We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What Are the Side Effects of Capsicum Extract?

By Marlene Garcia
Updated Feb 23, 2024
Our promise to you
WiseGeek is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At WiseGeek, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject-matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

The most common side effects of capsicum extract include itching, burning, or pain when used topically on the skin. When ingested, capsicum extract might irritate the stomach or cause a runny nose and watery eyes. Consuming large portions of the extract over a long period of time might cause kidney and liver damage. Capsicum extract when used as pepper spray produces inflammation and swelling of the eyes, nasal tissues, and mouth.

Capsicum extract, often called capsicum oleoresin, comes from the fruit of hot pepper plants, including cayenne peppers, red peppers, and chili peppers. Different varieties of these plants contain various amounts of capsicum, which determines their spiciness. Paprika, for example, contains less capsicum than other spices. The peppers can be eaten whole, ground, dried, or in hot sauce.

Law enforcement uses pepper spray containing capsicum as a non-lethal weapon to subdue combative suspects. The extract typically provokes intense burning and irritation to the eyes, nose, and mouth. These tissues commonly swell as they become inflamed, causing watery eyes and a runny nose. Gagging, coughing, and trouble breathing represent other side effects that might occur.

Some skin creams contain capsicum extract used to treat arthritis and rheumatism pain. Plasters and poultices from peppers have been used for centuries to treat these conditions. The skin might burn or itch after applying capsicum oleoresin products. Some people develop a rash from the substance. If used near the nose, eyes, or mouth, irritation causing pain might occur.

A runny nose, sweating, and flushing of the skin might occur while eating hot peppers or products made from them. Some people who eat large amounts of capsicum develop ulcers or other intestinal problems from the production of increased gastric juice. Ulcers and cirrhosis of the liver developed in some animals given large doses of capsicum extract during research studies.

Capsicum extract is marketed for a wide range of other conditions, but not enough evidence points to its effectiveness for these ailments. As an alternative medicine, the extract might treat high cholesterol, circulation disorders, heart disease, and diabetes. It is sometimes used to treat symptoms of the flu, including fever, congestion, and nausea.

This substance interacts with cocaine and might increase the risk of heart attack when used with the drug. It might also interact with blood thinning medication used to address excessive clotting, including aspirin. The extract could also interfere with drugs used to treat high blood pressure.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Discussion Comments
By Hazali — On Oct 08, 2014

@RoyalSpyder - While you do make a good point about pepper spray, don't forget that it's only used in extreme cases and emergencies, such as if someone is being chased down, or if a prison riot breaks out. In these extreme cases, one of the only ways to deal with the situation is to subdue everyone in the area.

By RoyalSpyder — On Oct 07, 2014

After reading this article, one can really tell just how powerful capsicum extract is. However, it's not just the fact that it's the extract from red peppers (as seen in the image), it's also the fact that it's the extract, or source of the fruit that makes it so powerful. Using one example of an "extract" is bilberry extract.

Supposedly helpful for your eyes, though bilberries really do help in this case, bilberry extract is even more powerful, the reason being that it's a concentrated extract from the fruit of bilberries. How does this relate to the article?

Well, the same can be said for capsicum extract. Considering how it's the source of spicy peppers, anyone who gets sprayed will experience all of those fiery effects, such as itching, burning, and swelling. Not to mention that it has some great health benefits if you ingest it. Reading about this pepper spray though, it really makes me wonder if it's a safe weapon, or incredibly dangerous. After all, what if someone is allergic to peppers, and they have a bad reaction?

WiseGeek, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

WiseGeek, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.