Can drinking cayenne tea help with my allergies?

The essential ingredient in cayenne pepper is capsaicin, which is used for many things, from rubs that treat sore muscles to pepper sprays used for self-defense. It is also found in certain nasal sprays to alleviate congestion in people with sinus issues. But, sadly, there is no research to support the claim that drinking it in hot tea will help with your allergies.

At the very least, if the tea is spicy enough, it may trigger a runny nose in the same way that eating spicy foods can, and this might bring some minor relief if your allergies are stuffing you up. People who’ve tried it say that it’s like a “clearing-out.”

But I don’t recommend following their lead. Aside from being only a temporary solution, the spiciness of the tea can upset your stomach. Plus, if it’s making your nose run, there’s the possibility that it will backfire by adding more mucus. What you really want is prevention. If you haven’t already, see an allergist to determine exactly what your triggers are so you can avoid them. And, if needed, take an antihistamine or use a steroid nasal spray daily to get ahead of stuffiness.

Health‘s medical editor, Roshini Rajapaksa, MD, is assistant professor of medicine at the NYU School of Medicine and co-founder of Tula Skincare.

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