Relieve Headaches With Hot Peppers

Reader Mike writes in with advice on how to kill those brain-wrenching migraines without drowsy medications. All you need is a few hot peppers.

Photo by John Winkelman/Flickr.

I have been a migraine sufferer for most of my life and I've tried many different prescription fixes. Some of them work, but my current prescription (Midrin) causes major drowsiness. Finally, a doctor recommended I try hot peppers. The capsaicin in the peppers has been used as a natural pain reliever for some time. I tried it first with chipotle peppers which are smoky and pleasant although still quite hot. It worked! As a matter of fact when combined with a cup of coffee (caffeine is a common drug used in over the counter drugs for the treatment of migraines), the peppers almost always successfully stem the onset of bad headaches. Eventually, I found a place locally that makes a habanero cream cheese that tastes great and does the job. This may not work for everyone, but I thought it was worth contributing. Migraines really are pretty terrible and the science of prevention is terribly lacking in medicine.

It should also be noted that not all peppers are created equally when it comes to capsaicin. The more common jalapeños and cayenne are fairly low in capsaicin, even though they are still hot. Most of the more exotic peppers found in Central and South American foods tend to be higher in capsaicin content. Experiment to find what works for you.

A quick Google search reveals that there is a lot of talk about this remedy, so it's pretty well-founded. Got your own home remedy for headaches? Share it with us in the comments.


    Nitrous oxide is meant to be really good for migraines as well. You can get a box of the little canisters for cream whippers really cheap and it's very safe to use. Just don't inhale directly from the canister, use a balloon.

    This being Australia, we call them Chilli Peppers, and Capsicum! Which is it, because Hot Chilli will rip my guts apart, but I love Capsicum?

      Jaezass, capsaicin is the chemical in all peppers (capsicums to chilli peppers) that makes them hot. The article means this, not a misspelling of capsicum.

      Some have very little, like a capsicum, or a lot, like a Bhut Jolokia.

    Australia needs more of a tolerance for chili.
    We are enormous pussies when it comes to this.

    rather than alleviating my pain with food or medicine, i find that redirecting it towards the users of this website works a treat!

      I can't believe it's not Ecky - tastes just like the real thing!

    Has this article been truncated? I have no idea what I'm supposed to do with the peppers. I see that cream cheese is referred to but I am wondering if the peppers have to be fresh or can they be cooked. Am I supposed to eat them or drink them in my coffee? Very confused.... Maybe I'll just open them up and rub them all over my head.

    Mince hottest peppers you can find and apply directly to genitalia. Resulting tingling sensation will COMPLETELY distract you from your migraine...

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