As an old saying goes, "everything old is new again." For thousands of years, humans have used fiery chili peppers for their healing properties as well as for their strong flavors. If you have some Tabasco sauce in your pantry, you can use it to enhance your health, whether you've got a cold, sore muscles, or are trying to drop pounds.Consult your physician before trying any home remedy, especially if you have experienced severe allergic reactions to foods or have any digestive problems.
Sinus congestion, not to mention the accompanying headaches, can make you miserable. Whether it is caused by a cold, allergies, or even dry air, seasoning your meals with Tabasco sauce can help. Chili peppers, including the Tabasco peppers, contain naturally-occurring chemicals very similar to guaifenesin, the active ingredient in many over-the-counter and prescription decongestants, according to Dr. Irwin Ziment, a physician and Professor Emeritus and the University of California in Los Angeles. Tabasco sauce can also help if congestion moves down into your chest, since capsaicin -- the chemical responsible for chili heat -- is a natural expectorant.
Tabasco sauce can also help when you've got a cough. One reason over-the-counter muscle pain creams often contain capsaicin is that the chemical slows the transmission of pain signals and reduces inflammation. You can use the same effect to reduce throat inflammation and calm the nerves responsible for the cough reflex. To make a homemade cough syrup, combine a quarter tsp. of Tabasco sauce with 3 tbsp. of warm water, 1 tbsp. of honey, and 1 tsp. of lemon juice. Stir well and take a teaspoon at a time as needed.
You can also use Tabasco sauce as a mild pain reliever for muscle aches or mild arthritis pain. Commercially-available capsaicin creams, while effective, are often expensive. You can make your own instead of buying spicy creams. To do this, mix 1 tbsp. of Tabasco sauce with 1 cup of inexpensive body lotion. Store the mix in a sealed container in the refrigerator. Apply a pea-sized amount to the inside of your elbow to test for a negative reaction before applying it in larger amounts. Mild tingling, sensations of warmth, or slight skin redness aren't cause for alarm, but it feels uncomfortable, wash the affected area with soap and water. Wash your hands after applying the cream and do not touch your eyes, nose, or mucous membranes. Serious allergic reactions to capsaicin are rare but can occur. Seek medical care immediately if you experience hives, have trouble breathing, or experience any other severe reaction.
Tabasco sauce can help you lose weight and help prevent the health problems associated with obesity. Fiery Tabasco sauce, when sprinkled on your favorite foods, forces you to eat slowly. Eating slowly gives your stomach time to register fullness, which is an important aspect of weight control. Also, strong, sharp flavors such as those found in spicy foods, have shown promise in fighting cravings. Though more research is needed, "The Doctor's Book of Food Remedies" reports that they seem to overwhelm the taste-buds, which can help you avoid overeating.
- "The Doctors Book of Food Remedies;" Selene Yeager; 2004
- University of Maryland Medical Center: Osteoarthritis - Medications
- Cancer.org: Capsaicin
- University of Maryland Medical Center: Common-Sense Strategies to Long-Term Weight Loss