/ November 8, 2011/ Allergy, Default, General, Sinus/ 5 comments

Chili Peppers to Clear Your Sinuses

November is in full swing and so is the cough/cold season. Don’t let congestion bog you down. The next time you’re feeling a bit stuffed up and want some immediate relief, try reaching for some chili peppers! If you love spicy food, this is the perfect cure for you.

Have you ever eaten spicy food and found that suddenly your stuffy nose was clear? Chili peppers contain capsaicin, a chemical compound that not only makes peppers spicy, but studies have also shown that it reduces sinus symptoms, such as nasal congestion, rhinorrhea, sneezing, coughing, and mucous production.

Capsaicin can be found in all chili peppers except for bell peppers, which have a recessive gene preventing its production. Peppers, such as cayenne, jalapeños, tabasco, birdseye chili, habañeros, and Scotch bonnets all contain capsaicin. Adding them to foods, or using the ground chili powder forms, can help reduce nasal congestion.

A note on wasabi:

It may seem as if wasabi has this same effect on your sinuses. This is because wasabi may react with heat receptors in the nose causing your nostrils to flare and allowing more air into the nasal passages. Your brain is tricked to believe there is less congestion. However, studies have found that wasabi can actually block the sinuses by increasing blood flow to the lining of the nose.

Though wasabi may not work as a decongestant, it does have several health benefits, including antimicrobial properties beneficial for seasoning raw fish. If you’re a fan of wasabi and spice, enjoy!


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About Alisha Mehta

My name is Alisha Mehta and I am a graduate student at Tufts University, working on my MS in Nutrition Communications and Didactic Program in Dietetics to become a Registered Dietitian. I grew up in Northern California where the Redwood forests, mountains, and beaches are abundant—of course, all these outdoor opportunities cannot come without allergies. I have been through (and continue to deal with) my fair share of allergy and sinus issues. As a weary sufferer of sinus problems, I became a daily user of Sinus Rinse ever since its development. I am passionate about natural health, food, nutrition, and fitness. Through this blog, I hope to create an ongoing dialogue on sinuses, allergies, and any additional health topics of interest. Please share any and all of your experiences and questions.


  1. I have been eating raw garlic in lime juice and adding Tabasco sauce and garlic and lime juice to v8 since two days ago, this has helped along w the sinus rinsing with the sinus congestion that is so severe my top teeth hurt. I do need to take antibiotic for this one since I’m 24 w pregnant and miserable, but any relief feels good.

  2. My sinuses have been a problem for years. After two sinus surgies (that didnt work) and prescription medicines I suffered through mild depression, headaches and had no energy. I had visited 3 different Allergists in the DC area and was at my wits end. I began my research in 2008 to find my own answer to this debilitating puzzle.
    I found Dr Michael Kaliner at the Institute for Asthma & Allergy in Wheaton, MD. Dr Kaliner was Director of Allergic Diseases at the National Institute of Health, Pres of the World Allergy Organization, Pres of AAAAI etc etc. Who would be better at helping me?
    After my initial consult he handed me a bottle of Sinol Nasal Spray for Allergies/Sinus. He told me it was made with capsaicin which is pepper. I was sceptical as I have tried so many different products but I did come to him because of his background and expertise.
    This year, 2012, just about marks the 4th year I have been back to a quailty of life that I havent experienced since my teens. I use Sinol 3x a day, everyday, religiously.
    If you have experienced anything like what I am talking about go to your local Rite Aid and buy this product. Use it for a month or so and you will be so happy you found this post. I am a dedicated Sinol fan and am on a mission to help others.

    1. I had always had prbeolms with nasal products and medicines. I found out the I was sensitive to the active ingredients. I started doing nasal washes with saline and stopped having sinus prbeolms altogether. And now I rarely get colds.

  3. I too use red hot chilly peppers to get my nose running. They are especially delicious if you mix them with olive oil to use on your pasta, rice, and other appropriate meals. Since my sinusitis has been unbearable this year, peppers are all I eat! Heather of
    Sinus Infection Remedies

    1. Who would’ve guessed it would work that good. I went out this atrofnoen to return some movies to the library and stopped at Rite-Aid to get a look at what they had. Theirs looks a little smaller than the one Mark was using in the video but I got it anyway. I got home and was very hungry so I warmed up some albondigas soup and added jalapenos to it so I could sweat out some of the poisons. After eating, I decided to give the Neti Pot a try. I carefully read the instructions and remembered how Mark had tilted his head over the sink so I did the same. I poured it into my left nostril and it started draining almost immediately. I felt a little going into my throat so I opened my mouth (per the instructions I had read) and it continued to flow out of my right nostril. Then I switched over and poured into my right nostril and the flow was not as liberal as my first effort. I guess there was some blockage in that direction. I finished the exercise and then proceeded blowing my nose and I was amazed at how freely I could breathe. The instructions say I can use it as often as every two hours so I’ll be trying it again around 5:30 but this time I’ll start with my right nostril to test the blockage I think I experienced on the first try.Thanks Kim. I’ll let you know how well it works for me. In the meantime, I’ll still be using the humidifier and Vicks vaporub. Thank Mark for me too.

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