Capsaicin is used in topical ointments and creams to relieve minor aches and pains of muscles and joints. Capsaicin is also available in large adhesive bandages that can be applied to the back. Concentrations are typically between 0.025% and 0.075%. Research suggests that capsaicin is able to kill prostate cancer cells. The studies showed tumors treated with capsaicin were about one-fifth the size of the untreated tumors. One study suggests capsaicin may be effective against lung cancer cells and researchers in Canada are testing capsaicin as a cure for diabetes.
Capsaicin is the active ingredient in pepper spray. When the spray comes in contact with skin, especially eyes or mucous membranes, it is very painful.
Capsaicin can be used to deter many pests, such as squirrels, chipmunks and other annoying animals. Capsaicin can be used as an additive to birdseed, since birds are unaffected by capsaicin. Insects are also unaffected.
Capsaicin is an attractive alternative to the currently used toxic metal-based anti-foulants for protecting submerged surfaces such as the hulls of boats.