Last month I bit into an unlabeled pepper that turned out to be a cayenne pepper. I spent the next two hours dunking my head into a sink full of water while my mouth burned, my eyes teared up, and my cheeks turned red and became swollen.

That wasn't a very good remedy for the pain. Are there any better ways of reducing or removing the pain caused by spicy foods?

  • Oh, I feel sorry for you! – L.B. Jan 13 '15 at 17:39

14 Answers 14

up vote 29 down vote accepted

The cause for the pain from spicy food is often something called capsaicin (which is in chili). Other possibilities include piperine (pepper) or Isothiocyanate (wasabi and related)

Capsaicin is not soluble in water, and drinking water just spreads it through your mouth further. Instead it's soluble in fat and fat-based lotions.
The same applies to the other mentioned chemical compounds. Some are easily soluble in Ethanol (better known as alcohol).

What you want to do accordingly is drink milk, eat yogurt or similar fat-based foods to ease the pain. Alternatively you could try an alcoholic beverage, but they are effective against less kinds of "hot"

  • Why not include antidotes to allyl isothiocyanates (in horseradish, mustard, etc), piperine (in black pepper), and the rest? They're not all the same. – J. Musser Dec 10 '14 at 18:03
  • 2
    @J.Mussser because I have no clue what these were even called.. – Vogel612 Dec 10 '14 at 18:04
  • 3
    Well now you don't have that excuse... :) – J. Musser Dec 10 '14 at 18:04
  • 2
    I edited it to emphasize whole milk. Reduced fat milk is much less effective. I don't think alcoholic beverages do much besides distract you from the pain, so I wouldn't recommend them. – Adam Miller Dec 11 '14 at 0:29
  • 1
    Rice helps a lot too. – papakias Aug 22 '16 at 9:44

What has worked for me is drinking some cool milk or eating bread.

The water usually doesn't help me; sometimes it even makes it worse.

  • 1
    Bread does a good job cutting the spice. – Scimonster Dec 10 '14 at 16:53
  • I never knew about bread! Had heard about milk but assumed it was an old wives' tale. – Nick Udell Dec 11 '14 at 11:15

Rub some Bacon on it. The bacon grease, being fat based, will ease the burning sensation.

There are two answers to this. The first, for the

holy omg what did I just do to myself

burning, milk and yogurt are the best options, as was mentioned above. The second, for the

I don't want to experience that again

you are better off increasing your heat tolerance. First, figure out how hot you can eat and eat but are feeling a burn, whatever level of burn you can handle without needing the first remedy. Then slightly increase the heat and continue until the burn is like it was before. Repeat until you are eating habaneros without needing help to cool. Just a warning, this takes time. It took me about a year to go from jalapeños to habaneros. I started by eating bagels with plain cream cheese and fresh jalapeños mixed in to the cheese. The reason to increase your heat tolerance is twofold. First, you'll be able to taste and enjoy the flavor of what is delivering the heat. I was blown away to find out habaneros are sweet. The second is that the burn, even when you eat outside your comfort zone, will not only hurt less, but for less time.

You should drink milk to counteract the initial pain of the pepper. If you have any burning in your stomach from eating something so spicy, milk should help that as well.

Eating bread, rice or crackers will also help quite well. After trying one of these, you could also suck on ice - just to help with the after effects.

In summary: to counteract the heat of a hot pepper, your best options are milk or some form of bread or starchy product. And whatever you do, don't drink water to counter the spice, that will just spread the heat around.

Try 'eating' an egg yolk not cooked, but in liquid state, it help a lot for me.
I could even eat a lot of chili withoud feeling the burning sensation with egg yolk.

Coconut milk works for me, as do papaya and mango. The bigger issue I have is the hot stuff on the way out ... Seriously, it burns.

You may try to eat raw ginger as it has a powerful flavour that you can easily forget about the spicy food and burning sensation. It has also powerful anti-inflammatory properties and stimulates digestive juices and the flow of enzymes that help you digest your spicy food. In some parts of the world, ginger juice is applied to the skin to treat burns (so this is what you need right now:)

As interesting fact, ginger in sushi is used not only as a flavour-enhancer, but it also used to kill the acquired taste between the portions.

For neutralising bad food from your stomach, try to take some activated charcoal which will absorb toxins without overworking your liver.

Normal heat beats spicy heat. Put something temperature hot (but not scalding) on your tongue. It will hurt more for one second and then the chilli pain will instantly be gone. Things like a hot piece of flat bread will work fine.

I used to be addicted to chilis when I was younger, nothing was ever spicy enough; however, I've been a bit ill lately and have become sensitive to many things, including chilis. I enjoy the taste but the skin on my lips, in my mouth, tongue and esophagus is too weak to handle the intense spicyness of certain chilis these days. I've learned that either you avoid them or you eat loads of rice or drink/eat something really creamy to help with the burn (I don't eat dairy so I usually opt for a bowl of steamed rice or a glass of soymilk or a soy yoghurt). The best stomach remedy would be some probiotics and Alka-Seltzer or the like. My grandma used to just mix a 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda (not baking powder!) into a 1/2 glass of water and drink that every 2 to 4 hours, but no more than seven of these 1/2 glasses per day, per the instructions listed on the baking soda packages.

Eat or drink milk and milk products like yoghurt, as mentioned before. If you are allergic or intolerant of dairy, most or all usual milk substitutes and their products will work as well.
Coconut milk is often used in some of the Asian cuisines and fits very well with the kind of food.

If you have a range, the low fat options will work less than the ones containing some or more fat.

Also from own experience, eat bread or plain rice, or other plain food that is not spicy. Boiled potatos are often working, beans which are not mixed with sauce can do the trick.
As can a mouth full of salad, specially if it also has some fat in the dresssing.

Raw onions make the pain go completely away... we used to challenge each other when I worked at Dominos, and we discovered eating the chopped onions after a bag of crushed red pepper cures the pain. I don't know how or why though.

Beer always works for me. Specifically something amber/blond in color and not crazy strong. A pilsner, lager, or maybe a hefeweisen.

I've always assumed it's the alcohol, though it could be the carbon dioxide reacting with the pH of the capsaicin.

What works well for me is using my toothbrush to brush my tongue. But do not add toothpaste, just cold water.

Your Answer

 

By clicking "Post Your Answer", you acknowledge that you have read our updated terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy, and that your continued use of the website is subject to these policies.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.