Can this Spice Stop a Heart Attack in its Tracks?

What would you do if you were with someone who clutched their chest and said they suspected a heart attack? Of course, your first action would be to call 911. But it might take a few minutes for an ambulance to arrive. A number of sources on the internet say there is one more thing you can do in such an emergency. You can reach into your pantry for a helpful natural remedy you probably have on hand.

A majority of Americans now seek out alternative medicine treatments for health conditions large and small. They prefer to use products that are grown in the earth, and contain no toxic chemicals. Whether or not you are personally a proponent of alternative remedies, it is encouraging to think you may have access to a powerful ingredient that could help a heart attack victim.

That natural remedy many people believe in is cayenne pepper. In his research, herbalist John Christopher discovered the power of this herb by testing fifty different herbal formulas. Cayenne was found to be the most effective, stopping heart attacks in less than one minute.

Mainstream scientific research is also often cited to support the use of cayenne pepper with heart attack victims. W. Keith Jones, Ph.D, who is now with Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine, led a 2009 experiment that showed capsaicin, the active ingredient in cayenne pepper, protected the heart muscle of mice. Unfortunately, his experiment was unable to determine the amount of capsaicin that might be helpful to heart attack victims without causing harm. He is now investigating the possibility of an acupuncture patch that triggers the same nerves as the capsaicin. No human studies have yet been done.

Cayenne is among the most popular of the chili peppers. It contains at least 90,000 Scoville units, the measurement that gauges the heat in a various foods. The recommendation is to use cayenne with a person who is still conscious, give the victim a glass of water with a teaspoon of the pepper. If the victim is unconscious, you can put some of the cayenne pepper extract under their tongue.

This spice raises the victim’s heart rate, so that it will more efficiently pump blood to all parts of the body. Using cayenne will balance circulation, and the theory is that this treatment can provide the extra critical minutes victims need to survive until medical assistance arrives.

Medical doctors are hesitant to support this idea, however. You might ask, if cayenne could possibly help, why not use it? The answer is that cayenne may not be compatible with aspirin, and aspirin has been more widely studied.

Research indicates taking an aspirin during heart attack reduces death rates by 20 to 30 percent. Aspirin may accomplish this by thinning the blood, and since cayenne is also a blood thinner, the combination may cause dangerous bleeding.