Chronic headache sufferers may soon have some new alternatives. The active ingredient in cayenne peppers, capsaicin, is believed to bring headache relief by depleting Substance P, a neurotransmitter that helps send pain signals.
Although some are still skeptical, a number of studies have tested the claim, and most have found evidence to support it. One prominent study on capsaicin for pain relief was published back in 1998 in the Clinical Journal of Pain. Their review of 33 previous studies found that capsaicin worked better than a placebo for cluster headaches.
Most studies suggest that the capsaicin needs to be applied topically, such as swabbing the inside of your nose, in order for it to be effective.