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This won't be news to anyone who has ever found themselves sneezing, sweating, coughing and gasping for water after ingesting a spoonful of ghost chili jam, but now it's official: Hot chili peppers may help people clear up certain types of sinus inflammation.
Researchers at the University of Cincinnati tested a nasal spray containing Capsicum annum (an ingredient derived from spicy chili peppers) against a placebo nasaly spray. The results: the capsaicin-containing nasal spray was safe and effective in treating non-allergic rhinitis. (Capsaicin is the stuff that gives chili peppers their hot sensation. Rhinitis is the sciencey way of saying "stuffy nose.") The results will be published in the August 2011 edition of Annals of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology.
What does this all mean? Soon the cold and flu section of your local drugstore could be filled with serrano-tinged nasal sprays and habanero cold tablets. Okay, only in our dreams.