Chili oil is prepared by infusing chili peppers with a base oil like sesame oil.Chili oil has numerous amount of health benefits associated with it.This has been used since decade in Chinese and Thai cooking.

What do you do when you come home,  late and tired from a crazy day at work or back to back classes, and all you find in the fridge is some leftover rice or cold noodles.

The perfect solution that comes to your mind at once might be just stirring in some of the ‘oh-so-easy’ chilli oil and getting a whole new dish in minutes.

Chilli oil, a very common ingredient in Asian cooking – especially Chinese and Thai, is a simple oil infused with chilli peppers though the ingredients might be different according to regions.

What may come as a surprise though is that this very same condiment is also high on health benefits?

There can be many different combinations of ingredients used for the oil, usually, it’s a mix of chilli in oil, but it can be fresh or cayenne peppers, or you can mix in ginger and turmeric like in the Japanese Rayu.

The Italians make a similar oil with an olive oil base known Oil de peperoncino. The Szechuan chili used in Szechuan chili oil is obtained from the seeds of Capsicum annum.

Health Benefits Of Chilli Oil

1. To keep yourself warm

First, since its winter, I will start with how to keep yourself all warm and fuzzy even in the outside chill. Since ancient time forms of chili oil has been used in European cultures to protect oneself from the cold.

The first thing that comes to our mind when we think of pepper or chilli is irritation or stinging and a general reaction to keep it away from our eyes. But this exact characteristic makes chilli the champion ingredient in warming oils.

Chilli causes stinging and then swelling, but it makes our skin insensitive to the pain and circulation increases in that area. So it works great on stiff, sore areas or cold limbs.

For the body warming oil, you can use very common ingredients always present in the kitchen. Take 150ml of oil (vegetable or olive will do fine!) and then mix in 2 Tb. Chilli pepper (dry), 1 Tb. Powdered mustard and ½ Tb. Ginger powder.

This will give you a bright orange liquid.  [Please note that this recipe is only for external use and not consumption.] If you are more comfortable with creams or ointments, you can simply mix in some beeswax (1 part beeswax in 7 parts oil) and carry it around too, in case you are travelling.

2. Hair Care

Now let’s go on to the precious dead cells adorning our heads.With all this pollution and the huge amounts of iron in the water in metro cities and now the UV rays, we are struggling to keep some hair left on our heads.

Then you straighten your hair one day, and all that heat makes them fall off; if you don’t actually provide some nourishment. So here’s some warm stuff that will make baby hair pop up instead of falling off.

There are bloggers and experts swearing that ever their grey haired grannies are getting new hair growing, having used chili oil. Yes, the thought of using an irritant on your scalp might terrify you but desperate times ask for desperate measures.

How to use

If you want to use it for your hair take any un-medicated hair oil from your shelf and mix in hot chilli powder (not too much though) and the hotter the better. Divide your hair into parts and massage the oil into your scalp and keep for at least half an hour or more if you can. It will itch or there might be burning sensations, but that’s how it works, so do not worry.

Wash it out with your normal shampoo, keep doing it for four weeks, 3 times a week and the experts guarantee you will have new and better textured hair growing very soon. The secret behind is that as the chilli comes in contact with your head, the subsequent stinging increases the blood circulation in your scalp which makes new hair come up.

If you have been having trouble with your hair even after all the water you drink and the protein and vitamin intake, this might be something that turns out to be the ultimate solution.

You can use Essential oil for Hair or Mahabhringraj oil for hair growth and dealing with different hair problems.

3. Cure for Skin Diseases

Going on to more serious problems, chilli oil is known to be a solution for psoriasis. For those who do not know, psoriasis is an auto-immune disease resulting in red scaly patches over parts of your skin.

To anyone seeking relief from the problem can mix up chili oil with anything that soothes your skin like beeswax or aloevera and then apply them over psoriatic lesions.

If you are suffering from any kind of pain like knee joint pain or muscle pain you can use this home remedy here too, applying the oil over the affected areas and massaging it into the skin. Also, your so very frequent shoulder aches might have bursitis as its cause, and here too chilli oil is one of the things that might bring relief.

Capsaicin that is the main component of the chili is one of the few substances to provide relief in fibromyalgia. Also, it can bring an end to all kinds of awkward itches though you must be careful not to use this for delicate areas or private body parts.

4. Pain reliever

Capsaicin is a well-known analgesic which numbs affected area on an application of the oil and blocks spread of the painful sensations through the neurons. Capsaicin is a very effective pain reliever and very popular for use among people suffering from osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.

This study finds that about 80 % of arthritic patients get significant pain relief within two weeks of regular usage. For this very reason, many creams and ointments use capsaicin nowadays to be used as painkillers.

You can mix the oil with some beeswax at home and use it for rheumatic and arthritic pains.

5. Neuralgia

Capsaicin is also known to be useful to people suffering from neuralgia. It relieves the characteristic burning pain which feels like an electric shock. Chili oil reduces pain in other forms of neuralgia also, like diabetic neuropathy.

Capsaicin is of further help since it gives relief from the acute pain caused due to trigeminal neuralgia, a condition that where one suffers from facial pain along the trigeminal nerve.

Experts vouch for strong evidence that capsaicin based ointments and are very effective in reducing the sometimes unbearable irritation in the nervous system related pain and tingling.

6. Prevents Cancer

Chili oil increases the immunity and provides the human body the capability to fight with the germs and protect oneself from the germs that are present in the external atmosphere.

Chilli oil is a rich in vitamins and minerals which it gets from the chilli peppers infused in it and gives one sufficient amount of minerals that the body needs.

Capsaicin is strong; being the main ingredient of chilli oil, it increases the body heat and also makes the body strong enough to fight the cancer cell to spread when it is already present in the body.

Turmeric Essential Oil is also considered as anti-cancerous oil. It cn also be used.

7. Fights Ulcer

It is the general opinion that peppers add to stomach ulcers due to their stinging properties. But they do not bring about ulcer; rather they help avoid the same by eliminating microscopic organisms that might have been ingested while protecting the cells covering the stomach to discharge curing liquids.

This condiment, if taken on a regular basis, can reduce the risk of type 2-diabetes. People suffering from the most common problem of obesity might get help by having the oil as an essential part of their diet as it smoothens the blood and makes it thin so that it flows properly in the body.

8. Slimming Properties

Chilli oil increases metabolism, so for people who have genetically inherited low metabolism rates which stop you from getting thin, faster, must have chilli oil in your daily food, then there are chances that you will lose the weight at a much faster rate as compared to when it is not present.

The ingredients present in the oil are high in heat and make sure the fat from your diet gets digested properly instead of getting accumulated in the body.

Chili oil is high in vitamins and so the intake of chili oil on daily basis controls the blood cholesterol and reduces the chances of getting and heart diseases. The oil purifies the blood and lets it run in your body properly and without any blockages.

Onion Seed oil also aids in promoting the weight loss.

9. Prevents Heart Diseases

The chili oil is also good for the heart. It contains useful mixes, for example, Capsanthin in little amounts, which increases the HDL cholesterol levels and keep your heart strong.

Chili oil is rich in vitamin E and vitamin C and if taken in proper quantity will reduce the risk of any form of cardiovascular diseases. And not just that, it also treats the cold efficiently and properly.

Black Currant Essential Oil can also do wonders in treating the Heart problems.

10. Protects from Alzheimer

Chilli pepper being rich in Vitamin D protects you from getting Alzheimer’s diseases. It also protects the body from other different diseases as Vitamin D is very important part of a balanced diet.

11. Cure for brittle bones

Since Chili oil is rich in Vitamin D, it strengthens the bones and prevents them from getting brittle at an early age, which is getting very common among young women nowadays.

This is good for those with a family history of weak bones. Chili oil is rich in Iron and eating iron filled nourishment keeps a few diseases, for example, glossarist, away. It additionally helps you feel fit.

Iron is one of the significant supplements that keep you from feeling drained and exhausted after a day at work. Iron inadequacy prompts lack of pallor, hack, and muscle weakness.

Every spoon of chili pepper oil has, at least, one gram of protein in it. When you eat more protein, you naturally shield your body from losing weight, diminished defences, poor respiratory system and even passing out.

Protein additionally causes in conveying oxygen to the blood. It constructs muscles, ligament and manages the sensory system

Basic Antiseptic Properties

Also, chili oil has been widely used since ancient times for various healing purposes. This oil absorbs various nutrients from the chili peppers like capsaicin which lend it powerfully the characteristic therapeutic properties.

It acts as an anti-inflammatory agent and reduces inflammation in no time.

It is a very good an analgesic which is a powerful pain reliever that makes the sore area numb to the sensation of pain.

Chili oil is also a very popular hypoglycaemic that is it can lower blood glucose levels.

Chili oil contains mainly chili peppers that as we mentioned earlier are strong antioxidants and they bring the anti-oxidizing power to the oil.

Capsaicin content in chili oil is about 7 %.

Consuming chili oil with chili in it will improve the absorption of nonheme iron your the food. This is so because chili peppers are rich in Vitamin C.

Even when they are fried, some of the Vitamin C might remain in the oil. Vitamin C improves the absorption of non-heme iron (the one particular kind of iron content that we get from a plant source ) and makes it more bio-available.

Chili oil also contains other beneficial compounds though in smaller quantities, like Capsanthin (Paprika oleoresin) and Capsorubin. Among these, Capsanthin has the ability to raise HDL cholesterol in the body, which is very healthy.

Nutrient Content In Chilli Oil

i. Calories

The calorific content of chili oil depends on the type of oil used as the base and the amount of chili peppers used in preparation. Canola and soybean oils have about 120 calories per tablespoon, where a tablespoon of olive oil contains about 40 calories only. On the other hand, a 100g serving of fresh chili peppers contains about 21 calories.

ii. Fat

All of us know that oils are comprised of fats and all the types of oil used to make chili oil derive 100 percent of their calories from fat. Olive oil contains about 4.5g of fat per tablespoon, or about seven percent of the recommended daily fat intake.

Canola and soybean oil contain about 13.6g of fat in each tablespoon, which is about 21 percent of the recommended daily allowance, according to the Calorie Counter website. Chili peppers contain about 0.1g of fat per 100g serving.

iii. Saturated Fats

Canola, soybean and olive oils are all relatively low in saturated fat. Soybean and canola oils contain about five percent of the daily recommended allowance, or about 1.1g per 1 tbsp serving.

Olive oil provides about 0.6g, or about three percent of the daily allowance of saturated fat per tablespoon. Chili peppers do not contain saturated fats.

iv. Carbohydrates Saturated

All types of oil commonly used in making chili oil–canola, soybean and olive, contain no carbohydrates. According to the Calorie Counter website, a 100g serving of chili peppers provides about 5.1g of carbohydrates.

v. Protein

A 100g serving of chili peppers contains less than 1g of protein. There is no protein in canola, olive or soybean oil.

vi. Vitamins and Minerals

Oils used to make chili oil are not rich in vitamins or minerals. Chili peppers provide small amounts of several important nutrients–a 100g serving contains about 68mg of vitamin C, 36 IU of vitamin A and 10 mcg of folate.

Possible Side Effects Of Chili Oil

All these highly beneficial medicinal properties should not make you forget that even natural ingredients such as these might have not so severe but still harmful side effects. Chili oil sometimes brings about a strong ‘anti’ reaction in some people.

These are not usually allergic reactions or similar to any chemical burn, but a powerful reaction of the body to the capsicain causing excitement of the neurons. If the oil feels very irritating and uncomfortable when you apply it to the skin, you must avoid using it topically and immediately stop using it sensitive areas of your skin.

Also, I will add that if you are consuming chili oil as a condiment and your recipe asks for garlic; you must not store it and rather make it small amounts and consume it as soon as possible.

This is so because the garlic might be susceptible to the bacteria Clostridium botulinum if not used before long.

However, these peppers are rich in a lot of nutrients, like Vitamin C and mecarotenoids. Chili peppers are also rich in Vitamin A, Vitamin B, Vitamin E, Vitamin K and minerals like Iron, Copper, Magnesium, Manganese and Phosphorus.

Some part of the nutrients, especially the fat-soluble ones are filtered into the oil. Using chili peppers with the oil, brings out the nutrition from the chili as well, although some of it are destroyed in the cooking process.

Be Careful While Buying!

Chili oil generally does not go rancid when it is made with a resistant oil. You should know that some of the commercial chili oils in the market are adulterated with colouring dyes.

If these dyes are not organic, they can be harmful to the body. You should therefore go for purely organic chili oil for safety.

The best way is to prepare it at home. The process is quick, and you can be sure about its purity.

Here’s a recipe! – Homemade chili oil.

Ingredients

1 cup vegetable oil (or olive oil or soya bean oil)

Two tsp red chili flakes

2 to 3 whole dried red chillies

Instructions

HEAT 2 tbsp oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the chili flakes and the whole chillies. Cook, stirring in between, until chillies start to gently sizzle, about 1 minute.

ADD remaining oil to pot. Heat until oil is warmed through, but not too hot to touch. Remove from heat and let it cool to room temperature.

STORE in an airtight bottle or jar. Shake occasionally to disperse the chillies.

So you see how a little flavouring ingredient can save you a whole lot of medication sometime later or even a trip to the hospital (not trying to scare you!).

Home remedies still do work wonders. Hope you find some time to incorporate the use of chili oil in your daily routine. May all of you be healthy and live long!

SHARE

Dr. Manaan Gandhi is the one of the young dynamic Ayurveda doctor.He started off by presenting a research paper in a national conference in Mumbai.