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What is Pepper Nasal Spray?

By Jessica Saras
Updated May 17, 2024
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As the name suggests, pepper nasal spray is a type of nasal spray made from natural hot peppers, such as chili and cayenne peppers. A form of homeopathic medicine, pepper nasal spray is a product that is new to the pharmaceutical market, but its benefits are well-known to herbalists and others who have repeatedly experienced the effects of its active ingredient, capsaicin.

Capsaicin is the property that determines the heat in hot peppers. It is also the ingredient in self-defense pepper sprays that causes irritation and discomfort when it comes into contact with a person’s mucous membranes, skin, and eyes. Many people who suffer from nasal congestion, due to allergies or other causes, may cringe at the notion of a pepper nasal spray, as it may seem odd that the same ingredient used in self-defense sprays can be used to clear sinuses. When used properly, however, capsaicin can have the same effect as many other nasal decongestants on the market today, with no adverse side effects.

There are many types of pepper nasal sprays available to consumers, and each uses capsaicin as the main ingredient. Acting as an irritant, capsaicin works by releasing endorphins to block the body’s pain receptors and stimulate mucous membranes, to clear out nasal congestion and prevent post nasal drip. Users may experience a mild warming or tingling sensation in the nasal cavity immediately after inhaling. This can be similar to the feeling one has when he or she bites into a hot pepper. Other side effects may include sneezing, coughing, and redness of the nose.

Although sensitivity to capsaicin varies from person to person, and this product should not be used by people with allergies to chili peppers, the ingredient is relatively well-tolerated by most individuals. Additionally, because capsaicin is non-habit forming and has no known interactions with other drugs, pepper nasal spray is an increasingly popular choice for health-conscious individuals who desire a safe, natural, and non-addictive alternative to standard decongestant and allergy medications.

In the United States, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved the use of pepper nasal spray for the treatment of allergies and sinus congestion. These sprays are also quite common throughout Europe and Japan, and many medical providers recommend pepper nasal sprays to patients who regularly use chemical nasal sprays and decongestants. Despite its increasing popularity and known health benefits, it is best to speak with a physician before using any type of over-the-counter medication, such as pepper nasal spray.

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Discussion Comments
By anon347687 — On Sep 09, 2013

Pepper nasal sprays are real. You can get them at walmart and vitamin worlds. I've been using pepper nasal spray for years now. I used to use Sinus Buster and now I use Sinus Plumber because it has hot pepper and Horseradish. Whoa! Burns but works!

By tigers88 — On Mar 24, 2012

I have suffered from nasal allergies for most of my life and spent years of spring times with a stuffed up nose and clogged sinuses.

Then a friend suggested that I try a decongestant nasal spray that contained an extract of pepper. I was hesitant at first. I imagined myself having a huge fit of sneezing. But I bought a bottle and tried it and it really worked. I still have allergies but I do not suffer through the symptoms the way I used to.

By backdraft — On Mar 23, 2012

Is this for real? Do people really want to squirt pepper right up into their nose? I have heard of stranger things but this is right up there.

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