Home Remedies – The Underlying Science of Ayurveda

Chilli Peppers
In Ayurveda, the ancient elaborate science of life, diet has been given extreme importance. Dietary assessment is an essential and one of the most important aspects in Ayurvedic therapy. In certain cases, dietary management in itself would be sufficient in the whole management. In India, the use of several herbs and vegetables is incorporated in daily diet, cooking, festivals and ceremonies. it is so much a part of daily life that people from India or of Indian origin do not think twice about the so-called “home remedies” as real medicines which have proven benefit of preventing as well as curing illnesses. At Sherwood Ayurveda Clinic in London, therapeutic Ayurvedic principles are successfully used for patient management.

In this article, the therapeutic benefits of chilli peppers is discussed.

Although originated in central southern America, chilli has become a universally used cooking product and is freely used in Mexican, Indian and European cooking. Chilli is used in lentil and vegetable as well as meat curries, salads, pickles and chutneys. It is also eaten raw or shallow fried. Chilli has a high level of vitamin C (ascorbic acid). Eating one capsicum (also known as bell pepper) a day would provide the complete daily requirement of vitamin C. Raw green chilli contains 111miligrams of Vitamin C.

Chillies provoke an almost instantaneous release of ptylin from the salivary glands which aid the digestion of carbohydrates. Chillies aid digestion and at the cellular level it helps the absorption of oxygen. It stimulates the adrenal glands for the production of corticosteroids- the hormones associated with “fight or flight” mechanism. Chillies also aid the production of digestive juices in the stomach and small intestine stimulates the appetite and helps with mild stomach cramps.

Amongst the many therapeutic uses of chillies, its pain-relieving properties has generated a huge scientific interest in the western medical researchers. A specific chemical in the pungent chilli pepper “capsaicin” has been found to be effective in the clinical management of pain associated with inflammation, metabolic imbalances such as diabetes, HIV and even cancer.

Capsaicin applied as a patch on the skin for a given duration (1-2 hours) and a specific concentration is a safe and effective analgesic (Schumacher M, Pain Practice, Volume 10, Issue 3, 2010 185-200).

Further research indicates that use of capsaicin based ointments could be a way forward for effective topical analgesia thereby reducing the need for oral painkillers thereby reducing the side effects associated with them.

Capsaicin can provide pain relief for chronic conditions such as back pain, arthritis, peripheral neropathies, and post herpatic neuralgia.

Sushma Shethna MSc (Phy) MSc (Ayu).

Practice Principal
The Sherwood Clinic. London. HA2 0NP.

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