Myriad research supports the idea that topical capsaicin is effective for neuropathy, which is a common complication in patients who have diabetes. Clinical trials using capsaicin cream and a placebo have revealed its effectiveness in relieving tingling and numbness in body appendages. In cases of intense pain, several applications might be necessary.
The mainstream medical community is supportive of capsaicin cream as an effective supplement for relieving the pain of diabetic neuropathy, when it is applied in conjunction with conventional medications. Researchers have tested the ability of capsaicin for diabetes to encourage regeneration of damaged nerves. Neuropathy heightens the risk of foot ulcers and amputated legs, so a proven ability to regrow nerves would serve to prevent these and other complications of diabetes.
Research conducted on mice with Type 1 diabetes has suggested that capsaicin injections can help restore normal insulin production. A second injection, this time with neuropeptides, appeared to eliminate the symptoms of diabetes for several months. Studies involving various other animals have suggested that capsaicin for diabetes can decrease blood sugar levels. As of 2011, however, there was not enough data involving human subjects to prove that using capsaicin for diabetes would produce similar results.
The side effects of capsaicin for diabetes include extreme burning, which might induce redness anywhere the cream is applied. Topical capsaicin should not be used on an open wound or sore because of the heat that it causes. The initial burning sensation is called a "counter-irritant" in medicine, because the patient is so focused on the heat it diverts attention from the original pain. Known capsaicin drug interactions include all non-steroidal anti-inflammatories and the prescription medicine theophylline, which is used by asthma patients.
Capsaicin is the active component that puts the hot in hot peppers. One can use capsaicin in its natural state as food therapy. It is a natural source of antioxidants, which protect against lung tissue damage on a cellular level. Capsaicin is a leading food resource for pain relief because of aspirin-like salicylates. It is one of the best broad-spectrum, well-tolerated antivirals, and it is used for its expectorant value.