Understanding the Mechanism of Action of Capsicum Plasters: A Comprehensive Guide


Capsicum plasters, also known as kongdypatch, have been gaining popularity as a natural remedy for various ailments, from muscle pain to arthritis. But what exactly are capsicum plasters, and how do they work? In this comprehensive guide, we will delve into the mechanism of action behind capsicum plasters, exploring their ingredients, application, and effectiveness.

1. What are Capsicum Plasters?

Capsicum plasters are adhesive patches infused with extracts from the capsicum plant, commonly known as chili peppers. These plasters have been used for centuries in traditional medicine systems like Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) and Ayurveda for their analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties. The active component of capsicum plaster is capsaicin, the compound responsible for the fiery sensation experienced when consuming spicy foods.

2. The Science Behind Capsaicin

Capsaicin works by binding to receptors called transient receptor potential vanilloid 1 (TRPV1) receptors located on sensory nerve endings. When applied topically, capsaicin initially triggers a burning or warming sensation by stimulating these receptors. This sensation is followed by a period of desensitization, during which the nerves become less responsive to pain signals.

3. Mechanism of Action

Once applied to the skin, capsicum plasters slowly release capsaicin, which penetrates the skin and interacts with TRPV1 receptors. This interaction modulates the transmission of pain signals, leading to temporary relief from discomfort. Additionally, capsaicin has been shown to inhibit the production of Substance P, a neurotransmitter involved in transmitting pain signals to the brain.

4. Application and Benefits

Capsicum plasters are typically applied directly to the affected area, such as sore muscles or joints. The adhesive backing ensures that the plaster stays in place, allowing for targeted relief. These plasters are commonly used to alleviate symptoms of conditions such as arthritis, muscle strains, and back pain. Additionally, capsicum plasters may also provide relief from neuropathic pain, including diabetic neuropathy and postherpetic neuralgia.

One of the key benefits of capsicum plasters is their ability to provide localized pain relief without the side effects associated with oral medications, such as NSAIDs or opioids. Since capsaicin acts locally on the nerves, systemic side effects are minimal. However, some individuals may experience mild skin irritation or a burning sensation at the application site, particularly during the initial stages of treatment.

5. Tips for Using Capsicum Plasters

  • Before applying a capsicum plaster, ensure that the skin is clean and dry.
  • Avoid applying the plaster to broken or irritated skin, as this may exacerbate discomfort.
  • It is advisable to perform a patch test on a small area of skin before using the plaster extensively, especially for individuals with sensitive skin.
  • Capsicum plasters should not be applied to mucous membranes or near the eyes.
  • Wash hands thoroughly after handling capsicum plasters to prevent accidental contact with sensitive areas.


In conclusion, capsicum plasters, or kongdypatch, offer a natural and effective solution for managing various types of pain. By harnessing the power of capsaicin, these plasters provide targeted relief without the systemic side effects associated with oral medications. Understanding the mechanism of action behind capsicum plasters allows individuals to make informed decisions about their use and incorporate them into their pain management regimen safely. Whether it’s relieving muscle soreness after a workout or alleviating the symptoms of chronic conditions like arthritis, capsicum plasters offer a versatile and accessible option for pain relief.

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