Urgyen Chodron wrote:
Sometimes I drink tabasco sauce just for the taste!
People tell me it's supposedly rough on the stomach.
it seems i have read that chili heals ulcers. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/7895548
and so i found it.
it cures a sore throat in that the pain goes away due to the capsaicin inkilling pain.
You have to think about how it works to understand its mixed effects. Capsaicin triggers receptors related to the inflammatory response -- heat (caused by pyrogens), pain, and swelling-- which is why in large enough quantities, spicy foods can actually cause pain, inflammation, and stomach irritation.
The reason it can reduce pain and swelling is a more long-term effect, because the body is depleted of the neurotransmitters related to the reaction (drug tolerance and withdrawal happens for the same reason), meaning that capsaicin can reduce pain and swelling for a person with health problems, but for a normal healthy person, it seems plausible that ingesting spicy foods regularly can hinder the body's natural inflammatory response, and increase the likelihood of an infection... perhaps only by a very small degree. Because the inflammatory response, while uncomfortable and even painful, isn't entirely bad; it's a part of the body's immune defense, by isolating pathogens when they are discovered. The capacity to reduce pain and inflammation from capsaicin might also be achieved through the regular use of certain poisonous wasps, scorpions, spiders, snakes, etc.. Certain forms of traditional medicine actually do this (allowing themselves to be ritually stung by scorpions, snakes, etc.).
On the other hand, despite its mixed effect on the immune system, ingesting spicy foods regularly also has the benefit of making you more resistant to pepper spray.
Lazy_eye wrote:Good to know about the tabasco! I tend to develop a prolonged cough every time I catch cold -- probably chronic bronchitis, perhaps the result of an old smoking habit. Ginger tea and honey are about the only things that seem to help.
Cough drops containing menthol & eucalyptus (often the very bad tasting ones) help and gargling with salt water can help too.