-causing chemicals (carcinogens) are broken down, providing a rationale for “chemoprevention” of cancer using capsaicin 21.
  • Capsaicin inhibits liver enzymes; these enzymes (cytochromes) may increase the cancer-causing properties of certain chemicals like vinyl carbamate, aflatoxin, several nitrosamines and benzopyrine 23
  • After anal fissure surgery, eating chilli worsens pain and burning. 18.
  • Chilli powder contains aspirin 16.
  • It improves rectal pain threshold in healthy volunteers, but not in irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), where the pain threshold is generally lower 9.
  • Post-mortems after 4-weeks of high-dose capsicum diet in mice showed mild abnormalities in liver cells 5.
  • Ingestion of large amounts of capsaicin can cause death of liver cells (hepatic necrosis) 32.
  • Capsaicin ameliorates liver damage caused by carbon tetrachloride in rats.
  • Capsaicin decreases the absorption of several nutrients in the jejunum 16.
  • Chilli powder has moderate-to-strong antioxidant properties. This may help reduce cancer-causing effects of certain chemicals 7.


  • “Whether spices are detrimental, beneficial (e.g., inducing an adaptive cytoprotective response), or have no significant long-term effect on the gastric mucosa is unknown10
  • For an excellent but extensive review of the relationship between capsaicin and gastric ulcers, see ref 30.
  • Evidence seems split as to whether chilli causes or prevents cancer; it probably does both – with different effects on different organs.
  • Chilli can both relieve pain and cause pain – depending on the context!
Make up your own mind from the evidence!


1 Journal of Gastroenterology and Hepatology Volume 7 Issue 1, Pages 52 - 56
The effect of chilli on gastrointestinal transit
1 Department of Medicine, Royal Adelaide Hospital, Adelaide, South Australia, Australia Correspondence to b Assoc. Prof. M. Horowitz, Department of Medicine, Royal Adelaide Hospital, North Terrace, Adelaide, SA 5000, Australia. Copyright 1992 The Official Publication of the Asian Pacific Association for the Study of the Liver and the Asian Pacific Association of Gastroenterology KEYWORDS chilli gastrointestinal transit. ABSTRACT Abstract REFERENCES
The effects of chilli on gastrointestinal transit (gastric emptying, orocaecal transit, whole gut transit) were evaluated in eight healthy volunteers. In each subject, gastrointestinal transit of a standard test meal was measured on two separate days. On one of these occasions, 20 g of chilli powder was added to the meal. Gastric emptyingwas quantified with a radioisotopic technique, orocaecal transit by measurement of breath hydrogen concentrations and whole gut transit by counting the number of radio-opaque markers in the stool. The rate of gastric emptying was slower (P < 0.05) and whole gut transit was faster (P < 0.02) after the meal containing chilli, compared with the other meal. There was no significant difference in orocaecal transit. These results show that ingestion of chilli is associated with significant effects on gastric emptying and intestinal transit.
2 Journal of Physiology-Paris Volume 93, Issue 5, November 1999, Pages 455-460
Capsaicin increases gastric emptying rate in healthy human subjects measured by 13C-labeled octanoic acid breath test
Andras Debrecenia, Omar M. E. Abdel-Salama, Maria Figlera, Istvan Juricskaya, Janos Szolcsanyib and Gyula MozsikCorresponding Author Contact Information, a a First Department of Medicine, University Medical School of Pecs, Pecs, Hungary b Department of Pharmacology and Pharmacotherapy, University Medical School of Pecs, Pecs, Hungary Abstract
The role of capsaicin-sensitive primary afferent sensory nerves in the regulation of gastrointestinal motility in human is not clarified yet. In this study, we investigated the effect of 400 ug capsaicin given intragastrically on gastric emptying measured by 13C-octanoic acid breath test in ten healthy human subjects. Four parameters of gastric emptying curves were taken into consideration: 1) maximum value of the curve, 2) time belonging to this maximum, 3) slope of the rising part of the curve and 4) time belonging to the 50% of the area under the curve. Administration of 400 ug capsaicin significantly increased the slope of gastric emptying curve (from 0.1 +/- 0.01 to 0.139 +/- 0.014 U.min-1, P < 0.05) and significantly decreased the time belonging to the maximum value of emptying curve (from 150 +/- 18 to 75 +/- 12 min, P < 0.05) and the time belonging to the 50% of the area under the curve (from 112 +/- 15 to 99 +/- 14 min, P < 0.05). According to our results 400 ug capsaicin enhances gastric emptying rate in healthy human subjects.
3 Digestive Diseases and Sciences Volume 40, Number 3 / March, 1995
J. Y. Kang1 Contact Information, K. G. Yeoh1, H. P. Chia1, H. P. Lee1, Y. W. Chia1, R. Guan1 and I. Yap1 (1) From the Division of Gastroenterology, Department of Medicine, Department of Community, Occupational and Family Medicine, and Department of Surgery, National University of Singapore, Singapore Received: 23 March 1994 Revised: 3 October 1994 Accepted: 3 October 1994
Abstract The aim of the present study was to determine the frequency and amount of chili taken by peptic ulcer patients and control subjects. One hundred three Chinese patients with peptic ulcer and 87 control patients were interviewed using a standard questionnaire. Those subjects who deliberately avoided chili use because of symptoms or advice from friends or medical practitioners were excluded. The median number of times of chili use per month was eight in the ulcer group (25-75% quartiles 1-30) compared to 24 (8-56) in the control group (P<0.001). The median amount of chili used per month was 312 units (25-75% quartiles 38-899) in the ulcer group compared to 834 units (274-1892) in the control group (P<0.001). The odds ratio of having peptic ulcer disease, adjusted for age, sex, analgesic use, and smoking by multiple logistic regression, was 0.47 (95% confidence intervals: 0.25-0.89) for subjects who had a higher intake of chili both in terms of frequency as well as amount used compared to those who took less chili. Our data support the hypothesis that chili use has a protective effect against peptic ulcer disease.
4 Gut 1973;14:974-976 doi:10.1136/gut.14.12.974
Effect of red chilli powder on DNA content of gastric aspirates
1. H. G. Desai, 2. K. Venugopalan, 3. F. P. Antia Abstract
The intragastric infusion of red chilli powder in dosage of 1.6 and 0.8 g/hr caused a marked increase in the DNA content of the gastric aspirate compared with basal values for DNA. This observation suggests a rapid and marked exfoliation of gastric surface epithelial cells in human subjects given red chilli powder.
5 Food and Chemical Toxicology Volume 30, Issue 9, September 1992, Pages 783-787 doi:10.1016/0278-6915(92)90080-5 | How to Cite or Link Using DOI
A 4-week feeding study of ground red chilli (Capsicum annuum) in male B6C3F1 mice
J.-J. JangCorresponding Author Contact Information , D.E. Devor, D.L. Logsdon and J.M. Ward Tumor Pathology and Pathogenesis Section, Laboratory of Comparative Carcinogenesis, National Cancer Institute Frederick, MD 21702-1201, USA PRI/DynCorp, NCI-FCRDC, Frederick, MD 21702-1201, USA Abstract
The toxicity of red chilli was examined in male B6C3F1 mice fed a commercial meal diet mixed with ground Capsicum annuum (Linn.) at levels of 0.5, 1.0, 2.5, 5.0, 7.5 and 10% by weight. Mice were offered control or test diets ad lib. starting at 6 wk of age. Food consumption was measured daily and individual body weights recorded weekly for the 4-wk feeding period. General health, body weight and food intake were apparently not adversely affected at any level of pepper consumption. Histopathological evaluation revealed slight glycogen depletion and anisocytosis of hepatocytes in the 10% group. However, other organs did not reveal any lesions attributable to the chilli exposure. It appears that red chilli is relatively non-toxic at the doses tested in male B6C3F1 mice.
6 Br Med J (Clin Res Ed) 1984;288:1803-1804 (16 June), doi:10.1136/bmj.288.6433.1803 50 DU patients randomised to normal diet or 3g red chilli powder/d, 4 weeks. All received antacid 6 times/d. No effect on healing.
7 Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture Volume 79 Issue 12, Pages 1733 - 1736
Pro- or antioxygenic activity of tejpat (Cinnamomum tamala) and red chilli (Capsicum annum) in sunflower oil
A D Semwal, G K Sharma, S S Arya * Defence Food Research Laboratory, Mysore-570011, India *Correspondence to S S Arya, Defence Food Research Laboratory, Mysore 570011, India Keywords tejpat; red chilli; anti- or pro-oxygenic acivity; sunflower oil; chlorophyll; capsaicin; dihydrocapsaicin
Abstract The pro- or antioxygenic activity of tejpat and red chilli, their fractions extracted using various solvents, and of chlorophyll, capsaicin and dihydrocapsaicin were determined in refined sunflower oil at 37 deg C. Tejpat and its fractions containing chlorophyll showed pro-oxygenic activity and the catalytic action increased with increase in concentration of chlorophyll in the fractions. On the other hand, fractions which did not contain chlorophyll, such as the aqueous extract, and chlorophyll-free spice or fractions freed of chlorophyll by column chromatography were devoid of pro-oxygenic activity. The ground red chilli and its 80:20 (v/v) ethanol/water fraction exhibited strong antioxygenic activity. On the other hand, the petroleum ether fraction showed marginal antioxygenic activity, whereas the water-soluble fraction was practically devoid of any activity in refined sunflower oil. The pungent constituents of red chilli, capsaicin and dihydrocapsaicin also exhibited considerable antioxygenic activity.
8 Journal of Gastroenterology and Hepatology Volume 3 Issue 6, Pages 573 - 576
Chilli ingestion does not lead to macroscopic gastroduodenal mucosal damage in healthy subjects*
J. Y. KANG 1 , 3 , I. YAP , R. GUAN 1 T. C. LIM 1 Division of Gastroenterology, Department of Medicine, National University Hospital, and 2Department of Medicine III, Singapore General Hospital, Singapore 3 Correspondence: Assoc. Prof. J. Y. Kang, Division of Gastroenterology, Department of Medicine, National University Hospital, Singapore 0511. *Part of this study was presented at the autumn scientific meeting of the British Society of Gastroenterology, September 1986. Copyright 1988 The Official Publication of the Asian Pacific Association for the Study of the Liver and the Asian Pacific Association of Gastroenterology KEYWORDS aspirin, capsicum, duodenitis, gastritis. ABSTRACT
Thirty-eight healthy subjects who had normal index endoscopies were re-endoscoped following ingestion of 20 g of chilli powder with 400 ml of water, 600 mg aspirin BP with 400 ml of water or 400 ml of water only. There were good correlations between endoscopic scores given by two endoscopists who independently recorded their findings, as well as with scores given by a third observer viewing photographs taken at endoscopy. There were statistically significant differences between the aspirin group and the other two groups but not between the chilli and the control groups. Chilli ingestion, therefore, does not lead to macroscopic gastroduodenal mucosal damage.
9 Effect of red chillies on small bowel and colonic transit and rectal sensitivity in men with irritable bowel syndrome.
Author: Agarwal, M K : Bhatia, S J : Desai, S A : Bhure, U : Melgiri, S Citation: Indian-J-Gastroenterol. 2002 Sep-Oct; 21(5): 179-82
Abstract: BACKGROUND: Altered motility and threshold for pain have been incriminated in the pathogenesis of the irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Capsaicin affects visceral sensory perception and chillies, which contain capsaicin, have been shown to accelerate gut transit. AIMS: To evaluate the effect of red chillies on small bowel transit (SBT) and colonic transit (CT) and rectal sensitivity in normal men and men with IBS. METHODS: Twenty-nine men with IBS diagnosed using Manning's criteria, and 21 healthy men, were studied before and after ingestion of 10 g red chilli powder (capsaicin equivalent 14 mg). SBT time was measured as the time taken for 99mTc-sulfur colloid to reach the cecum after leaving the stomach. Total and segmental CT times were assessed using radio-opaque markers. Rectal sensitivity and pain threshold to intrarectal balloon distension were measured. RESULTS: The median (range) bowel frequency in patients and healthy men was 2 (1-6) and 1 (1-3) per day (p=0.03), respectively. After ingestion of chillies, it increased to 3 (1-8) per day and 2 (1-4) per day (p=0.01), respectively. There was no difference in transit times between patients and healthy men; chilli ingestion did not alter SBT time, total or segmental CT time. IBS patients had a lower threshold to balloon distension for both discomfort and pain in the basal state (pless than 0.01). Chillies increased this threshold in healthy men (pless than 0.01). CONCLUSIONS: Men with IBS do not have SBT or CT abnormalities, but have a lower rectal balloon sensitivity threshold. Chilli powder does not alter either SBT or CT in men with IBS or healthy men; however, it increases the rectal threshold for pain in the latter.
10 The American Journal of Gastroenterology Volume 82 Issue 3, Pages 211 - 214
Effect of Red Pepper and Black Pepper on the Stomach
Brent M. Myers, M.D. 1 , J. Lacey Smith, M.D., F.A.C.G. 1 David Y. Graham, M.D., F.A.C.G. 1 1 Digestive Disease Section, Veterans Administration Medical Center and Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, Texas Correspondence to Reprint requests: David Y. Graham, M.D., VA Medical Center, Building 1, Room 612 (11 ID), 2002 Holcombe Boulevard, Houston, TX 77211. Copyright 1987 by Am. Coll. of Gastroenterology
ABSTRACT Spices have long been implicated as a cause of gastric mucosal injury. We assessed the effects of red and black pepper on the gastric mucosa using double-blind intragastric administration of test meals containing red pepper (0.1-1.5 g) or black pepper (1.5 g) to healthy human volunteers; aspirin (655 mg) and distilled water were used as positive and negative controls, respectively. Serial gastric washes were performed after test meal administration and gastric contents were analyzed for DNA, pepsin, blood, sodium, potassium, parietal cell secretion, and nonparietal cell secretion. Both red pepper and black pepper caused significant increases in parietal secretion, pepsin secretion, and potassium loss. Gastric cell exfoliation (as reflected in DNA loss into gastric contents) was increased after red or black pepper administration; the increase after red pepper administration was dose dependent. Mucosal microbleeding was seen after spice administration and one subject had grossly visible gastric bleeding after both red pepper and black pepper administration. There were no significant differences from control between the test meals, in nonparietal volume, fractional recovery of the gastric secretions, or sodium secretion. Finally, no spice was significantly different from aspirin in any parameter studied; indeed, aspirin was comparable to the higher doses of pepper. The long-term result of daily pepper ingestion is unknown. Whether spices are detrimental, beneficial (e.g., inducing an adaptive cytoprotective response), or have no significant long-term effect on the gastric mucosa is unknown and deserves further study.
11 Journal of Medicinal Food
Effect of Spices on Lipid Metabolism in 1,2-Dimethylhydrazine-Induced Rat Colon Carcinogenesis
To cite this article: N. Nalini, V. Manju, V.P. Menon. Journal of Medicinal Food. Summer 2006, 9(2): 237-245. doi:10.1089/jmf.2006.9.237. Published in Volume: 9 Issue 2: July 5, 2006 Full Text: PDF for printing (981.4 KB) PDF w/ links (309 KB) Dr. N. Nalini Department of Biochemistry, Annamalai University, Annamalainagar, Tamilnadu, India. V. Manju Department of Biochemistry, Annamalai University, Annamalainagar, Tamilnadu, India. V.P. Menon Department of Biochemistry, Annamalai University, Annamalainagar, Tamilnadu, India.
Colon cancer is the second most common cancer among men and women worldwide. We investigated the effect of red chilli (Capsicum annum L.), cumin (Cuminum cyminum L.), and black pepper (Piper nigrum L.) on colon cancer induced in rats by a colon-specific carcinogen, 1,2-dimethylhydrazine (DMH). Colon cancer was induced by subcutaneous injection of DMH at a dosage of 20 mg/kg of body weight (15 doses, at 1-week intervals). The rats were continued with the standard pellet diet and supplemented red chilli [C. annum L., 0.015% (wt/wt) mixed with the diet], cumin seeds [C. cyminum L., 1.25% (wt/wt) mixed with the diet], and black pepper (P. nigrum L., 0.5% (wt/wt) mixed with the diet] throughout the experimental period. After the total experimental period of 32 weeks (including 2 weeks of acclimatization) the incidence and number of tumors in the colon were observed to be significantly higher in the rats administered DMH and/or red chillis, as compared with the cumin + DMH and black pepper + DMH groups. No tumors were observed in the control, cumin + DMH, or black pepper + DMH groups. The levels of fecal bile acids and neutral sterols in 24-hour fecal samples were significantly decreased in DMH + chilli-administered rats, while the excretion of fecal bile acids and neutral sterols was significantly increased in cumin + DMH- and black pepper + DMH-administered rats. In DMH-, chilli-, and chilli + DMH-administered rats the levels of cholesterol, cholesterol/phospholipid ratio, and 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl-CoA reductase activity were decreased in cumin + DMH- and black pepper + DMH-treated rats. The phospholipid levels were reduced in the DMH, chilli, and chilli + DMH groups as compared with the cumin + DMH and black pepper + DMH groups. Our results show that chilli supplementation promotes colon carcinogenesis, whereas cumin or black pepper suppresses colon carcinogensis in the presence of the procarcinogen DMH.
12 Food and Chemical Toxicology Volume 36, Issue 12, December 1998, Pages 1065-1071 doi:10.1016/S0278-6915(98)00077-5 | How to Cite or Link Using DOI
Non-carcinogenicity of Capsaicinoids in B6C3F1 Mice
A. Akagi, N. Sano, H. Uehara, T. Minami, H. Otsuka and K. Izumi* Second Department of Pathology, The University of Tokushima School of Medicine,3-18-15 Kuramoto-cho, Tokushima 770, Japan
Abstract The carcinogenicity of a mixture of capsaicinoids (64.5% capsaicin and 32.6% dihydrocapsaicin) was examined in B6C3F1 mice. In a 13-week toxicity study, renal toxicity was observed in 1% capsaicinoid-treated males. Next, groups of 50 mice of each sex were given 0, 0.025, 0.083 or 0.25% capsaicinoids in powdered diet for 79 weeks and killed in week 83. Food intake was reduced in mice of all capsaicinoid-treated groups, especially females, because of the pungency of capsaicinoids, and inhibition of body weight gain was apparent in females. The numbers of tumour-bearing females in the high-dose groups were significantly lower than that in the controls, and the incidences of hepatocellular neoplasms in both sexes were negatively correlated with the dose of capsaicinoids (Cochran-Armitage trend test). Renal cell adenomas developed in one mouse each of 0.025 and 0.25% capsaicinoid-treated males. The incidences of other tumours were similar in the treated and control groups. Thus, the present study indicated that a mixture of capsaicinoids is not carcinogenic in B6C3F1 mice.
13 FEMS Microbiology Letters Volume 146 Issue 2, Pages 223 - 227
Capsaicin as an inhibitor of the growth of the gastric pathogen Helicobacter pylori
Nicola L Jones a , Souheil Shabib b , Philip M Sherman a, * a Division of Gastroenterology and Nutrition, Research Institute, The Hospital for Sick Children Departments of Pediatrics and Microbiology, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ont. M5G 1X8, Canada b Department of Pediatrics, King Faisal Specialist Hospital and Research Centre, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia *Corresponding author. Tel.: +1 (416) 813 6185; fax: +1 (416) 813 6531; e-mail: Copyright 1997 Federation of European Microbiological Societies KEYWORDS Helicobacter pylori Capsaicin Antimicrobial agent Growth inhibition ABSTRACT
Capsaicin, the active ingredient in chili, has been implicated as both a cytoprotective and a detrimental agent to the gastric mucosa. The effect of capsaicin on Helicobacter pylori has not been investigated previously. Therefore, we performed in vitro time- and concentration-dependent studies to examine the growth of H. pylori in the presence of capsaicin. Capsaicin specifically inhibited growth of H. pylori dose-dependently at concentrations greater than 10 ug ml-1 ( P<0.05 ) but did not inhibit the growth of a human fecal commensal Escherichia coli strain. Bactericidal activity was observed within 4 h. Capsaicin continued to exhibit bactericidal activity when incubated at pH values as low as 5.4. Ingestion of chili, therefore, could have a protective effect against H. pylori-associated gastroduodenal disease. This effect deserves further study in animal models.
14 Holzer, et al.
Intragastric capsaicin protects against aspirin-induced lesion formation and bleeding in the rat gastric mucosa
Gastroenterology Volume 96, 1989. Pages: 1425
15 Gut 1995;36:664-669 doi:10.1136/gut.36.5.664
Effect of capsaicin and chilli on ethanol induced gastric mucosal injury in the rat.
1. J Y Kang, 2. C H Teng, 3. A Wee, 4. F C Chen Department of Medicine, National University of Singapore.
Abstract Capsaicin, the pungent ingredient of chilli, is gastroprotective against experimental gastric injury when given intragastrically. Epidemiological and clinical data suggest that chilli ingestion may have a beneficial effect on human peptic ulcer disease. This study showed a gastroprotective effect of intragastric capsaicin, in doses of 2 and 5 mg, on ethanol induced gastric mucosal injury using macroscopic, histological, scanning electron microscopic, and biochemical indices. Subcutaneous administration of 2 mg of capsaicin had the same gastroprotective effect as intragastric administration. Acute intragastric administration and chronic ingestion of chilli powder in doses comparable with that consumed in humans (up to 200 mg in single doses or 200 mg daily for four weeks) likewise protected the gastric mucosa. Both the mucosa and gastric juice had higher mucus contents when capsaicin or chilli rather than saline or solvent was used before ethanol challenge. In control animals capsaicin also increased gastric juice mucus content although the mucosal content was unaffected. Increased gastric mucus production may therefore be one mechanism by which capsaicin and chilli exert their gastroprotective effect although an alternative explanation is that the reduction in mucosal mucus depletion is secondary to the protective effect of capsaicin and chilli.
16 Inhibitory effect of capsaicin on intestinal glucose absorption in vitro
Food and Cosmetics Toxicology Volume 16, Issue 5, October 1978, Pages 469-473
Y. Monsereenusorna and T. Glinsukona aDepartment of Physiology, Faculty of Science, Mahidol University, Rama VI Rd, Bangkok 4, Thailand Revised 27 February 1978. Available online 27 March 2008.
Abstract The effects of capsaicin and a crude extract of Capsicum on intestinal glucose absorption have been studied in vitro. Glucose absorption in the rat jejunum was slightly stimulated by capsaicin in a concentration of 70 mg/100 ml but was inhibited by concentrations of 14.0 or 21.0 mg/100 ml, in 30-min incubations. Similar inhibitory effects on glucose absorption were demonstrated in the hamster jejunum and in intestinal preparations from either species treated with a crude extract of Capsicum in Krebs-Henseleit-HCO-3 buffer. However, addition of ATP (100 uM) to the mucosal side of a capsaicintreated preparation restored the level of glucose absorption to the control value. A reduction in the ATP content of the intestinal mucosa observed in the capsaicin-treated jejunum of both rats (by 17.1%) and hamsters (by 36.3%) offers a possible explanation for the inhibitory effect of capsaicin on glucose absorption. The results also suggest that higher concentrations of capsaicin may reduce the ATP content of the intestinal mucosa and thus inhibit intestinal glucose transport, partly by inhibiting the production of mitochondria) ATP.
17 Salicylic Acid Content of Spices and Its Implications
John R. Paterson, Rajeev Srivastava, Gwen J. Baxter,* Alan B. Graham, and James R. Lawrence Dumfries and Galloway Royal Infirmary, Dumfries DG14AP, Scotland, U.K., and University of Strathclyde, Glasgow G40NR, Scotland, U.K. J. Agric. Food Chem., 2006, 54 (8), pp 2891-2896 DOI: 10.1021/jf058158w Publication Date (Web): March 21, 2006 Copyright 2006 American Chemical Society
This work was done to determine the salicylate content of a variety of commonly used spices and to assess whether this potential dietary source of salicylate was bioavailable. Spices, Indian cooked dishes, and blood and urine samples taken after ingestion of a test meal were investigated for their salicylate content using high-performance liquid chromatography with electrochemical detection. The serum salicylic acid concentrations in samples from villagers in southern India were also measured and have been compared with typical European values. Salicylic acid was determined in all spices (up to 1.5 wt %) and cooked dishes. The salicylate content of blood and urine was shown to increase following consumption of the meal, indicating that this dietary source of salicylic acid was bioavailable. Salicylic acid levels in the serum from rural Indians were significantly (median almost 3-fold) higher than values previously measured in Western vegetarians. Chemoprotective aspirin is rapidly hydrolyzed to salicylic acid, and this phytochemical may contribute to the low cancer incidence in rural India.
18 Digestive Surgery Vol. 24, No. 5, 2007
Red Hot Chilli Consumption Is Harmful in Patients Operated for Anal Fissure - A Randomized, Double-Blind, Controlled Study
Pravin J. Gupta
Aims: This study was aimed to determine whether there was any relationship between consumption of chillies and postoperative symptoms after closed anal sphincterotomy in patients with chronic anal fissure. Materials and Methods: Patients were randomly assigned to receive analgesics and fiber supplement alone (control patients) or consumption of 1.5 g chilli powder twice daily along with identical fiber and analgesics (chilli group). The evaluation of symptoms (pain, anal burning, and pruritus) during the postoperative period was assessed by means of patients' self-questionnaires. The amount of analgesic tablets consumed and the frequency of stool during the study period were also noted. Results: 28 patients were recruited in each arm. Postoperative symptoms were higher in the group consuming chillies during the first postoperative week. The global scores for postoperative pain (7.60 in chilli group and 2.95 in control group, p < 0.001) and for anal burning (8.85 for the chilli group vs. 4.21 for the control group, p < 0.0001) were significant. Conclusion: This study shows that consumption of red chillies after anal fissure surgery should be forbidden to avoid postoperative symptoms.
19 Asia Pacific J Clin Nutr (1996) 5: 96-99
Effect of Cocos nucifera and red chilli on intestinal b-glucuronidase and mucinase activity in experimental colon cancer
N Nalini1 MSc, S Chitra1 MSc, K Sabitha1 MSc, P Viswanathan2 MD and Venugopal P Menon1 MSc PhD 1. Department of Biochemistry, Annamalai University, Annamalainagar 608 002, Tamil Nadu, India 2. Department of Pathology, Rajah Muthiah medical College,Annamalai University, India
Effect of Cocos nucifera and red chilli on intestinal B-glucuronidase and faecal mucinase activity, was studied in rats given 1 ,2-dimethylhydrazine (DMH) . The average weight gain by the animals given coconut kernel was more than the DMH and chilli treated groups. The activity of B-glucuronidase decreased in the kernel groups, in most of the tissues studied, as compared to the DMH and chilli treated groups. A similar pattern was observed in the case of mucinase. Morphological studies showed that the number of visible malignant tumours decreased in the colon and intestine of the animals, when their diet was supplemented with coconut kernel. Histopathological studies also showed that the animals had fewer papillae, lesser infiltration into the sub-mucosa and lesser changes in the cytoplasm with decreased mitotic figures, when kernel was included in the diet. Coconut kernel, thus reduced the mutagenic and carcinogenic effect of chilli and DMH respectively.
20 Tumorigenicity and mutagenicity studies with capsaicin of hot peppers.
Toth, B | Rogan, E | Walker, B
Anticancer Research [ANTICANCER RES.]. Vol. 4, no. 3, pp. 117-120. 1984.
Capsaicin, the pungent principle of hot pepper, was administered at concentrations of 1, 0.5, 0.125 and 0.0625% in powdered diet for 35 days to five groups of Swiss albino mice. In the capsaicin-treated groups 4 mice (10%) developed 4 adenocarcinomas of the duodenum (one tumor at each dose level, except for the highest dose), while no such tumor occurred in the untreated control mice. Capsaicin exhibited a low level of mutagenicity in the Ames assay with S. typhimurium strain TA98 in the presence of liver activating enzymes from Aroclor-induced rats
21 Food and Chemical Toxicology Volume 34, Issue 3, March 1996, Pages 313-316
Capsaicin in hot chili pepper: Carcinogen, co-carcinogen or anticarcinogen?
Y.-J. SurhCorresponding Author Contact Information, and S.S. Lee Department of Epidemiology and Public Health, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, CT 06520-8034, USA College of Pharmacy, Seoul National University, Seoul 151-742, Korea Accepted 21 September 1995. Available online 2 March 1999.
Abstract Capsaicin (trans-8-methyl-N-vanillyl-6-nonenamide) is a major pungent ingredient of the Capsicum fruits such as hot green and red peppers. Besides its use as a food additive in various spicy cuisines, capsaicin is currently utilized for therapeutic purposes to treat various peripheral painful conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis and diabetic neuropathy. Considering consumption of capsaicin as a food additive and its current medicinal application in humans, correct evaluation and precise assessment of any harmful effects of this compound are essential from the public health standpoint. Numerous investigations have been conducted to determine the potential mutagenic and carcinogenic activity of capsaicin and chili pepper, but results are discordant. This review briefly examines findings in the literature of studies testing mutagenicity and tumorigenicity of capsaicin and presents a possible mechanistic basis for the dual effects exerted by the compound.
22 American Journal of Epidemiology Vol. 139, No. 3: 263-271 Copyright 1994 by The Johns Hopkins University School of Hygiene and Public Health research-article
Chili Pepper Consumption and Gastric Cancer in Mexico: A Case-Control Study
Lizbeth Lopez-Carnllo1,2,, Mauricio Hernandez Avila2 and Robert Dubrow1 1Department of Epidemiology and Public Health, Yale University School of Medicine New Haven, CT 2National Institute of Public Health (Mexico) Cuernavaca, Morelos, Mexico Reprint requests to Dr. Lizbeth Lopez-Carnllo, National Institute of Public Health, Center for Public Health Research, Av. Universidad 655, Col Sta Maria Ahuacatitlan, Cuernavaca, Morelos, C P 62508, Mexico
Laboratory studies indicate that capsaicin, the hot-tasting component of chili peppers, may be carcinogenic. A population-based case-control study was conducted in Mexico City during 1989-1990 to evaluate the relation between chili pepper consumption and gastric cancer risk. The study included 220 incident cases and 752 controls randomly selected from the general population. Information was collected by interview. Chilipepper consumers were at high risk for gastric cancer compared with nonconsumers (age-and sex-adjusted odds ratio = 5.49, 95% confidence interval (Cl) 2.72-11.06). Among consumers, there was a highly significant trend of increasing risk with increasing self-rated level of consumption (low, medium, and high) (p = 2 x 10-7). The odds ratio for high-level consumers compared with nonconsumers was 17.11 (95% Cl 7.78-37.59). However, when consumption was measured as frequency per day, a significant trend among consumers was not observed. Multivariable adjustment increased the magnitude of the chili pepper-gastric cancer association, but a significant trend among consumers (measured as frequency per day) was still not observed. Chili pepper consumption may be a strong risk factor for gastric cancer, but further studies are needed to test this hypothesis.
23 Life Sciences Volume 56, Issue 22, 21 April 1995, Pages 1845-1855 doi:10.1016/0024-3205(95)00159-4 | How to Cite or Link Using DOI
Minireview Capsaicin, a double-edged sword: Toxicity, metabolism, and chemopreventive potential
Young-Joon Surha and Sang Sup Leeb a Department of Epidemiology & Public Health, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, CT 06520-8034, USA b College of Pharmacy, Seoul National University, Seoul 151-742, Korea
Abstract Capsaicin (8-methyl-N-vanillyl-6-nonenamide) is a primary pungent and irritating principle present in chilies and red peppers which are widely used as spices. Because of its selective effects on the functions of a defined subpopulation of sensory neurons, capsaicin is currently used as a versatile tool for the study of pain mechanisms and also for pharmacotherapy to treat several pain disorders. Considering the frequent consumption of capsaicin as a food additive and its current medicinal use, correct assessment of hazardous effects of this compound is important. Mutagenic and carcinogenic activities of capsaicin and chili extracts have been studied, but results are conflicting. Mammalian metabolism of capsaicin has been also reported. Capsaicin appears to interact with xenobiotic metabolizing enzymes, particularly microsomal cytochrome P450-dependent monooxygenases which are involved in activation as well as detoxification of various chemical carcinogens and mutagens. Recent studies have shown that hepatic cytochrome P450 2E1 catalyzes the conversion of capsaicin to reactive species such as the phenoxy radical intermediate capable of covalently binding to the active site of the enzyme as well as tissue macromolecules. While covalent modification of protein and nucleic acids leads to toxicity including necrosis, mutagenesis, and carcinogenesis, suicidal inhibition of microsomal cytochrome P450 may prohibit further activation of capsaicin and also of other toxic xenobiotics. Results from recent studies indicate that capsaicin possesses the chemoprotective activity against some chemical carcinogens and mutagens.
24 Oral Surgery, Oral Medicine, Oral Pathology Volume 77, Issue 2, February 1994, Pages 135-140 doi:10.1016/0030-4220(94)90275-5 | How to Cite or Link Using DOI Copyright 1994 Published by Elsevier Inc. Cited By in Scopus (86) Permissions & Reprints
Topical application of capsaicin for treatment of oral neuropathic pain and trigeminal neuralgia
Joel B. Epstein DMD, MSDCorresponding Author Contact Information, a, b, c, Corresponding Author Contact Information, a and Joel H. Marcoe BSc, DMDa, b, c, d, b a British Columbia Cancer Agency, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada b Vancouver General Hospital, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada c University of British Columbia, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada d University of Washington, Seattle, Wash., USA Available online 30 March 2005.
Abstract Neuropathic pain may be a major cause of pain in the head and neck. Trigeminal neuralgia may appear as intraoral pain. This article reviews a series of 24 consecutive cases of oral pain treated with topical capsaicin. Complete remission of neuropathic pain was seen in 31.6% of patients; partial remission was achieved in 31.6% of patients. Trigeminal neuralgia with an intraoral trigger was less responsive to topical therapy than neuropathic pain. Further study is needed to clarify the efficacy of topical capsaicin in neuropathic and neuralgic pain and the effect of differing dosages and frequency of application. On the basis of the findings in this open-label clinical trial, controlled clinical study of capsaicin in neuropathic oral pain states appears warranted.
25 Drug Development Research Volume 22 Issue 2, Pages 109 - 123 Current Trends Review
Topical capsaicin in the treatment of cutaneous disorders
Richard B. Carter * Research and Development Department, Miami Valley Laboratories, Procter & Gamble Company, Cincinnati *Correspondence to Richard B. Carter, Miami Valley Laboratories, The Procter & Gamble Company, P.O. Box 398707, Cincinnati, OH 45239-8707 Keywords hot peppers unmyelinated sensory afferent fibers inflammatory responses
Abstract Capsaicin, the primary pungent principle in hot peppers, produces marked alterations in the function of unmyelinated sensory afferent fibers, which are believed to signal pain and to initiate inflammatory responses. Capsaicin first excites and then desensitizes these nerves to subsequent stimulation both by itself and by a variety of physiocochemical stimuli. Accordingly, capsaicin is finding increasing use as a topical therapy for a variety of cutaneous disorders that involve pain and inflammation. Although topical capsaicin has shown therapeutic potential, the utility of capsaicin appears to be limited at present primarily by its irritant properties and secondarily by less than optimal therapeutic response, perhaps resulting from insufficient drug delivery. A capsaicin analogue with diminished irritant properties that retained the critical pharmacologic activities might present a reasonable alternative.
26 Chili protects against aspirin-induced gastroduodenal mucosal injury in humans
Journal Digestive Diseases and Sciences Publisher Springer Netherlands ISSN 0163-2116 (Print) 1573-2568 (Online) Issue Volume 40, Number 3 / March, 1995
K. G. Yeoh1, J. Y. Kang1 Contact Information, I. Yap1, R. Guan1, C. C. Tan1, A. Wee1 and C. H. Teng1 (1) From the Division of Gastroenterology, Department of Medicine and Department of Pathology, National University Hospital, Singapore Received: 23 March 1994 Revised: 3 October 1994 Accepted: 3 October 1994
Abstract Capsaicin, the pungent ingredient of chili, has a gastroprotective effect against experimental gastric mucosal injury in animals. Such an effect has not, however, been documented in humans to date. Eighteen healthy volunteers with normal index endoscopies underwent two studies four weeks apart. Each subject took 20 g chili orally with 200 ml water in one study and 200 ml water in another study. In each case this was followed half an hour later by 600 mg aspirin BP with 200 ml water. Endoscopy was repeated 6 hr later. Gastroduodenal mucosal damage was assessed by a previously validated scoring system. The median gastric injury score after chili was 1.5 compared to 4 in the control group (P<0.05), demonstrating a gastroprotective effect of chili in human subjects.
27 Journal of Pain and Symptom Management Volume 9, Issue 7, October 1994, Pages 425-433 doi:10.1016/0885-3924(94)90198-8 | How to Cite or Link Using DOI Copyright 1994 Published by Elsevier Science Inc. Cited By in Scopus (57) Permissions & Reprints
Topical capsaicin as an adjuvant analgesic
C. Peter N. Watson MD Corresponding Author Contact Information Neurology and Chronic Pain, Department of Medicine, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada Accepted 8 November 1993. Available online 3 April 2004.
Abstract Topical capsaicin has been studied in a variety of conditions by uncontrolled and controlled trials. It is attractive because it is a simple, safe treatment. Although these studies suggest an analgesic effect, even placebo-controlled trials have been impossible to blind due to the burning sensation induced by the capsaicin. A high placebo response rate in the controlled trials is an interesting observation and may account for the apparent salutary effect reported in the studies lacking a control. A careful scrutiny of the results of these trials to date as well as clinical experience indicate at best a modest effect with the currently available preparations with many patients failing to find relief, finding the relief unsatisfactory, or being unable to tolerate the burning sensation. Occasional patients appear to have a very good result, and these unusual cases may not be reflected by clinical trials. Topical capsaicin is generally not satisfactory as a sole therapy for chronic painful conditions, although it may serve as an adjuvant to other approaches.
28 Capsicum and Capsaicin - A Review : Case Report of the use of Hot Peppers in Child Abuse
Authors: Rebecca L. Tominacka; Daniel A. Spykera Affiliation: a Department of Internal Medicine, University of Virginia Medical Center, Charlottesville, VA DOI: 10.3109/15563658708992659
Abstract Capsaicin, the active principle of hot peppers of the genus Capsicum, exhibits broad bioactivity. It targets neuronal structures which contain substance P, clinically seen as gastrointestinal and dermatologic irritation, bronchospasm and fibrinolysis. As a research tool, capsaicin profoundly alters neurologic anatomy and function. We review the toxicity of capsaicin and comment briefly on the use of hot peppers in child abuse
29 The effect and mechanism of action of capsaicin on gastric acid output
Journal Journal of Gastroenterology Publisher Springer Japan ISSN 0944-1174 (Print) 1435-5922 (Online) Issue Volume 44, Number 5 / May, 2009
Kazuhiro Imatake1 Contact Information, Teruaki Matsui1 and Mitsuhiko Moriyama1 (1) Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Department of Medicine, Nihon University School of Medicine, 30-1 Oyaguchi Kamimachi, Itabashi-ku, Tokyo 173-8610, Japan Received: 21 September 2007 Accepted: 10 November 2008 Published online: 19 March 2009
Abstract Background Capsaicin has beneficial pharmacological properties, such as the ability to improve appetite and digestion. However, capsaicin has been reported to suppress gastric acid output, but to increase secretion; no consensus as to its effects on gastric acid output has been reached, and the underlying mechanisms remain to be elucidated. Methods Rat gastric lumen was perfused with capsaicin. Basal acid output and gastric acid secretion stimulated by vagal nerve activation and bethanecol, a muscarinic receptor agonist, were measured. After intravenous infusion of calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP), the measurements were repeated. The secretion of gastrin, somatostatin, and histamine was measured in isolated vascularly perfused rat stomach after vagal nerve and bethanecol stimulation, and under the influence of capsaicin. Results Capsaicin administration had no effect on basal gastric acid output, but inhibited acid secretion resulting from vagal stimulation. Capsaicin had no effect on acid secretion resulting from stimulation with bethanecol. Administration of high-dose CGRP inhibited basal acid output and gastric acid secretion from both vagal nerve and bethanecol stimulation. Low-dose CGRP inhibited gastric acid secretion because of vagal stimulation, but had no effect on basal secretion or acid secretion following stimulation with bethanecol. Capsaicin administration inhibited the stimulated gastrin and histamine secretion and reversed the suppression of somatostatin secretion mediated by vagal stimulation. However, capsaicin had no effect on stimulated gastrin secretion, suppression of somatostatin secretion, or stimulated histamine secretion because of bethanecol. Conclusions Capsaicin inhibited gastric acid output, and the mechanism underlying this effect appears to involve vagal nerve inactivation.
30 Capsaicin and Gastric Ulcers
Author: M. N. Satyanarayanaa Affiliation: a CFTRI, Mysore, India DOI: 10.1080/1040-830491379236
Abstract In recent years, infection of the stomach with the organism Helicobacter Pylori has been found to be the main cause of gastric ulcers, one of the common ailments afflicting humans. Excessive acid secretion in the stomach, reduction in gastric mucosal blood flow, constant intake of non-steroid anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS), ethanol, smoking, stress etc. are also considered responsible for ulcer formation. The prevalent notion among sections of population in this country and perhaps in others is that "red pepper" popularly known as "Chilli," a common spice consumed in excessive amounts leads to "gastric ulcers" in view of its irritant and likely acid secreting nature. Persons with ulcers are advised either to limit or avoid its use. However, investigations carried out in recent years have revealed that chilli or its active principle "capsaicin" is not the cause for ulcer formation but a "benefactor." Capsaicin does not stimulate but inhibits acid secretion, stimulates alkali, mucus secretions and particularly gastric mucosal blood flow which help in prevention and healing of ulcers. Capsaicin acts by stimulating afferent neurons in the stomach and signals for protection against injury causing agents. Epidemiologic surveys in Singapore have shown that gastric ulcers are three times more common in the "Chinese" than among Malaysians and Indians who are in the habit of consuming more chillis. Ulcers are common among people who are in the habit of taking NSAIDS and are infected with the organism "Helicobacter Pylori," responsible for excessive acid secretion and erosion of the mucosal layer. Eradication of the bacteria by antibiotic treatment and avoiding the NSAIDS eliminates ulcers and restores normal acid secretion.
31 Nutrition Bytes, 1(1)
Ayad, Michael, University of California, Los Angeles 1995 Nutrition Bytes, Department of Biological Chemistry, UCLA, David Geffen School of Medicine, UC Los Angeles
Do Chili Peppers Cause Ulcers? - A Burning Question
Ayad, Michael
32 Capsaicin - A Literature Survey
Critical Reviews in Toxicology 1982, Vol. 10, No. 4 , Pages 321-339 (doi:10.3109/10408448209003371)
Yongyot Monsereenusorn, Sathapana Kongsamut, Paul D. Pezalla and Tony L. Yaksh Department of Biology, Faculty of Science Ramkamhaeng University Bangkok, Thailand Department of Pharmacological, Physiological Sciences University of Chicago Chicago, Illinois Department of Biological, Sciences University of Illinois at Chicago Chicago, Illinois Department of Neurologic Surgery, Pharmacology Mayo Clinic Rochester, Minnesota