Paprika (Cayenne) (Capsici fructus, capsici fructus acer)

Published February 1, 1990.
List of German Commission E Monographs (Phytotherapy)


Name of Drug

Capsici fructus, paprika.
Capsici fructus acer, cayenne pepper.

Composition of Drug

Paprika consists of the dried fruits of various capsaicin-rich Capsicum species [Fam. Solanaceae], as well as its preparations in effective dosage.

Cayenne pepper consists of the dried, ripe, usually removed from the calyx, fruits of Capsicum frutescens L., as well as its preparations in effective dosage.

The drugs contain capsaicinoids.


Painful muscle spasms in areas of shoulder, arm and spine of adults and school-age children.


Application on injured skin, allergies to paprika preparations.

Side Effects

In rare cases hypersensitivity reaction can occur (urticaria).

Interactions with Other Drugs

None known.

Note: No additional heat application.


Unless otherwise prescribed:

In semi-liquid preparations containing 0.02 - 0.05 percent capsaicinoids, in liquid preparations containing 0.005 - 0.01 percent capsaicinoids, in poultices containing 10 - 40 µg capsaicinoids per cm2. Mode of Administration Preparations of paprika exclusively for external uses.

Duration of Administration

Not longer than 2 days; 14 days must pass before a new application can be used in the same location.

Longer use on the same area may cause damage to sensitive nerves.

Warning: Paprika preparations irritate the mucous membranes even in very low concentrations and cause a painful burning sensation. Contact of paprika preparations with mucous membranes, especially the eyes, must be avoided.


Local Hyperemic
Local nerve-damaging.