Research Sheds Light On How Capsaicin May Ease Pain

Capsaicin triggers the heat-sensing transient receptor potential vanilloid 1(TRPV1) ion channels on certain neurons, which are involved in sensation.

The chemical that puts the heat in hot chili peppers is capsaicin (kap-SAY-ih-sin). Yet scientists have known for some time that when applied to the skin, this same compound can diminish pain. Indeed, some over-the-counter pain relievers already rely on capsaicin to tackle sore muscles and joints.

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