Spices & Seasonings/WARM ME UP


i was wondering would you please tell me: is it a fact that when we eat food that has chilli in it, it will make our noses run?

If the answer in "yes, it is a fact" would you be able to explain why that is?

(P.S would you please try to give your answer in a easy way that I can understand)

Cameron, thanks for the question!

I'll try to explain things a bit casually and not really get into the scientific mechanisms and such (I'm a little foggy on the fiddly bits anyway)

The answer is, yes eating chilis CAN make your nose run.

Fair warning:  Every situation is different.  Genetic differences between people, environmental factors, genetics and breed of the pepper, bodily health, age, gender, and food eaten with a hot pepper are all factors that can affect the individual experience.

Chilis (capsicum peppers) contains an oil called capsaicin, which cause irritation (burning sensation) to bodily tissues, most markedy on mucus membranes and sensitive area such as eyes, nose, throat, tongue, and uh, lets say, places chilis don't really belong.  Your body reacts to this irritation in a number of way, such as your eyes producing lots of tears in order to flush the oil out, or your nose running for the same reasons.  It's the same type of reason that you sneeze when there is something irritating your nose or throat.

Whether or not this bodily response is very effective is something I won't debate, but I can say with some degree of confidence that that is the impetus behind the chili-nose-run.

Spices & Seasonings

All Answers

Answers by Expert:

Ask Experts


Adam Price


I can answer general and specific questions related to all manner of food preparation, food cookery, and peripheral disciplines such as applied food science, nutrition, or sanitation. I am knowledgeable in meat, poultry and seafood fabrication, recipe development, world cuisines including 'fusion' styles, and all of the primary cooking methods (grilling, steaming, etc.). I can assist you with developing or redesigning recipes, planning for events (from a caterers point of view), troubleshooting recipes, identifying and working with unfamiliar ingredients or cooking methods, or (most importantly in my opinion) figuring out exactly why things happen the way they do. If we understand the science and reasoning behind our craft, then we can start learning how to cook instead of learning to recreate recipes. If for some reason I cannot answer a question, I will do my best to point you toward a source that can.


I have nearly two decades of experience as a professional in the field, and I enjoy experimenting with new ideas on my own time. I have worked in restaurants ranging from quick service to fine dining, bakeries, butcher shops and institutions. I have done event planning and execution for large and small scale catered events. I have managed several kitchens and developed menus ranging from simple buffets to elaborate multi-course meals. I have an extensive library of recipe books as well as books on cooking techniques, food science, food safety, and nutrition.

I graduated with high honors from the Culinary Institute of America (Hyde Park). I am ServSafe certified for food safety and sanitation, and I take this very seriously.

©2017 About.com. All rights reserved.

[an error occurred while processing this directive]