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Sinus Related Articles > Red Peppers Can Alleviate Headaches and Sinus Problems

Red Peppers Can Alleviate Headaches and Sinus Problems

Capsaicin is being tested for the treatment of two diseases of the nose and sinuses. The first study targets headaches of nasal or sinus origin (also known as rhinogenic headache). These headaches commonly are referred to as "sinus" headaches because the trigger points are located in the nose.

Capsaicin is what makes the red peppers hot. It is extracted and then diluted so that it doesn't burn.

The School of Medicine, Saint Louis University, has initiated two unique studies with capsaicin. Taken in the form of a nasal spray, researchers hope to treat sinus-related headaches and chronic nasal congestion.

The second study seeks to determine the effectiveness of capsaicin nasal spray for hyperreflexive rhinopathy, which is a condition that is characterized by chronic nasal congestion and thin, watery nasal drainage.

Patients with hyperreflexive rhinopathy (also known as vasomotor rhinitis) don't suffer from allergies, and the condition can last for years.

"These people are miserable, and nothing really seems to help," said Martin J. Citardi, M.D., assistant professor of otolaryngology, head and neck surgery. "For these headaches and this chronic nasal congestion there really are no good treatments. We are hopeful that capsaicin will help these patients."

Citardi said, "capsaicin inactivates a certain kind of nerve fiber that contributes to the chronic runny nose and the headaches. By inactivating the nerve fiber, the underlying problem is treated. The inactivation should be permanent, but some patients may need to be re-treated. The nasal spray is administered at home, and needs to be taken daily for a few weeks."

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