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Capsicum

¿Qué es?

El capsicum, también conocido como pimienta roja o chile, es una hierba. El fruto de la planta de capsicum se usa con fines medicinales.

El capsicum se usa para varios problemas de la digestión incluyendo malestares estomacales, gas intestinal, dolor de estómago, diarrea y calambres. Se usa también para problemas del corazón y de los vasos sanguíneos incluyendo baja circulación de la sangre, coagulación excesiva de la sangre, colesterol alto y para prevenir las enfermedades del corazón.

Se usa para aliviar el dolor de muelas, para los mareos, el alcoholismo, la malaria y la fiebre. También se usa para ayudar a la gente que tiene dificultad para tragar.

Algunas personas aplican el capsicum a la piel para el dolor causado por el herpes zóster, la osteoartritis, la artritis reumática y la fibromialgia. También se usa en forma tópica para el dolor de nervio (neuropatía) asociado con la diabetes y el VIH, otros tipos de dolor de nervio (neuralgia) y para el dolor de espalda.

El capsicum también se usa sobre la piel para aliviar los espasmos musculares, como gárgaras para la faringitis y como ayuda para disuadir a la gente de chuparse los dedos o morderse las uñas.

Algunas personas se ponen ají adentro de la nariz para el tratamiento de la fiebre de heno, los dolores de cabeza de migraña, las cefaleas en salvas y las infecciones de los senos nasales (sinusitis).

Una clase de capsicum está siendo estudiada en la actualidad como un fármaco para las migrañas, la osteoartritis y otras afecciones dolorosas.

Una forma particular de capsicum produce un dolor de ojos intenso y otros efectos desagradables cuando entra en contacto con la cara. Esta forma se utiliza en los aerosoles de pimienta que se usan para la defensa propia.

¿Qué tan efectivo es?

Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database (La Base Exhaustiva de Datos de Medicamentos Naturales) clasifica la eficacia, basada en evidencia científica, de acuerdo a la siguiente escala: Eficaz, Probablemente Eficaz, Posiblemente Eficaz, Posiblemente Ineficaz, Probablemente Ineficaz, Ineficaz, e Insuficiente Evidencia para Hacer una Determinación.

La clasificación de la eficacia para este producto es la siguiente:

Probablemente eficaz para...

  • El dolor de la artritis reumática (AR), la osteoartritis, la psoriasis, el herpes zóster y el dolor de nervio debido a la diabetes (neuropatía diabética) cuando se aplica a la piel en el área afectada. El ingrediente activo del capsicum, capsaicina, está aprobado por la Administración de Drogas y Alimentos (FDA) para estos usos.

Posiblemente eficaz para...

  • El dolor de espalda, cuando se aplica a la piel.
  • Disminuir los puntos dolorosos y sensibles en las personas con fibromialgia, cuando se aplica a la piel.
  • Disminuir los síntomas de prurigo nodularis, una enfermedad a la piel, cuando se aplica a la piel. Puede tomar entre 22 semanas y hasta 33 meses de tratamiento para obtener un beneficio. Los síntomas pueden volver después de que se deja de tomar el capsicum.
  • Las cefaleas en salvas, cuando se usa en la nariz. El capsicum parece reducir el número y severidad de las cefaleas en salvas. Es mejor aplicar el capsicum en la nariz del mismo lado de la cabeza adonde ocurre el dolor de cabeza.
  • Aliviar los síntomas de la rinitis perenne, una condición en la que hay goteo de la nariz pero que no está asociado con alergias o infecciones, cuando se usa en la nariz. A veces, el beneficio puede durar por 6 a 9 meses.

Posiblemente ineficaz para...

  • El dolor de nervios asociado con el VIH o SIDA, cuando se aplica a la piel.

Insuficiente evidencia para hacer una determinación para...

  • Las úlceras estomacales. Hay evidencia que sugiere que la gente que come el fruto del capsicum (ají) en un promedio de 24 veces al mes parece tener menor probabilidad de tener una úlcera que aquellas que comen aji en un promedio de 8 veces al mes. Esto incluye el ají en la forma de ají en polvo, salsa de ají, curry en polvo y otros alimentos que contienen ají.
  • La acidez. Investigaciones iniciales sugieren que los síntomas de acidez disminuyen cuando se toman cápsulas de polvo de pimienta roja (que contiene capsicum) 3 veces al día antes de las comidas. Pero en algunas personas, los síntomas empeoran antes de mejorar.
  • El síndrome del intestino irritable (SII). Evidencia preliminar sugiere que el comer el fruto del capsicum no ayuda a los síntomas del SII.
  • La fiebre del heno. Hasta el momento hay evidencia conflictiva acerca de la eficacia del capsicum para disminuir los síntomas de la fiebre de heno.
  • Los pólipos en la nariz. El poner capsicum en la nariz parece mejorar los síntomas y el flujo de aire.
  • Las dificultades para tragar. Algunas personas, especialmente las personas de edad avanzada o aquellos que han sufrido un accidente cerebro-vascular, tienen mayor probabilidad de desarrollar “neumonía por aspiración”. Esta es una clase de neumonía que se desarrolla después de que comida o saliva es aspirada por las vías respiratorias porque la persona no pudo tragar correctamente. Hay cierta evidencia que indica que disolviendo en la boca, antes de cada comida, un caramelo (lozenge) que contiene capsaicina se puede mejorar la habilidad para tragar en los ancianos que tienen dificultad para hacerlo.
  • El cólico.
  • Los calambres.
  • El dolor de muelas.
  • Los coágulos sanguíneos.
  • La fiebre.
  • Las náuseas.
  • El colesterol alto.
  • La enfermedad al corazón.
  • Los dolores de cabeza de migraña.
  • Los espasmos musculares.
  • La laringitis.
  • Otras afecciones.
Se necesita más evidencia para aprobar el capsicum para estos usos.

¿Cómo funciona?

El fruto de la planta de capsicum contiene una sustancia química llamada capsaicina. Al parecer la capsaicina disminuye las sensaciones de dolor cuando se aplica a la piel.

¿Hay preocupación por la seguridad de su uso?

Las lociones y cremas medicinales que contienen extracto de capsicum PROBABLEMENTE SON SEGURAS para la mayoría de los adultos cuando se aplican a la piel. El ingrediente activo en capsicum, capsaicina, está aprobado por el FDA como un producto que se puede vender sin receta médica.

Los efectos secundarios pueden incluir irritación de la piel, ardor y comezón. El capsicum puede también ser muy irritante para los ojos, la nariz y la garganta. No use capsicum en áreas de la piel muy sensibles o alrededor de los ojos.

El extracto de capsicum PROBABLEMENTE ES SEGURO para la mayoría de los adultos cuando se toma por vía oral, por un corto tiempo y en las cantidades en las que típicamente se encuentra en los alimentos. Los efectos secundarios pueden incluir irritación y malestar estomacal, transpiración, enrojecimiento de la piel y goteo de nariz. El tomar capsicum, por vía oral, en grandes dosis y por un largo tiempo POSIBLEMENTE NO ES SEGURO. En raros casos, esto puede llevar a efectos secundarios más graves como daño hepático o renal.

El extracto de capsicum cuando se usa en la nariz POSIBLEMENTE ES SEGURO. No se han reportado efectos secundarios graves, pero la aplicación en la nariz puede ser muy dolorosa. La aplicación nasal puede producir dolor quemante, estornudos, ojos llorosos y goteo de nariz. Estos efectos secundarios tienden a disminuir y desaparecer después de 5 días de uso repetido.

Advertencias y precauciones especiales:

Embarazo y lactancia: El capsicum POSIBLEMENTE ES SEGURO cuando se aplica a la piel durante el embarazo. Pero no se tiene suficiente información acerca de su seguridad si se toma por vía oral. Sea precavida y evite su uso si está embarazada.

Si usted está amamantando, el usar capsicum sobre la piel POSIBLEMENTE ES SEGURO. Pero POSIBLEMENTE NO ES SEGURO para su bebé si toma capsicum por vía oral. Ha habido informes de problemas a la piel (dermatitis) en los infantes que están siendo amamantados cuando las madres comen alimentos muy condimentados con capsicum (ají).

Niños: POSIBLEMENTE NO ES SEGURO aplicar capsicum a la piel de los niños menores de 2 años. No se tiene suficiente información acerca de la seguridad de dar capsicum por vía oral a los niños. No lo haga.

Piel dañada: No use capsicum sobre la piel dañada.

Cirugía: El capsicum podría aumentar la pérdida de sangre durante y después de la cirugía. Deje de usar capsicum por lo menos 2 semanas antes de una cirugía.

¿Existen interacciones con medicamentos?

Moderadas
Tenga cuidado con esta combinación
Cocaína
La cocaína tiene muchos efectos secundarios peligrosos. El usar capsicum junto con cocaína podría aumentar los efectos secundarios de la cocaína incluyendo ataques al corazón y muerte.
Medicamentos que retardan la coagulación sanguínea (Fármacos Anticoagulantes / Antiplaquetarios)
El capsicum podría retardar la coagulación sanguínea. El tomar capsicum junto con medicamentos que también retardan la coagulación podría aumentar la posibilidad de producir hematomas y pérdida de sangre.

Algunos de los medicamentos que retardan la coagulación sanguínea incluyen a aspirina, clopidrogel (Plavix), diclofenac (Voltaren, Cataflam, otros), ibuprofeno (Advil, Motrin, otros), naproxeno (Anaprox, Naprosyn, otros), dalteparin (Fragmin), enoxaparin (Lovenox), heparina, warfarina (Coumadin) y otros.
Teofilina
El capsicum puede aumentar la cantidad de teofilina que el cuerpo puede absorber. El tomar capsicum junto con teofilina podría aumentar los efectos y efectos secundarios de la teofilina.
Menores
Preste atención a esta combinación
Medicamentos para la presión arterial alta (Inhibidores de ACE)
Algunos medicamentos para la presión arterial alta podrían producir tos. Hay un informe de alguien cuya tos empeoró cuando usó una crema con capsicum junto con estos medicamentos para la presión arterial alta. Pero no está claro si esta interacción es una gran preocupación.

Algunos medicamentos para la presión arterial alta incluyen al captoprila (Capoten), enalaprila (Vasotec), lisinoprila (Prinivil, Zestril), ramiprila (Altace) y otros.

¿Existen interacciones con hierbas y suplementos?

Coca
El usar capsicum (incluyendo la exposición al capsicum en el aerosol de pimienta) y coca podría aumentar los efectos y el riesgo de efectos adversos de la cocaína en la coca.
Hierbas y suplementos que retardan la coagulacion
El capsicum podría retardar la coagulación sanguínea. El tomar capsicum con hierbas y suplementos que también retardan la coagulación podría causar aumentar el riesgo de sufrir hematomas y pérdida de sangre en algunas personas. Estas hierbas incluyen angélica, clavos de olor, salvia miltiorrhiza, ajo, jengibre, ginkgo, ginseng Panax y otras.

¿Existen interacciones con alimentos?

No se conoce ninguna interacción con alimentos.

¿Qué dosis se utiliza?

Las siguientes dosis han sido estudiadas en investigaciones científicas:

APLICACIÓN A LA PIEL:
  • Para el dolor, incluyendo artritis, neuropatía y fibromialgia: se aplica 3 a 4 veces al día una crema que contiene capsaicina, el ingrediente activo del capsicum. Puede tomar hasta 14 días para obtener el mayor alivio del dolor. La mayoría de las cremas contienen entre 0,025% a 0,075% de capsaicina. Preparaciones de mayor concentración se pueden usar para la neuropatía diabética.
  • Para el dolor de espalda se usan parches que contienen 11 mg de capsaicina por parche o 22 mcg/cm2 de parche. El parche se aplica una vez al día en la mañana y se deja en su lugar por 4 a 8 horas.
  • Para el prurigo nodularis: se han usado cremas con 0,025% a 0,3% de capsaicina, el ingrediente activo del capsicum y se aplica 4 a 6 veces al día.
Asegúrese de lavarse las manos después de aplicar la crema de capsaicina. El uso de una solución diluida de vinagre funciona muy bien. El uso de solamente agua no es suficiente para remover la capsaicina. No use preparaciones de capsaicina cerca de los ojos o en áreas de la piel que están sensibles. Podría producir ardor.

DENTRO DE LA NARIZ:
  • Para las cefaleas en salvas: se usa 0,1 ml de una suspensión 10mM de capsaicina, que provee 300 mcg/día de capsaicina. Se aplica a la fosa nasal del lado de la cabeza en el que se tiene el dolor de cabeza. Aplique la suspensión una vez al día hasta que desaparezca la sensación de ardor. Una crema con 0,025% de capsaicina (Zostrix, Rodlen Laboratories) que se aplica una vez al día por 7 días se ha usado para el tratamiento de los ataques agudos de cefaleas en salvas.
El poner capsaicina en la nariz puede ser muy doloroso, de manera que muy a menudo primero se usa lidocaina para aliviar el dolor local.

Otros nombres

African Bird Pepper, African Chillies, African Pepper, Aji, Bird Pepper, Capsaicin, Capsaïcine, Capsicum annuum, Capsicum baccatum, Capsicum chinense, Capsicum Fruit, Capsicum frutescens, Capsicum minimum, Capsicum Oleoresin, Capsicum pubescens, Cayenne, Cayenne Fruit, Cayenne Pepper, Chili, Chili Pepper, Chilli, Chillies, Cis-capsaicin, Civamide, Garden Pepper, Goat's Pod, Grains of Paradise, Green Chili Pepper, Green Pepper, Hot Pepper, Hungarian Pepper, Ici Fructus, Katuvira, Lal Mirchi, Louisiana Long Pepper, Louisiana Sport Pepper, Mexican Chilies, Mirchi, Oleoresin capsicum, Paprika, Paprika de Hongrie, Pili-pili, Piment de Cayenne, Piment Enragé, Piment Fort, Piment-oiseau, Pimento, Poivre de Cayenne, Poivre de Zanzibar, Poivre Rouge, Red Pepper, Sweet Pepper, Tabasco Pepper, Trans-capsaicin, Zanzibar Pepper, Zucapsaicin, Zucapsaïcine.

Metodología

Para saber más sobre cómo este artículo fue escrito, refiérase a la metodología de la Base exhaustiva de datos de medicamentos naturales.

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Documento revisado - 05/26/2017