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Adding Capsaicin Improves Anesthetic Treatment

samzenpus posted more than 6 years ago | from the so-hot-it's-numb dept.

Biotech 151

eldavojohn writes "It's no secret what capsaicin, the fiery molecule of peppers, does to cell walls. In fact, it's now being used to open cells up to local anesthetics. Combine it with a new drug that works only from the insides of cells and you have a great system for relieving pain. From the article, 'QX-314 is known to reduce the activity of pain-sensing neurons in the nervous system and theoretically heighten pain thresholds. But there's a catch: Researchers found that "it wouldn't work from outside a nerve cell but it would work if you could get it inside," says Bruce Bean, a professor of neurobiology at Harvard Medical School and co-author of the new study."

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151 comments

Just a thought... (4, Funny)

thatskinnyguy (1129515) | more than 6 years ago | (#20847671)

...but wouldn't that burn like hell?

Re:Just a thought... (5, Interesting)

wamerocity (1106155) | more than 6 years ago | (#20847887)

I actually was reading an article about capsaicin (which is also the active ingredient in pepper spray, hence the name). One doctor once recommended that oxycontin and other opiates should have capsaicin put into the pills. People who swallowed it wouldn't taste anything different, but people who take the drugs and chop them up into a powder and then snort it have a really special surprise in store for them, similar to what this guy did with wasabi. [youtube.com]

I'd guess people would only make that mistake once though.

Re:Just a thought... (0, Offtopic)

The Original Yama (454111) | more than 6 years ago | (#20847977)

capsaicin (which is also the active ingredient in pepper spray, hence the name)
There is no capsaicin in pepper. Pepper is from a completely different family of plants. What you're referring to would more appropriately be called capsicum.

Re:Just a thought... (4, Informative)

wamerocity (1106155) | more than 6 years ago | (#20847997)

Not to be a dick or anything, but it IS the active ingredient in peppers. From http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Capsaicin [wikipedia.org] , I quote "Capsaicin /kæpse.sn/ (8-methyl-N-vanillyl-6-nonenamide) is the active component of chilli,(sic) peppers, which are plants belonging to the genus Capsicum. It is an irritant for mammals, including humans, and produces a sensation of burning in any tissue with which it comes into contact"

Re:Just a thought... (4, Informative)

martinX (672498) | more than 6 years ago | (#20848225)

Could be a difference in common names here...

In Australia, these things are called Capsicums (no, no-one calls them Capsica :-) ) We reserve the word "pepper" exclusively for that stuff made from peppercorns. Chillis are chillis, not chilli peppers.

Capsicums in the US are called, I believe, bell peppers.

Re:Just a thought... (4, Informative)

DMUTPeregrine (612791) | more than 6 years ago | (#20848477)

Bell Peppers are actually the only chilli peppers that do NOT contain capsaicin.

Re:Just a thought... (2, Interesting)

linzeal (197905) | more than 6 years ago | (#20849029)

I believe they do have the genes for it though. My friend grew some that actually had some bite.

Re:Just a thought... (1)

The Original Yama (454111) | more than 6 years ago | (#20848259)

Not to be a dick or anything, but it IS the active ingredient in peppers.
In that case, what do you call the black stuff that normally accompanies salt on a dining table?

Re:Just a thought... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20848303)

Pepper spray is usually concentrated from chilies (chili _peppers_ here in the states). We also use the term pepper to refer to ground peppercorns and chilies interchangeably, hence the confusion.

Re:Just a thought... (2)

zeromorph (1009305) | more than 6 years ago | (#20849159)

Black Pepper [wikipedia.org] (or White Pepper) I guess, except in a China restaurant, where you would probably call it Sichuan Pepper [wikipedia.org] , which again is a very different plant. And on some occasions you'll have Cayenne Pepper [wikipedia.org] , which in turn is made from a kind of chili, and thus is also called chili pepper.

Actually, pepper just means "that hot stuff on the table and/or food" and is not very helpful, when talking about plant species.

Re:Just a thought... (1)

It'sYerMam (762418) | more than 6 years ago | (#20850045)

Uh, pepper? Or do we have to think of a different word for the fruit of the plant 'citrus sinensis'?

Re:Just a thought... (4, Informative)

ozmanjusri (601766) | more than 6 years ago | (#20848301)

Not to be a dick or anything, but it IS the active ingredient in peppers.

It's a language problem.

Outside the US, capsicums and chillies aren't called "peppers". Interestingly though, the piperine which makes real pepper (the spice) taste hot works on the TRPV ion channel in the same way as capsaicum, so it might have a similar effect.

Re:Just a thought... (2, Informative)

TheDugong (701481) | more than 6 years ago | (#20848501)

"Outside the US, capsicums and chillies aren't called "peppers"."

I have only heard capsicums them called capsicums in English speaking countries in the South Pacific. Capsicums are certainly called green/red/yellow peppers in the UK. Arguably, we (Australia) and NZ are the odd ones out.

Peppers I will agree with though.

Re:Just a thought... (1)

TheDugong (701481) | more than 6 years ago | (#20848519)

"Peppers I will agree with though."
Whoops, meant chillies are not called peppers outside of USA (North America?).

Re:Just a thought... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20848873)

Not just the South Pacific -- they're called capsicums in India as well.

Re:Just a thought... (4, Informative)

ChameleonDave (1041178) | more than 6 years ago | (#20848651)

Outside the US, capsicums and chillies aren't called "peppers".

Nonsense. Don't confuse Australia with "outside the US". Australia is strange in reserving the word "pepper" for actual Piper nigrum. The UK, for example, is just like the US in that "pepper" is used to refer to the fruit of the Capsicum genus native to Mexico. The hot varieties are called "chillis" or "chilli peppers", and the mild varieties are known as "green peppers", "yellow peppers" or "red peppers" according to their colour; the generic term is "sweet peppers". Piper nigrum is known as "black pepper" or "white pepper" according to its colour.

There is never any ambiguity even when a colour is not mentioned, as the word is used as a mass noun to refer to Piper nigrum and a count noun to refer to Capsicum, i.e. "I like pepper" means one thing and "I like peppers" means another.

The recycling of the word "pepper" is not even peculiar to English: the word for Capsicum is many languages is just a minor variation on the word for Piper nigrum. Here are the respective words for pepper, sweet peppers, and chilli in some languages. French: poivre, poivron, piment/chili. Spanish: pimienta, pimiento, chile/ají. Italian: pepe, peperone, peperoncino.

Strangely, Australians will use the word "peppers" to refer to Capsicum if they are roasted. I believe this is under foreign influence. They do, however, stubbornly make sure that pepper spray (containing capsaicin) is always referred to as "capsicum spray".

Aussies tend to think that their usage is more exact than UK/US usage, in that they do not extend the old-world term "pepper" to cover the new-world fruit, but what they usually don't realise is that to botanists "Capsicum" includes the fiery fruits which Aussies always call "chillis", and never "capsicum".

One final bit of trivia: Australians virtually always mispronounce it "capsicun", although they are rarely aware of it.

— A Brit in Oz

Re:Just a thought... (3, Informative)

packeteer (566398) | more than 6 years ago | (#20849123)

Piper nigrum does come in green and red varieties although this is always called "green peppercorn" and "red peppercorn" in the USA anyway.

Re:Just a thought... (1)

TeknoHog (164938) | more than 6 years ago | (#20849213)

Australia is strange in reserving the word "pepper" for actual Piper nigrum.

In Finland, "pepper" translates to "pippuri" which is likewise reserved for Piper nigrum. Sweet peppers are called "paprika", and Capsicums are usually called "chili", or by the native name of the specific variant. Chili powder is often called "chilipippuri" though, but this is probably due to the association with black/white pepper.

Re:Just a thought... (1)

ChameleonDave (1041178) | more than 6 years ago | (#20849473)

Australia is strange in reserving the word "pepper" for actual Piper nigrum.

In Finland, "pepper" translates to "pippuri" which is likewise reserved for Piper nigrum. Sweet peppers are called "paprika", and [hot] Capsicums are usually called "chili", or by the native name of the specific variant. Chili powder is often called "chilipippuri" though, but this is probably due to the association with black/white pepper.

The way you quoted me there makes it look like you think that your comment contradicts mine, but it doesn't. I was talking about Australia (and New Zealand too, come to think of it) being unusual in the way they use the word "pepper" in English. Finnish is rather irrelevant in this respect.

Thanks for the info, however. It confirms my other point, which was that English is not the only language to use words originally meaning old-world pepper to refer to new-world peppers too. (The word paprika comes from the Latin piper.)

Re:Just a thought... (1)

ThJ (641955) | more than 6 years ago | (#20849521)

In my home country of Norway we use:

pepper - plain table pepper
paprika - mild red/green pepper
chili/chilipepper - strong red/green pepper

"Pepper" alone always refers to black or white pepper. "Paprika" usually refers to the fruit but can refer to the seasoning. "Chili" should be pretty unambiguous. The English language way is confusing to me, and it seems that it actually confuses native English speakers too. Maybe you English speaking folks ought to change those names...

Re:Just a thought... (2, Funny)

CarpetShark (865376) | more than 6 years ago | (#20849833)

i.e. "I like pepper" means one thing and "I like peppers" means another.


Ahh, but what if your dog is called peppers? Where does that leave you? Eh? EH?? ;)

Re:Just a thought... (4, Insightful)

justin12345 (846440) | more than 6 years ago | (#20848507)

Sounds like a plan... except for one thing. Capsaicin come out just as hot as it goes in. Add to that the constipation that opiates cause and you are talking about an excruciating bowel movement.

Re:Just a thought... (1)

Joe Tie. (567096) | more than 6 years ago | (#20848593)

That's the one thing I hate about sitting down with a tub of spicy whatever. It's like a pepper hangover.

Re:Just a thought... (1)

linzeal (197905) | more than 6 years ago | (#20849019)

Except your body does build tolerance for it. I eat Blair's [amazon.com] on my food from an English breakfast to sushi and my bottom like my mouth have built up such a tolerance that anything less than 400,000 scoville [wikipedia.org] or so and it might as well be from Taco Bell.

Re:Just a thought... (1)

Joe Tie. (567096) | more than 6 years ago | (#20848575)

I'd guess people would only make that mistake once though.

I think you're underestimating what addicts will do for their drug of choice.

Re:Just a thought... (4, Insightful)

adatepej (1154117) | more than 6 years ago | (#20849009)

Yeah, those "addicts" out there will do a bit for their drug of choice, but they're not going to snort some sadistically formulated pill, if that's what you're thinking.

They're just going to take whatever other prescription opiate is most available at the time. And others will just find a way around capsaicin and any other measure devised by those who'd waste their talents devising ways of preventing other people from taking pills of their own volition.

It's a war that can't be won, nor does it deserve to be. It's wrong-headed and truly hateful towards freedom.

Re:Just a thought... (1)

bingoathome (1027034) | more than 6 years ago | (#20849943)

I know that "I agrees" are not quite correct - but hear fricking hear

Re:Just a thought... (3, Interesting)

MttJocy (873799) | more than 6 years ago | (#20850359)

I can just see people crushing them up and putting them into a gel cap or something, would still defeat the time release mechanism if any in the tablet and opioid are generally plenty active enough orally (granted not as quick to take effect as insufflation but would still work).

When will those coming up with all these ideas lean that nothing is going to stop people who willingly choose to enjoy drugs, every method they have come up with has ultimately been defeated in time, from messing with the pharmaceuticals by the addition of more toxic drugs (Acetaminophen etc, which is in fact not such a great idea for chronic use either, like for example in a patient with long term pain) which can be removed by something as simple as a cold water extraction [wikipedia.org]

Mind you, they can always rely on modern philosophy of prohibition, that worked so well the first time right? and unsurprisingly works just a badly this time round. How ridiculous is it to have a law which creates crime across areas well beyond the scope of the law itself from burglary to murder, all in an attempt to stop a few people choosing a drug which doesn't fit a ridiculous narrow view of what is "acceptable" or are considered "dangerous" like alcohol and tobacco don't kill people. The idiocy would be funny if the effects were not so devastating on the economy and society in general.

Re:Just a thought... (2, Insightful)

adatepej (1154117) | more than 6 years ago | (#20848913)

Brilliant idea. "Let's turn our pharmaceuticals into weapons in the war on drugs."

Why do I have to unnecessarily swallow capsaicin everytime I take a pill? Oh, so we can make somebody else's nose sting.

That'll put a big dent in drug use.

Re:Just a thought... (3, Insightful)

KKlaus (1012919) | more than 6 years ago | (#20849059)

Uh... isn't that a violation of the Hippocratic oath? And thank god booby trapping is still considered shameful and unamerican. Sheesh.

Re:Just a thought... (1)

KKlaus (1012919) | more than 6 years ago | (#20849079)

and just to add to that, I'm all for making drugs more difficult to abuse (along the lines of putting S2O in racing N2O), but can we be a little less malicious about it?

Re:Just a thought... (2, Interesting)

Stickerboy (61554) | more than 6 years ago | (#20849573)

Uh... isn't that a violation of the Hippocratic oath? And thank god booby trapping is still considered shameful and unamerican. Sheesh.

Not at all. Why do you think Vicodin, Lortab, Percocet etc. contain acetaminophen? It's not for the pain relief - the opiates do a hell of a job for that. It's to give the drugs a maximum a person can take per time period before they deplete their glutathione and fry their liver.

Some opiate seekers understand this but OD on them anyways.

Re:Just a thought... (1)

begbiezen (1081757) | more than 6 years ago | (#20849445)

They already do load many drugs with irritants so as to make snorting them VERY painful. This Is NOT new. (I'd rather not explain how I know this) Wonder why they don't already do this with oxycontin? O yeah, they make billions off of addicts. scum of the planet.

Re:Just a thought... (3, Insightful)

vorpal22 (114901) | more than 6 years ago | (#20849893)

As someone who currently has to take Oxycontin several times a day for pain management due to severe Crohn's Disease, this really would eliminate Oxycontin as a pain relief option for me; I *love love love* chilli peppers (my passion is studying Thai cooking), but when I'm flaring, there is no way that my body can tolerate them even in small quantities and they will make me violently ill. My intestines would resemble a minefield and I would have to camp out next to the bathroom, as the capsaicin would negate the pleasant, constipating side effect of the oxycodone (a huge boon for me).

There has also been a lot of talk in putting opioid antagonists in Oxycontin (i.e. naloxone or naltrexone) to negate the oxycodone's effects when people chew / smash the pills, but there are also inherent problems with this approach (it can induce immediate drug withdrawal in those with dependency, e.g. me).

I would be very surprised if there was a good chemical solution to this problem that didn't come with a host of problems of its own.

One person's anesthetic... (2, Interesting)

Vainglorious Coward (267452) | more than 6 years ago | (#20847987)

...is another person's terrorist attack [bbc.co.uk]

Re:One person's anesthetic... (0, Offtopic)

MadMidnightBomber (894759) | more than 6 years ago | (#20849565)

If people can make Nam Prik Pao then the terrorists have won! Won't someone please think of the tastebuds!!?!

Re:Just a thought... (3, Insightful)

Max Littlemore (1001285) | more than 6 years ago | (#20848099)

A similar thought occurred to me when I read ths summary.

Although I took it a bit further into the apparent repetition of certain features in nature. For example, when I grew up we had jumping ants with a really nasty sting that always lived near a plant which was a perfect anditote to the sting, and stinging trees always lived near their antidote, etc.

I digress. The initial thought was that cloves make a good local anesthetic for dental problems, but they burn like hell when you first chew them until the anesthetic kicks in. I'm wondering whether the mechanism that creates the burning sensation is similar to the burning of chili and whether they too open cell walls? Anyone have any insight into this?

Re:Just a thought... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20848611)

Probably Caryophyllene [wikipedia.org] which is also found in black pepper amongst other things besides cloves. [theepicentre.com]

Interestingly to me was the sesquiterpene [wikipedia.org] linked on the wikepedia page can also be obtained evergreens and my grandfather used to make liniment he derived from cedar and I am not sure what else. While still what they would call underage these days he used to drive the local doctor's carriage and assist him when he could, which included gathering items the doctor used to derive treatments based on things he had learned in med school, from doctors he trained under and even things he learned from the Native Americans. My grandfather also learned some from the Cherokee side of his family and others. So I can't speak for sure as to where he got his recipe for it or even what the recipe was, other then I recall the cedar because he would soak it in some solution in old gallon milk jugs he saved from when they were still made of glass. Now I wish I had spent more time speaking with him on such things during our rare visits. It was probably close to one of the recipes you can find Googling for cedar liniment though.

TFA states they are seeking a way to imitate the function they have noticed in capsaicin by a chemicul process. Unfortunately this is all too common these days as the major reason for it is they can't patent herbal remedies. They are in many cases chemicully but often not as effectively duplicating old herbal remedies and new herbal remedies and patenting them so they can charge for them. This after they have spent years getting med schools and doctors to avoid herbal remedies. Aspirin for example is essentially what you would get from making a tea with willow bark with some additives to help avoid stomach pains.

Re:Just a thought... (1)

Mr. Freeman (933986) | more than 6 years ago | (#20848289)

Not if you quickly administer a pain killer as in the example? (joke).

Seriously though, I'm pretty sure there's something more too it. Probably something that would warrant reading the article. Just a guess.

Cell walls? (5, Informative)

Atmchicago (555403) | more than 6 years ago | (#20847677)

Mammalian cells have no cell walls. Do they mean plasma membrane? This is basic biology, guys, please get your facts straight.

Re:Cell walls? (2, Funny)

sam_handelman (519767) | more than 6 years ago | (#20847901)

<ACCENT="CHEEZY ITALIAN">That's-a-spicy pain-a-pill.</ACCENT>

  Seriously, mod parent up.

Re:Cell walls? (5, Interesting)

ragingmime (636249) | more than 6 years ago | (#20848001)

It's no secret what capsaicin, the fiery molecule of peppers, does to cell walls.

Actually, I've studied cell biology and I have no idea what capscaicin does to cell walls (or even plasma membranes.) Come to think of it, chili pepper cells have walls, and capsaicin doesn't seem do anything to them. So maybe it is a secret after all.

Re:Cell walls? (5, Informative)

csubi (950112) | more than 6 years ago | (#20849721)

Not a secret - capsaicin opens the Vanilloid Receptor 1, also known as TRPV1, when binding. So it does "open up" the cell membrane but these openings are quite specific and small, the open VR1 will mostly let through hydrated Ca2+ ions.
And not all cells express the VR1 - it is mostly nerve cells responsible for transmitting signals for inflammatory and neuropathic pain and epithelial cells like the skin lining our mouths.
Unlucky for those who like to feel their mouth burn when eating a good chili con carne(like me), the receptor is also expressed in the cells of the anal region - hence the burning feeling in the butt, when going to crap 1-2 days after eating the hot dish...:)
Wiki link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/TRPV1 [wikipedia.org]

Re:Cell walls? (4, Informative)

wizardforce (1005805) | more than 6 years ago | (#20848135)

correct, the plasma membrane is studded with a number of receptors, ion channels and signalling compounds- this in particular seems to use capsacian as a "key" to allow the second compound through so that it can work. the plasma membrane being semipermeable as it is, does act somewhat like a wall- a barrier that maintains a chemical gradient/controlled intracellular environment. an all too common mistake on their part.

Re:Cell walls? (1)

dr_d_19 (206418) | more than 6 years ago | (#20849301)

This is the No Fact Zone. You must be new here.

Re:Cell walls? (1)

Fred_A (10934) | more than 6 years ago | (#20849637)

Mammalian cells have no cell walls. Do they mean plasma membrane? This is basic biology, guys, please get your facts straight.

It's a pill for plants, RTFA ! (no I didn't read it either)

Re:Cell walls? (1)

nanoakron (234907) | more than 6 years ago | (#20849919)

Never mind the fact that existing local anaesthetic molecules also work by blocking the inner aspect of the voltage gated sodium channel.

We're screwed... (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20847691)

Bruce Bean, a professor of neurobiology at Harvard Medical School and co-author of the new study
Mr. Bean is a professor of neurobiology? I wonder if he presented his thesis with a turkey stuck on his head.

Re:We're screwed... (1)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 6 years ago | (#20848005)

Yes, the FA is actually part of a script for Rowan Atkinson's new feature film, "Mr. Bean Goes to College."

Terrible Write Up (5, Informative)

headhot (137860) | more than 6 years ago | (#20847723)

Well the Write Up didn't make any sense so I read the link. Here is the deal.
1. QX-314 block pain neurons. It doesnt block other neurons for heat, pressure, ect.
2. QX-314 only works if you can get it inside the neuron cell itself.
3. Capsaicin opens a channel on only pain neurons that will let QX-314 through.

So, using Capsaicin and QX-314 together, you can block pain but no other senses.

Re:Terrible Write Up (4, Insightful)

FlatCatInASlatVat (828700) | more than 6 years ago | (#20847981)

Close, but not quite:

1. QX-314 blocks all neurons.
2. QX-314 only works if you can get it inside the neuron cell itself.
3. Capsaicin opens a channel on only pain neurons that will let QX-314 through.

Re:Terrible Write Up (2, Funny)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 6 years ago | (#20848023)

Any way you slice it, this is bad news for masochists.

Re:Terrible Write Up (1)

megaditto (982598) | more than 6 years ago | (#20848409)

I don't know about that. Someone like that goatse guy just had to have been using some of that lidocaine stuff.

Overall, this new capsaicin/lidocaine EthBr mixture could be good news for the guys that enjoy disco dancing, archery, rape, and table tennis.

Re:Terrible Write Up (1)

complete loony (663508) | more than 6 years ago | (#20850271)

I wonder how it fairs against that pain ray [wikipedia.org] that was on here a while ago.

just turn on primetime (3, Funny)

User 956 (568564) | more than 6 years ago | (#20847779)

From the article, 'QX-314 is known to reduce the activity of pain-sensing neurons in the nervous system and theoretically heighten pain thresholds.

Ah, yes, much like watching American Idol.

There's a much easier way to get this effect... (3, Funny)

anandamide (86527) | more than 6 years ago | (#20847787)

Thai Food and Beer.

Re:There's a much easier way to get this effect... (1)

Farmer Tim (530755) | more than 6 years ago | (#20849153)

Thai Food and Beer.

Nah, that combination just gives you a hangover at both ends.

Mmmmm Capsicum. (1)

spyder-implee (864295) | more than 6 years ago | (#20847793)

I like the red ones better :P

Icy Hot-n-blazin' sauce (3, Funny)

jacobcaz (91509) | more than 6 years ago | (#20847795)

I want to see an anethetic/capiscum hot sauce. So you get a brief busrt of fiery goodness, then soothing numbness follows.

"Why yes, I will have my buffalo wings in the Icy Hot-n-blazin' sauce please!"

Re:Icy Hot-n-blazin' sauce (1)

teebob21 (947095) | more than 6 years ago | (#20848027)

It already exists.

Visit Alice Cooper's Town [alicecooperstown.com] in Phoenix, AZ [google.com] if you ever get the chance. They serve Wings of Mass Destruction, the hottest wings I've ever eaten (and I love HOT wings). An order is a dozen wings. The first one makes your mouth and throat burn, the second one makes you want to die. If you make it that far, you're in the clear. At this point, your taste buds are so thrashed that you won't taste your meal. That's a pity, because their 1/2 pound Pepper Jack Cheeseburger is awesome. I only tasted the last three bites of it, though, since I ate 10 WMD's.

It took a full 4 or 5 hours for my sense of taste to return. No pain, though, after the 2nd wing. I'm definitely eating there again.

Re:Icy Hot-n-blazin' sauce (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20848293)

But how was the exit scenario?

Re:Icy Hot-n-blazin' sauce (1)

teebob21 (947095) | more than 6 years ago | (#20848597)

Not bad at all.

Capsaicin typically only causes lower bowel irritation if improperly digested in the upper GI. My constitution seems to handle the wings just fine.

Re:Icy Hot-n-blazin' sauce (1)

DMUTPeregrine (612791) | more than 6 years ago | (#20848513)

Your brain produces endorphins in response to eating spicy food. This is why spice seems to stop hurting after a bit. This is also why pepperheads, like myself, eat peppers: the endorphin rush is enjoyable independently from the taste of the pepper (which can also be good, of course.) I eat red savina Habaneros plain. I want to try a Bhut Jolokia, but no one in my area sells them.

Re:Icy Hot-n-blazin' sauce (1)

teebob21 (947095) | more than 6 years ago | (#20848699)

Actually, in addition to the endorphins, neurons exposed to capsaicin fire repeatedly until they exhaust their supply of neurotransmitters. They continue to fire even when depleted due to the neurotoxic effect of the substance, but no sensation is transmitted. The effect can even damage or kill neurons [berkeley.edu] with excessive exposure, making capsaicin a "double-edged sword" in medicinal use.

Re:Icy Hot-n-blazin' sauce (1)

ChameleonDave (1041178) | more than 6 years ago | (#20849509)

I want to see an anethetic/capiscum hot sauce. So you get a brief busrt of fiery goodness, then soothing numbness follows.

"Why yes, I will have my buffalo wings in the Icy Hot-n-blazin' sauce please!"

Such a thing almost exists. Chinese Sichuan pepper [wikipedia.org] has a numbing effect, and it is often combined with chilli in Chinese cuisine. I have it all the time.

Just don't try to board a plane (1)

Mean Mr. Mycroft (968125) | more than 6 years ago | (#20847805)

It could land you in a detention [bbc.co.uk] cell.

More than just that... (4, Interesting)

RobertM1968 (951074) | more than 6 years ago | (#20847889)

It helps metabolize fat, helps with prostrate issues and a bunch of other things as well...

It can be taken in pill form (for those who dont like eating red hot chili peppers) which is good considering some of its benefits require moderate to large doses.

When combined with other spices such as garlic and cinnamon, the results in numerous areas are quite good, and quite nice... (adding to the list above better sugar absorption, insulin creation, appetite suppression, thermogenic fat burning without lean muscle mass loss, pain relief, sinusitus relief and a LOT more)

Interestingly none of this is news... it's ALL ancient news - that the pharmaceutical companie$ dont want people to know... a nice spicy/sweet bowl of chili (made with just a tiny pinch of cinnamon, a bunch of chili powder, and some garlic) each day (or substitute with a different food that those ingredients can be put in from a steak sauce to you name it) and you've eliminated billions of dollars in income for related chemically created products from the pharm companies - and you have also eliminated the side effects.

Re:More than just that... (3, Interesting)

teebob21 (947095) | more than 6 years ago | (#20848103)

Excluding my closet addition to hot wings, I've been enjoying the benefits of capsicum for a few years now. I make a tincture of capsicum very similar to this one, listed in the 1918 USP Dispensary [henriettesherbal.com] .

I use 15 fresh habanero peppers and 1 quart of the cheapest 90+ proof vodka I can find. Put them in a mason jar, seal TIGHTLY, and let sit for 4-6 months. Pour off the liquid and discard the peppers (or eat them, I guess, if you're insane). Store the tincture in the freezer. It should remain liquid even at 0 degrees or below due to the alcohol. That is why I use 90+ proof. Administer 1 ounce every few days. You HAVE to shoot it. The vodka should be super cold when you drink it, so the burn from the capsicum is minimized by the temperature and the quick drinking. I always feel a warm heat in my gut after a shot, as the capsicum gets absorbed.

Don't use this tincture daily or more often, as it can cause serious GI irritation in quantity. Believe me, you do NOT want to vomit the stuff. Just imagine shoving a peeled habanero into your nose/sinuses for an idea of the pleasure. Also, keep away from eyes.

This is cheaper than buying capsaicin tablets, and more fun, too! Challenge your buddies to a (single) shot of habanero sometime...Enjoy!

Re:More than just that... (1)

FranTaylor (164577) | more than 6 years ago | (#20848365)

What you are doing seems like a lot of work. I think perhaps you will get more out of this if you combine with garlic and cinnamon as another poster suggests.

Those folks from India are getting it right again.

Why not just make and eat lots of delicious curry? Alcohol is fun, but it is also a poison. They did not appreciate this fact so much back in 1918.

Re:More than just that... (2, Informative)

teebob21 (947095) | more than 6 years ago | (#20848541)

It's not taken for the fun. The alcohol acts as a solvent for the nonpolar capsaicin molecule. Water would not have the same effect. Making an alcohol-based tincture allows for concentrations not possible with water, due to the polar nature of water. It's really not a lot of work: Make it; wait for first batch to finish; drink occasionally; have next batch in the garage waiting. Quite useful for those who dislike curry and other spicy foods, such as myself (...and yet I love hot wings).

I'll let the debate about alcohol's potential health benefits slide, as there have been fairly conclusive studies for both sides of the argument. Use only in moderation (Are you ready to Tanqueray?) :)

Re:More than just that... (1)

teebob21 (947095) | more than 6 years ago | (#20848561)

Dang - I hit submit instead of preview.

The "fun" I mentioned in the GP post was simply the wholesome pleasure of making a homemade natural "supplement". I was not talking about the "fun" that a few frat boys might try to have with some new crazy kind of homemade Absolut Peppar [absolut.com] .

Re:More than just that... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20850213)

There are numerous studies that show alcohol (even hard alcohol) has benefits for the heart when used in moderation. One drink a day or so seems about right.

As for being "poison" well, maybe but there are lots of "toxins" similar to alcohol that you ingest every day and your liver filters it out.

Re:More than just that... (1)

TheDugong (701481) | more than 6 years ago | (#20848555)

Do you have a cite for this? (Not doubting you, just want to have something to convince the missus that curry is healthy :)).

Re:More than just that... (1)

teebob21 (947095) | more than 6 years ago | (#20848647)

I'm not sure what the capsaicin content of curry is, compared to a habanero, but here's two articles that provide decent sources:
http://www.nutrasanus.com/cayenne.html [nutrasanus.com]
http://health.usnews.com/usnews/health/articles/070720/20chilipeppers.htm?s_cid=rss:20chilipeppers.htm [usnews.com]

This link gives you some sources straight from the National Institute of Health: http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&safe=off&q=Capsaicin+health+benefits+study+site%3ANih.gov&btnG=Search [google.com] Everything from blood pressure to osteo- and rheumatoid arthritis has been studied lately, with interesting results.

Re:More than just that... (1)

value_added (719364) | more than 6 years ago | (#20849113)

Do you have a cite for this? (Not doubting you, just want to have something to convince the missus that curry is healthy

Not capsaicin, specifically, but here's a randomly selected link for the wonders of curcumin [psa-rising.com] which has been all over the news in recent weeks.

Re:More than just that... (1)

KKlaus (1012919) | more than 6 years ago | (#20849073)

Kevin Trudeau?

Re:More than just that... (1)

Reverend528 (585549) | more than 6 years ago | (#20849247)

and you have also eliminated the side effects.

The unpleasant side effect of chili powder comes 12 hours later.

Irritating ??? (1)

truckaxle (883149) | more than 6 years ago | (#20847913)

FTFA

One major obstacle that must be overcome, he says, is the irritating nature of capsaicin, which causes burning sensations when one touches (not to mention eats) it.

Irritating... If you have ever had the pleasure to demo The Source [sammcgees.com] at 7.1 MScovilles "irritating" is not the adjective you first reach for.

I have a friend who prides himself on this ability to handle heat and pain sample a bit too much one time. He became very quite but controlled although you could see his face turn red. He abruptly got up and left the room. The next when I saw him, there was no pretense, he used a few expletives but claimed that in the "after glow" phase he actually had what one might refer to as a religious experience.

Re:Irritating ??? (2, Funny)

Brickwall (985910) | more than 6 years ago | (#20848077)

The next when I saw him, there was no pretense, he used a few expletives but claimed that in the "after glow" phase he actually had what one might refer to as a religious experience.

I saw that one! Then Homer met a talking wolf...

Re:Irritating ??? (1)

SydShamino (547793) | more than 6 years ago | (#20848269)

I've had police-grade pepper spray on a chip, to win a bet. I don't think it's that hot, but it was the hottest thing I've ever eaten - and I regularly eat the hottest foods you can buy in south Texas. Fortunately I didn't have to stand next to it while it was sprayed, so none got in my nose or eyes.

The worst part was not getting any water for about half an hour. Even after the heat fades the taste is awful.

Re:Irritating ??? (1)

Carbon016 (1129067) | more than 6 years ago | (#20849303)

According to their website, it's 7.1 million Scovilles, which interestingly, if the *rating is correct*, is "hotter" than high-quality pepper spray. In your mouth. I'm surprised your friend could even talk.

Re:Irritating ??? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20850153)

It's funny because as I'm reading this article I'm using Dave's Insanity sauce on some eggs...

Anyway I've tried the source before and it was an 'experience'. I'd consider myself a chili-head who loves to feel the pain, and god - that was something. The best way to describe it was something I muttered during my chili high. "This is so f*cking intense I can feel colors!"

And yes, there is such a thing as a chili high which is what I believe this person is talking about. As I understand it basically your body feels that your internally bleeding and gives you a rush of endorphines. This results in a "high" that is unlike anything induced by drugs/booze I've ever felt. Though you do get 'immune' to the intensity of peppers after a while. Currently I have to use aged sauces to get a chili high, since my home made fresh sauces with habaneros don't cut it anymore, though they do taste amazing.

Also there have been a few other research papers done on this. Most I believe have shown that while the (oil in the) pepper inflicts pain at first, it quickly overloads the nerve without doing damage to it. Basicly making you have an "out of body" experience of no pain. Essentially... Being drunk without the haze... Just my two cents from being a chili head.

Ahh! almost forgot to add. I've been hit in the face with pepperspray, and it's not that bad after getting dave's sauce in your eye :-D Though the police don't like to see people standing after being hit with that.

Re:Irritating ??? (1)

kj_in_ottawa (838840) | more than 6 years ago | (#20850233)

Dave's insanity sauce... ahh the memmories. I used to use that as a base for the sauce I would when I fried up sausages in university. Me and one of my housemates Dave (No relation to the sauce) loved it. Everyone else in the house couldn't beleive we ate it.

something similar (3, Interesting)

icegreentea (974342) | more than 6 years ago | (#20847955)

I seem to recall a related treatment where capsaicin could be used as a longterm local anesthetic. The doctor would first apply a shortterm anesthetic to the area being treated, and then applying pure capsaicin. The capsaicin would cause all of the nerves in the treated area to fire off like crazy until they burned out, while the local anesthetic would keep you from actually feeling the burn. By the time the local anestehtic wore off (an hour or so???), your nerves arent sending anymore, and wont be sending for quite a while, and the capsaicin gets washed off. repeat as needed.

Re:something similar (1)

adatepej (1154117) | more than 6 years ago | (#20848949)

I'm not so sure saying that saying capsaicin causes

all of the nerves in the treated area to fire off like crazy until they burned out
is really an accurate description of how capsaicin (alone) causes pain relief.

good (-1, Troll)

amog (1167069) | more than 6 years ago | (#20848009)

nice article and comments found on this page, greetings mystery [seductionbase.com]

Ok (5, Funny)

xx01dk (191137) | more than 6 years ago | (#20848045)

I promise I'll RTFA, but the first thought that came to mind was "Oh boy! Modern medicine can ease my pain... with FLAMING HOT NUCLEAR CODE RED WING SAUCE" followed by "GOOD LORD I'M NEVER SHITTING AGAIN."

Capsaicin is used in arthritis creams (2, Informative)

ragingmime (636249) | more than 6 years ago | (#20848073)

...such as Zostrix and Dolorac (more info here [factsandcomparisons.com] ). It's also an ingredient in Icy Hot and other meds [stjohn.org] , apparently.

Sensations of affective (dull) pain and heat are transferred along the same nerves, which is part of the reason why this chemical can help modulate signals there.

Re:Capsaicin is used in arthritis creams (1)

adatepej (1154117) | more than 6 years ago | (#20848967)

It really does work by the mechanism I proposed after those OTC capsaicin and menthol patches gave me a terrible burning feeling on my back! It just hurts so bad that you forget about any other pain you had.

So, the actions of capsaicin that cause pain relief when used alone and which allow that other drug to get into a cell and cause pain relief are "unrelated"?

Nanobots (1)

DavidV (167283) | more than 6 years ago | (#20848115)

I'm picturing an army of nanobots, some clearing a path for others, some carrying the payload of capsaicin, others doing the work once the payload is at the target. Controlled by RTS AI.

Re:Nanobots (1)

Carbon016 (1129067) | more than 6 years ago | (#20848279)

RTS AI? You'd have to send them to Hard, or they'd probably just stick around floating around in the heart making diplomacy treaties with one another.

Re:Nanobots (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20848307)

Huh, and here I thought they might send loads of trebuchets to the prostrate to pelt it to death with tiny kidney stones.

Frost p1st (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20848345)

Flaws in the BSD BSD fanatics? I've GNAA on slashdot, 80s, DARPA saw BSD That suuports opinion in other end, we need you

And Don't Forget... (3, Funny)

FranTaylor (164577) | more than 6 years ago | (#20848455)

Wash your hands BEFORE you go to the bathroom.

Re:And Don't Forget... (1)

Greyfox (87712) | more than 6 years ago | (#20848891)

Or put in contacts. I learned very quickly to wear latex gloves when making my green chili (On my web page, by the way.) And that stuff is very sticky, molecularly speaking, so washing may not be enough to prevent problems when putting contacts in.

Re:And Don't Forget... (1)

moonbender (547943) | more than 6 years ago | (#20850161)

It's not easily soluble in water. Try washing your hands with vegetable oil or something... That's also why drinking water does nothing to alleviate the burning sensation - and why drinking milk does help a bit!

Re:And Don't Forget... (1)

vorpal22 (114901) | more than 6 years ago | (#20849821)

That's a mistake most people make only once. In my case, three times, really, but NEVER again.

References? (1)

doraemonkey (629344) | more than 6 years ago | (#20848789)

Yarg! Does any one have a link to the actual Nature article that they are referencing to? Would it be too hard to put a direct reference to the article? A search for David Julius on Nature.com gives a result on a May article http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v448/n7150/abs/nature05910.html [nature.com] ... not the one that SciAm is referencing

Re-inventing the wheel ? (2, Informative)

Ihlosi (895663) | more than 6 years ago | (#20848811)

The combination of capsaicin and a mild topical analgesic (menthol) has been on store shelves for decades, for example under the name of IcyHot.

my first thought... (1)

Tastecicles (1153671) | more than 6 years ago | (#20849797)

great news for dental patients!
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