Cayenne pepper has a direct effect on mucous in the body, due to the powerful effects of capscaicin. This powerful element of cayenne and other peppers effects tissue lining mucous membranes in the nose and sinuses, as well as in the stomach. The pepper is often used to treat a variety of ailments affected by mucous, or in some situations increases mucous for added relief of symptoms. Before you include large amounts of cayenne in your diet or take supplements, discuss cayenne pepper with your medical provider.
Cayenne pepper thins mucous in the nasal passageways and sinuses. The pepper makes breathing easier when you are suffering from seasonal allergies, a sinus infection and even the common cold. An additional effect of pepper is increased circulation. When additional blood enters your nasal and sinus tissue, you may also find decreased mucous production, according to "The Encyclopedia of Healing Foods," written by Michael Murray, N.D.
The digestive system, specifically the stomach, also uses mucous and stomach acid to increase and ease digestion. Healthy digestion increases nutrition uptake. Murray states the spice may also fight symptoms of indigestion.
How to Use
When you are congested with copious amounts of mucous, breathing is difficult. Relieving a stuffy nose by consuming spicy foods. Add as much cayenne pepper as your taste buds allow. Cayenne pepper is fiery hot and zesty, and may irritate your mouth and throat. Mix into hot teas or spice up your hot chocolate to ease a sore throat. Often, a sore throat may be caused by excess mucous drainage, when a cold is present. Consuming cayenne pepper before meals may decrease indigestion symptoms of abdominal pain, nausea and bloating states Murray. In a recent study, patients consumed 2.5 mg of cayenne pepper before each breakfast, lunch and dinner. Symptoms of indigestion were reported less than those receiving a placebo capsule. According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, take 30 to 120 mg of cayenne pepper supplement, three times a day for digestion.
Side Effects and Interactions
Cayenne pepper may irritate your mouth. Do not continue use if you cannot tolerate the spice. Do not give to children under the age of two, states the University of Maryland Medical Center. The medical center advises eating too much cayenne pepper may irritate the stomach and cause kidney or liver damage. If you have a food allergy to avocados, bananas or kiwis, you may also be allergic to cayenne pepper.
A stuffy nose and congestion, as well as mild digestive problems can often be treated at home using cayenne pepper, over-the-counter medications and other natural remedies. Still, at times too much mucous product, congestion and related symptoms should be examined by a doctor. If your symptoms continue longer than 10 days, you have difficulty breathing or an accompanying fever lasts longer than three days, consult with your doctor. If your mucous is green in coloration and sinuses areas are painful you may have a bacterial infection, requiring stronger medications. A more serious condition may be present.