The anti-depressive effects of the chili pepper

Research has found that chili pepper (Capsicum annuum) possesses anti-depressive properties, which makes it a promising treatment for depression. The study, published in the European Journal of Medicinal Plants, aimed to determine the antidepressant potential of methanol fruit extract of chili pepper in mice.

  • Researchers from Kaduna State University in Nigeria used three tests: Force Swim Test (FST), Tail Suspension Test (TST), and Open Field Test (OFT).
  • In the FST and TST, the researchers randomly divided 30 mice into five groups: one group received saline, another group received imipramine, and the three remaining groups were treated with 500 milligrams per kilogram (mg/kg), 1000 mg/kg, and 2000 mg/kg of methanol extract of fruits of chili pepper, respectively.
  • In the OFT, 25 mice were divided into five groups: one group received normal saline, another group received diazepam, and the other three groups received methanol fruit extract of chili pepper at different doses (500 mg/kg, 100 mg/kg, and 2000 mg/kg).
  • Results of the FST and TST revealed that the chili pepper extracts and imipramine significantly decreased the immobility time of the subjects that received the extracts, compared with the normal saline group. The effect was dose-dependent as the 2000 mg/kg of chili pepper extract caused the highest reduction.
  • Results of the OFT showed that the chili pepper extracts did not act as a stimulant.
  • The researchers posited that chili pepper’s antidepressant activity may be due to the presence of anti-inflammatory and antioxidant flavonoids and triterpene in the plant.

Based on the findings of the study, the researchers concluded that the reduction in behavioral despair indicates that chili pepper may help in the management of depression.

Read the full text of the study at this link[PDF].

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Journal Reference:

Patrick EB, Mallam D, Albarka SH. ANTIDEPRESSANT EFFECT OF METHANOL FRUIT EXTRACT OF CAPSICUM ANNUUM IN MICE. European Journal of Medicinal Plants. 21 May 2018; 23 (4): 1-9. DOI:

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