I was reading a post on Curezone where someone was giving the advice of taking cayenne pepper for an aneurysm and claiming that cayenne was a fibrinolytic and therefore breaks down blood clots.
Let’s start by defining what a fibrinolytic is. A fibrinolytic is a compound that breaks down the protein fibrinogen, which is involved in the formation of scar tissue and blood clots.
By definition cayenne pepper is not a fibrinolytic since it lacks the enzymatic activity needed to break down fibrinogen.
Cayenne does contain a high level of natural “aspirin” though, which is why it thins the blood.
Thinning the blood is a dangerous idea if a person has an aneurysm. An aneurysm is a weak spot on an arterial wall, which causes the wall to balloon out. If the aneurysm ruptures it can lead to internal hemorrhage. Therefore, the use of blood thinners like cayenne and true fibrinolytics, such as nattokinase or serrapeptase, are not advised with aneurysms as they can contribute to hemorrhaging if a rupture ensues.
In an attempt to back her claim the poster posted this:
“But cayenne has been proven to have fibrinolytic qualities :
Visudhiphan, S., et. al. The relationship between high fibrinolytic activity and daily capsicum ingestion in Thais. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 35(6), 1452-1458, 1982.
Wasantapruek, S., et.al. May 30, 1974. Enhanced fibrinolytic activity after capsicum ingestion. The New England Journal of Medicine. pp. 1259-1260.”
The problem is that she has no medical background and apparently did not read or understand the actual studies. She just posted the studies because the titles sounded like they were backing her claims.
As I stated previously cayenne is not a fibrinolytic as to be an actual fibrinolytic the herbs must contain enzymes that are capable of digesting the fibrinogen of a blood clot. Cayenne DOES NOT contain these enzymes and thus is not really a fibrinolytic. Even the studies presented by this poster as “evidence” prove this fact.
Here are some of the things the study found:
- They state that cayenne has been shown to activate fibrinolytic activity. This is not the same as being an actual fibrinolytic. Unfortunately, some terms get used very loosely in some studies. For example, when the studies state AIDS is a disease when in fact it is a syndrome, or where the terms lactic acid and lactate are used interchangeably even though they are different things. The use of the word fibrinolytic is used loosely throughout this study.
- They point out that Americans living in Thailand had higher levels of fibrinogen than Thais showing a possible genetic factor.
- They state that fibrinogen levels showed no significant difference either immediately after or thirty minutes after cayenne ingestion. If cayenne were truly a fibrinolytic then fibrinogen levels would be decreased by enzymatic breakdown. Clearly this was not the case.
- Coagulation and platelet factor tests showed no change, which again shows no fibrinolytic activity. Although thrombin production time was shown to be slowed. It should also be noted though that out of 15 test subjects 8 of them had no changes in fibrinogen levels. One had an increase, while the rest had decreases. If cayenne was a fibrinolytic then levels would have dropped in most of the subjects. Instead, more than half had no change with one having an increase.
Therefore, despite the title of the article there is no evidence that cayenne itself is a fibrinolytic. In fact, the study clearly shows the opposite. Although, this does not mean that cayenne is not a blood thinner. The effects shown from the cayenne ingestion, after factoring in genetics, shows that cayenne may stimulate the body’s own fibrinolytic activity. Cayenne is also extremely high in “natural aspirin”, which can interfere with blood clotting especially with regular use:
This is a great example of why I recommend people research any medical advice they read on the internet rather than taking the advice on faith. The internet is full of inaccurate and dangerous medical advice.
For related information see my article: