Q. I used to have heartburn and took drugs to treat it for several years. I later learned that hot peppers could help, so I purchased a bottle of cayenne pepper capsules. I take just one a day with food.
I don’t remember how long it was before I stopped taking the prescribed drugs, but when I did, I no longer had a problem with acid reflux. No one would believe me that cayenne pepper capsules were the cure for my problem, so I was pleased to read about the research in your column.

A. It seems counterintuitive that the hot stuff in hot peppers (capsaicin) could be helpful against heartburn. We certainly know that many people cannot tolerate spicy food.
Nonetheless, some research has shown that regular consumption of hot peppers seems to reduce reflux symptoms (Journal of Neurogastroenterology and Motility, April, 2010).
Readers interested in this approach may wish to read a previous comment: http://www.peoplespharmacy.com/2011/12/19/hot-peppers-for-heartburn/
We also discuss heartburn remedies elsewhere on the site and in our Guide to Digestive Disorders.

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  1. Nathan
    Reply

    Hi hot peppers really do work for sour stomach and or heartburn, I myself have suffered from heartburn and sour stomach in the night and morning from the food I ate for dinner, so since I own a company that grows red ghost peppers here in Florida, I had no excuse to not try it and see if it really does work and to my amazement the red ghost pepper seasoning I use on my food actually helped relief my sour stomach or heartburn from occurring. So if you don’t like taking the over the counter drugs and would like to try hot peppers as a remedy I personally have had great experience doing so. But remember to eat it with food don’t eat it with out food as that my cause discomfort as one comment above was talking about.

  2. Mike
    Reply

    After coming across the comments regarding the hot pepper remedy for heartburn in People’s Pharmacy the scientist in me couldn’t resist giving it a try. For several years I have taken omeprazole, rantidine, or antacid to combat occasional acid-reflux symptoms, especially after eating a large or greasy supper.
    Nine days ago, as an experiment, I began adding hot peppers to supper meals – grilled hamburger patty with a bunch of onions and some sliced Coyenne (hybrid variety of cayenne) peppers. I was anxious the first night but no heartburn and no medicine. I have now been adding slices (usually saute’d) peppers to eggs in the morning, meat dishes, macaroni and cheese, fried fish and “tater tots”, and anything else we have and have yet to have a problem.
    I do have the burning mouth and back of the throat sensation from the peppers but I like that, and it goes away shortly anyway. Still no heartburn, even when I eat late (8:00) and go to bed (10:30) which used to guarantee a maximum strength antacid about 1:00.
    This morning I had fried egg (and peppers), bacon, and homemade biscuits which usually are trouble by about 10:00 but today, nada. I haven’t given pizza and beer a try yet but that is coming.
    I will, of course, have to verify this by going off of the peppers to see if the heartburn returns but right now I’m enjoying this too much to go back. I’m also curious if other, not so hot, peppers work – but this is a continuing experiment on myself. I wish you luck if you try it.

  3. JMS
    Reply

    I tried the Cayenne capsules for chronic GERD for which I take Nexium. Within less than 5 minutes the cayenne caused awful heartburn even with food and Nexium. So that was $10 wasted.

  4. wl
    Reply

    I am interested in knowing how much one capsule contains cayenne pepper.

  5. DS
    Reply

    I will interested to hear whether this has helped others, and what else they have tried with success.

  6. pc
    Reply

    Nice to know. I cured my acid reflux with probiotics.

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