Chili peppers are not only great for adding a little spice to your food, but also may be good for numbing your pain, a Harvard University study has found.
Researchers found that combining the chemical capsaicin, which gives chili peppers their spicy kick, with a topical anesthetic can diminish pain in rats without any negative side effects, the Daily Vidette reports.
Bruce P. Bean, a professor of neurobiology at Harvard Medical School, and his team published their findings in the publication Nature on Thursday.
The mechanism behind their discovery is that capsaicin binds to certain receptors, which are found only on pain-sensing neurons.
This binding allows the anesthetic QX-314 to enter nerve cells, which results in an anesthetic that can affect pain-sensing neurons effectively.