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Spicy foods and Inflammation
October 25, 2011
8:11 am
Robert K. Su MD
Forum Posts: 701
Member Since:
May 3, 2010
Joan Mercantini@Robert Su on facebook:
Glad I read the post on black pepper. I have read so many articles in the past that pepper was anti-inflammatory. Could you explain why?

My reply:

Hot pepper and black pepper are irritants and increase blood circulation secondary to irritation, thus, the are actually inflammatory. They are also sympathomimetic, which means that they can stimulate the sympathetic nerve system, which increases blood pressure, heart rate, and so on. Spicy foods should be different, depending on how they irritate the tissue. In Chinese medicine, ginger and garlic are irritants, however, they are moist or wet irritants and mild. In contrast, black pepper and hot pepper are dry irritants and harsh.


You are welcome. I do not mean to ask you to suffer. Sometime, you can try a small slice of fresh ginger, garlic, and hot pepper, and a small amount of black pepper, you would notice the descriptions that I cited. Also, rubbing the skin with ginger and hot pepper shows different results too.


Here are my personal experiences just for your reference. More than three decades ago, I accidentally scratched the cornea o my right eye (corneal abrasion). It is very painful. I had to use artificial tear and eye patch for about a week for healing the cornea and keeping it from abrasion again. I love spicy foods. When I had black pepper or hot pepper at dinner, I would have another abrasion of the cornea in the next morning when I open my eyes that means the cornea was inflamed and stuck to the inside of the eyelid. However, I had ginger at dinner and did not have the similar incidence. Also, eating hot pepper or black pepper can cause gastritis and develop gastric ulcer if helicobacter exists inside the stomach. On the other hand, eating ginger makes you feel warmth inside the stomach but not to the point that one would develop gastric ulcer.


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