Next time you feel a panic attack coming on, you may want to grab the nearest bottle of hot sauce or a chile pepper to ease your nerves. Research has shown that there is a direct link to capsaicin, the molecular compound found in chile peppers (the main ingredient in hot sauce) and the power it has to alleviate feelings of panic and unease.
The National Institute of Mental Health reports that 18.1% of the U.S. population (approximately 40 million adults) are affected by an anxiety disorder.
Anxiety can be caused by excessive and chronic stress (both physical and emotional), genetics, and even a poor diet. Biologically, your stress levels are elevated and your brain is not producing a high enough amount of serotonin to help keep you at ease. This can result in panic attacks and a “racing of the mind”.
The most common anxiety disorders include:
- obsessive-compulsive disorder
- panic disorder
- post-traumatic stress disorder
- social anxiety disorder
- general anxiety disorder
Capsaicin is not a cure-all for anxiety, but it can help to temporarily relieve symptoms of the disorder by increasing the number of endorphins being produced, blocking pain signals, and creating a calming, euphoric sensation. It can increase blood flow and act as a natural painkiller. Physical pain can also be a cause of anxiety.
Here is a simple recipe to drink in case of the butterflies:
- Mix 1/4 teaspoon of dried cayenne powder (spice) in a glass of water or juice (water with added lemon juice also acts as a healthy antiseptic for your body)
- Test the heat and adjust the recipe accordingly to gauge how much heat you can handle
Consult with your physician before trying any new treatments, even natural ones. Capsaicin has many healing properties and may act as a healthy accompaniment to any regular treatment given by your doctor.