If you have ever gotten chili oil in your eyes, you know it’s not fun. But you might not know that the reaction is similar to what happens when a person gets a migraine. Researchers are hoping that this fact enables them to create a drug that will stop migraines before they start.
Here is how. The chemical in chili peppers is called capsaicin. The pain from a migraine and the pain from putting capsaicin on your skin come from the same reaction: Calcitonin gene-related peptides, or CGRP, cause increased blood flow. This increased blood flow leads to pain. Simple. They got that one figured out. What scientists have been trying to figure out now is how to make and manufacture a drug that inhibits this release of CGRP, so the migraine never starts. And they think they may have gotten somewhere, because they’ve developed a drug that prevents people from feeling pain when they come in contact with capsaicin.
Just so we’re clear, there’s no chili in the drug. It’s just that the reaction to the chili is similar to the reaction to the headache. We don’t want you headache sufferers to run out and put a chili in your ear.
Chili Peppers Seen Helping 36 Million Migraine Sufferers, Bloomberg News.