Over 2.5 million Americans suffer from rheumatoid arthritis so severe that it requires medical attention. Making small changes in our diet so reduce ailments and help us in getting healthier with foods from our kitchens. More than 40 million Americans have some degree of some form of arthritis. Rheumatoid arthritis usually involves an inflammation, thickening and eventually an erosion of the bone ending connective tissue. Osteoarthritis involves the dissolving of the spongy cartilage that cushions the pounding between bone endings. Cayenne to the rescue. Topical application of the more dilute 0.025% capsaicin ointment was able to provide substantial pain relief in patients with both osteo and rheumatoid arthritis within 4 weeks.
Another study found good results with capsaicin ointment in osteoarthritis, but no improvement in grip strength, swelling and morning stiffness. In that same study, Drs. McCarthy and McCarty did not find improvements in rheumatoid arthritis from capsaicin. In another study, more than 80% of the patients using the capsaicin ointment felt improvement in morning stiffness and other arthritis-related symptoms, with only 55% of the placebo group feeling relief. There are numerous studies now showing the benefits in reducing pain for arthritis patients. One animal study even showed that capsaicin reduced the swelling from rheumatoid arthritis.
During pain response, Substance P is produced in the nerve endings near the joints. Substance P can cause a deterioration in the cartilage surrounding a joint, which means that people should not ignore the pain associated with arthritis, because of this self-perpetuating downward cycle instigated by Substance P. All of this can be helped by capsaicin ointment.
Cartilage tissue normally cushions the connections between the bones. When this cartilage deteriorates, osteoarthritis is the result. This condition is actually bone rubbing against bone, which is painful and can immobilize people. More than 50% of men and women over the age of 65 have symptomatic osteoarthritis in at least one joint. The drug of choice for osteoarthritis for many years has been NSAIDs, or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, like Advil. NSAIDs come with a long grocery list of complications and side effects, including stomach upset, ulceration of the small intestine and colon, kidney failure, liver failure, skin reactions and interfering with high blood pressure medication. Other prescription drugs sometimes used for osteoarthritis include morphine or codeine and steroid hormones, all of which have a lengthy list of complications, including addiction. Cayenne Pepper can also help with heart disease.
Cayenne to the rescue. Capsaicin ointments are sometimes referred to as “rubefacients”, since they are counter-irritants which initially cause reddening on the skin. Be aware that many capsaicin “rubefacient” ointments also contain nicotine (methyl niconate) and aspirin (methyl salicylate) in small enough quantities to be of little concern. However, capsaicin ointment alone (no other therapy, no other ingredients in the ointment) was able to provide significant relief of osteoarthritis pain in a 12 week double blind study.