Cayenne Pepper and PN
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Cayenne Pepper & Peripheral Neuropathy
In some cases, cayenne products may ease a few of the symptoms, but alternative remedies are not a substitute for professional medical advice. Cayenne products are not for everyone; ask your doctor before using them to treat your symptoms.
Cayenne's Active Ingredient
Cayenne, a plant in the Capsicum family of pepper plants, is a hot fruit that contains capsaicin, a constituent with hyperemic properties, meaning it increases blood flow to areas of the body. Capsaicin may be responsible for the herb's pain-blocking ability as well.
Capsaicin, when applied topically to extremities affected by peripheral neuropathy, causes surface irritation and may block the transmission of pain signals from the nerve endings to the brain. The University of Maryland Medical Center reports that cayenne pepper products may alleviate the pain of peripheral neuropathy caused by diabetes, but if neuropathy is the result of HIV, cayenne is unlikely to offer relief. It is unknown whether cayenne products alleviate the pain of peripheral neuropathy that stems from other causes.
Apply capsaicin cream directly on the affected limb, up to four times per day, UMMC suggests. The effects of cayenne are cumulative, and it may take several applications over a period of days to reduce the discomfort.
Wash your hands immediately after applying cayenne creams, using vinegar to remove the substance from your fingers completely. Overuse may result in hypersensitivity to capsaicin. The "PDR for Herbal Medicines" reports that, in rare cases, capsaicin can cause contact dermatitis. Do not apply the cream to skin with open sores.
Never use creams containing cayenne on infants or small children younger than 2 years of age, due to a risk of severe respiratory distress and even death. Contact a doctor for application instructions for older children