Homemade Hot Pepper Cream for Arthritis & Joint Pain

arthritis creamThe active component in hot peppers that gives them their heat is called capsaicin, and the hotter the pepper, the higher the level of capsaicin there is. While rubbing something that seems flaming hot onto your sore joints doesn’t initially seem like it would help arthritis, capsaicin cream is commonly sold OTC as a pain reliever. Why? Capsaicin depletes a neurotransmitter called substance P, which is responsible for sending pain signals to our brain. If we block the big P, we never get the memo that something is hurting, and therefore end up pain free. Instead of paying for the arthritis cream at the store, try making your own. It offers great peace of mind to know what exactly you are absorbing into your skin, and it’s rewarding to make yourself.

Homemade Hot Pepper Pain Relief Cream- for arthritis & joint pain.

Note: It is normal for there to be somewhat of a burning sensation when first applied. If you have sensitive skin, use with caution. Always wear gloves when handling hot pepper powder, and avoid any contact with your eyes. If you wanted to look extra awesome when you make this, a pair of goggles isn’t a bad idea.

1. Original Capsaicin Cream Recipe

You will need…
-3 tablespoons of cayenne powder
-1 cup of grapeseed oil (or any other oil like almond, olive, jojoba)
-1/2 cup of grated beeswax
-A double boiler
-A glass jar with a tightly fitting lid

Mix together 3 tablespoons of cayenne powder with 1 cup of your oil of choice and heat in a double boiler for 5-10 minutes over medium heat. Stir in a 1/2 cup of grated beeswax and continue to stir until it has melted completely and everything is blended together. Chill the mixture in the refrigerator for 10 minutes, and then whisk together. Chill for another 10-15 and then whip again before putting it in a glass jar with a tightly fitting lid and storing in the refrigerator. It will keep for 1 ½ weeks-apply daily as needed for pain.

original hot pepper

2. Super-Strength Cream

The hotter the pepper, the more capsaicin it has, making this cream super strength.

You will need…
-1 cup of beeswax
-4 tablespoons of Habanero powder
-4 cups of grapeseed or another oil, such as almond, jojoba, or olive
-A double boiler
-A glass jar with a tightly fitting lid

Combine 4 tablespoons of Habanero powder with 4 cups of grapeseed or olive oil in a double boiler. Let this mixture warm up over medium heat for 5-10 minutes. After it’s warmed, melt 1 cup of beeswax into the mixture and stir it until everything is smoothly blended together. Let it chill for 10 minutes in the refrigerator and then whisk together. Chill for another 10-15 minutes and then whip together once more before pouring into a glass container with a tightly fitting lid and refrigerating it. It should keep its potency for 1 1/2 weeks. Apply as needed for pain, stopping use if any irritation occurs.

super habanero

3. Little Bit Extra Cream

This cream includes the other notable anti-inflammatory’s and pain reducers turmeric and ginger, as well as cayenne.

You will need…
-3 cups of grapeseed oil, or any other oil like almond, jojoba, or olive
-3 tablespoons of ground cayenne
-1/2 cup of beeswax
-3 tablespoons of turmeric
-2 tablespoons of ground ginger
-A double boiler

Mix together 3 tablespoons of ground cayenne, 3 tablespoons of turmeric, and 2 tablespoons of ground ginger. Add this to 3 cups of grapeseed oil in a double boiler and stir until mixed thoroughly. Warm over medium heat for 5-10 minutes and then add in 1/2 cup of beeswax. Stir until the beeswax has melted completely and everything is blended together, and then remove from heat and chill in the refrigerator for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes take it out and whisk it together and then refrigerate for another 10, blending it once more at the end. Put in a glass jar with a tightly fitting lid in the refrigerator, where it will keep for 1 ½ weeks. Apply as needed for pain, but with this cream, rub in as much as you can and then let it dry before rinsing off. The turmeric will really stain.


When you use your cream, really take the time to gently massage it into each aching joint. The little bit of stimulation helps get your circulation pumping and circulates blood through your joints. This gets much needed oxygen and nutrients to them, which is especially good for osteoarthritis. Don’t forget to wear gloves when handling super spicy stuff (like the habanero) and stop using if it causes too much irritation.

joint pain cream

Important note on use!

If you don’t want the little bits of spices in there, follow the steps below to get a smooth infused oil to use in the cream (this makes it easier to get absorbed.)

Mix together your oil and spices for whichever recipe you choose to do. Heat over medium heat in a double boiler for 15 minutes, and then remove it to cool and infuse for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, strain through a cheesecloth and reserve the infused oil. After it is strained melt the beeswax in a double boiler, and pour in the infused oil. Stir until blended thoroughly, and then follow the same steps for chilling, whipping, and storing as above.

Warning: These spices stain. Wear an apron or clothes you don’t mind putting at risk when making these.

We Want to Hear from You! Let us know which remedies work and do not work for you, ask a question or leave a comment:


  1. AD McClure says:

    A note from a capsacian user: Do not bathe for 1 hour before or 2 hours after applying cream. And avoid hot tubs totally. The heat really intensifies and becomes almost unbearable!

    Also, if you are prone to hot flashes or night sweats, avoid applying near bedtime. OUCH!

  2. Jennifer says:

    Thank you for these recipes! I made the original tonight. I don’t have arthritis, but my back was hurting so bad from moving furniture.. I had taken Tylenol and Advil earlier in the day but it didn’t help at all.. I just happened to have beeswax in my cupboard and thought I’d give it a try. It works!!! Thank you!!!

  3. Kristi says:

    Hi! These sound great! I cant wait to make them. Suggestions as to where to find the beeswax?

    • Claire (Everyday Roots) says:

      We get ours online from mountain rose herbs, but if you have a local holistic health shop they probably have it there-I know some fabric/craft stores carry it as well!

  4. Simon says:

    Whats a double boiler?

    • Claire (Everyday Roots) says:

      A double boiler is a saucepan with a detachable upper compartment. You put some water in the saucepan and then the steam heats the upper compartment and whatever it contains. It really helps when you need to slowly infuse something or when you want to avoid burning something that burns easily (like if you are melting chocolate.) You can buy them specially made, but I just set a heat-proof mixing bowl over the top of my saucepan and it works just as well 🙂

    • Julie says:

      Simon, A double boiler is a small pan that sits inside a larger pan. The larger pan is filled with water and the smaller pan sits in the water, it is useful for melting things without them getting too hot or coming into contact with direct heat and risk burning. You may know them as bain marie, or porringer . Amazon sell them.

    • Melisa says:

      You can also just use a clean, recycled jar in a pan of simmering water. It’s nearly impossible to clean anything that’s had beeswax melted in it so I just repurpose old jars when making products like this.

  5. Kay Huston says:

    I am curious why the list of ingredients for the extra strength cream with the Habanero powder calls for 1 cup beeswax, but the instructions call for 1/2 cup of beeswax. Can you clear this up?

    • Deborah says:

      To expand on that question – why does the recipe with habanero call for so much more oil. Are you making a larger batch b/c the pepper is hotter?

      • Claire (Everyday Roots) says:

        Yes, more oil is needed to make sure it gets diluted enough that it doesn’t scorch your skin. Not so diluted that it isn’t effective though-for the super spicy peppers a 1-1 cup to tablespoon ration is usually what I follow.

    • Claire (Everyday Roots) says:

      Shoot that was totally a typo on my part! It’s corrected now. It should be 1 cup.

  6. Chantelle Rodriguez says:

    I am vegan could you sub coconut oil for the beeswax

    • Claire (Everyday Roots) says:

      You sure could!

      • Todd Sher says:

        I am little bit confused about the substituting the coconut oil for beeswax. That seems like a lot of oil.. 3 cups of grapeseed, olive, etc + the coconut oil and added spices. This concoction will get the right consistency when cooled in the fridge or room temp?

        And I”d like a recipe for half this amount because 3 cups of the other oils is too much for me to make at one time. Any recommendations in Olive Oil to use? Of all the oils you mentioned… olive, grapeseed, jojoba which is the least expensive?

        Thank you so much for this recipe and helping me with my questions.

    • Helen says:

      Beeswax is Natural (from the bees), why would it make a difference that you are Vegan? Just wondering!

      • Becky Seling says:

        Helen, I am not a Vegan but I believe that Vegans not only do not consume animals but foods or products that come from them them as well i.e. honey, wax, eggs, caviar, pollen and/or propolis, milk, cheese (that is dairy), yogurt (same), etc… whereas Vegetarians don’t eat any meats. Just my understanding anyway; I may be wrong here.

        • Heather says:

          This is funny because without bees, there would be no food whatsoever. No fruit or veggies, grains, nuts, seeds, meat, dairy, no nothing because all animals eat food, made possible by the pollination of bees. So, if vegans are avoiding anything made by bees, or that the mighty bee has touched, they would starve. Something to consider.

  7. Aisha Bowens says:

    Are there substitutes for beeswax?

  8. Sherrie says:

    I don’t understand why it only lasts 1 1/2 weeks in the fridge? Can you explain. It sounds great to me, but I’m wondering about older folks that have such thin skin. Have you tried cutting back on the pepper to see how small of an amount you can go and still be helpful? Just hoping you have done all the work so I don’t have to. 🙂
    Thanks, this sounds great!

  9. Nina says:

    I’m looking forward to making this remedy.

  10. Debbie A says:

    Once made does it turn your skin orange and does it still stain clothing? I have RA and there is not a joint in my body that is not that does not hurt most of the time. I won’t be able to apply it to most joints of does. Thank you

    • Calli says:

      It does not stain clothing when applied. Just make sure you rub it in really good before putting clothing on. I find once it is rubbed in good it does not stain clothing.

  11. Trups says:

    Thanks Dear I was searching something like that for my Father …

  12. Jamie says:

    Mine took a very long time to start to thicken. Any ideas on what I have done wrong? It’s sitting in the fridge right now like gravy that has only sit a little bit. :p

    • Claire (Everyday Roots) says:

      Oh that’s no fun! Hmmm did you use enough beeswax? Or too much oil? Those would be my first guesses as to why its not behaving as it should-it starts to thicken fairly quickly, even just when the beeswax starts to cool before it goes in the fridge. I am guessing it has been in the fridge for at least 10 minutes? If you’re sure the measurements were correct, you can try adding a little extra beeswax to make it thicker. Let me know if you have anymore questions!

  13. shonda sandoval says:

    I have used two sauce pans, one a little smaller than the other as a double boiler. Just put water in the larger and put the smaller one in. Just make sure that your liquid won’t spill out if the handle makes the pan tilt. I also have a designated small sauce pan for simmering scents so It is always good to have a less treasured set of pans u can use for things other than food.

  14. DENESE says:


  15. Anonymous says:

    Can this lotion be used to warm the skin?? My feet are always cold and i have heard of creams that help keep them warm but i would very much prefer an all natural lotion.

    • Mark says:

      The active ingredient capsaicin, or so I’ve read, does mainly two things:
      1) simulates the pain of being burnt
      2) stimulates an increase in blood flow to the region affected with side effect of an increased heart rate

      So, if your feet are cold, maybe your body has decided the warmth is required in more important areas? More socks may be a better route.

  16. Mary nordlund says:

    Good ideas!

  17. Becky says:

    Can you tell me what your UH/HU (heat unit) was of the cayenne you used?

  18. Janice Beech says:

    where does one get bees wax

  19. Anonymous says:

    Can I substitute the beeswax for shea butter or cocoa butter? What’s the role of the beeswax in this recipe?

  20. DawnW says:

    I just wanted to say, I love reading your articles. They are always so informative. I must say however, I hate the way some try to tear apart what you do here. Like, there must be a way to ask a question without making it look like the author is an idiot. And especially, when commenting, maybe read the previous comments to see if the question has already been asked. Anyway, I don’t know how you do it and stay sane with people tearing you apart. I think you do an awesome job. Thanks for all your beautiful pictures and very descriptive articles! Love it 🙂

  21. Praise says:

    Where can I get cayenne powder?

  22. Praise says:

    Thank for all what u are been done may God reward u.Where can I get cayenne powder?

  23. Joan says:

    Hi Claire Is there something I can put in this cayenne so it will last longer then 1 1/2 weeks? Thank you, Joan

    • Lauren says:

      I made some similar to this years ago and it’s still sitting in the refrigerator. The capciacin is a chemical–it doesn’t lose its efficacy. The only thing you really need to think about is the life of the other oils you put in it. With a high enough percentage of pepper it will last indefinitely. If it starts to smell stale or the oil starts to granulate, I would suggest you discard it.

  24. Shirley Steiniger says:

    This sounds awesome, can it be used by a diabetic.

  25. Todd Snowden says:

    Is there any way to get a longer shelf life with this recipe?

  26. Ilene says:

    As was ask before is there a way to make this last longer than one and a half weeks. Can some of it be frozen perhaps?

  27. Brandi Hudman says:

    Could you substitute coconut oil for the oil part?

  28. Delia says:

    I have been looking into cayenne pepper as a treatment for the pain of shingles – could this cream be used for that purpose. It’s not for me so I’m wary of making anything worse..

  29. Reina says:

    Why does the hot pepper cream only keep for 1.5 weeks?

  30. staci says:

    Could cayenne essential oil be used in place of powder?

    • Gwyn says:

      Yes, I believe that is exactly what she is making in the second part. The instructions for those that don’t want the little bits of the powders in there. I know you can purchase the oils already made and I think this is what you are asking about.

  31. Louise says:

    Please bear with me, what does “infuse” mean? I have read all 3 recipes and you used that term in the 3rd recipe and since I do not understand what that term means, I can’t try it until I understand everything about the recipe.

    Thanks for your help.

    • Gwyn says:

      That term is used when you heat an oil with something (in this case the peppers or pepper powder) and then let it sit so the oil takes on the scent, taste and other attributes of whatever you are infusing it with (again the pepper in this case). Hope that helps explain it (I may not have done it well).

  32. Susie Martinez says:

    Hi, I was wondering where I could get habanero powder?

    • Js says:

      I’d suggest checking your local Mexican market (bodega). They use and carry many more intense spices than chain stores.

  33. Judi says:

    Like a number of others, I’m wondering why this only has a shelf life of 1 1/2 weeks. Beeswax & the oil should last a lot longer than that, & the various dried spices that are going in also have a lot longer shelf life. Is it simply a way to tell people not to leave it around for years & cover yourself from a legal point of view, or is there some other reason?


  34. Becky Seling says:

    I wonder if this would last longer if one dips out the cream with an unused and clean popsicle stick or spoon, rather than one’s own fingers (as perhaps the bacteria from hands shortens the shelf life?). Just wondering. A week and a half does seem like a short life span for a refrigerated product but I do want to try. Thanks so much for the recipes!!!

  35. sandi says:

    Im confused about the length of time it lasts. Ive made other salves that take herbs, oils and beeswax and can last a long time without refrigeration. Why does this only have a 1 -1/2 wk life span? Just looking for some clarification and understanding. Thank you

  36. Gwyn says:

    Thank you so much for the recipes! I am really curious about the shelf life as well. I may have missed the response but why does this only last 11/2 weeks? Would adding a little vit E oil or something else help it last longer? Thanks

    • Michelle says:

      From my understanding, the short shelf life has nothing to do with the product spoiling, but instead the active component, capsaican, losing its potency. I may be wrong, though.

  37. Susan says:

    Hi, I am an arthritis sufferer. I need something to help with all the pains. I was wondering, is there an ALTERNATIVE to the Beeswax? I am vegan and beeswax is not an option for me. Thanks!!

  38. samantha paradisi says:

    A salve that doesn’t contain water can last for 11/2-2 years in the fridge .Yes you can prolong its life use and it is safe to add Vitamin E (sold in the pharmacies-at least in my country)! On the other hand a cream eg. face cream which usually contains water can last for 3 months in the fridge!

  39. deborah345 says:

    I am wondering if this recipe could be put into smaller jars and than frozen. Since it only keeps for less then two weeks. I don’t see any reason why it would not freeze well for use later. And since the recipe is only oil, herb, beeswax why is it only good for a week and a half.

  40. Shannon says:

    On the super strength how much clove do you use? And powder right???

  41. JeanR says:

    I’ve ben processing jalapenos all day. I have a large bag of bits & pieces, stems & seeds…. wondering if I can make capsicum oil or powder out of this? instead of buying the spice. Since even with gloves on I can feel the tingle & warmth on my hands. I think it would be great for my husbands gout. Leaving me with no waste which I would love

    • Cheryl says:

      jeanR Id say yes to both just put in oil or dry & crush I have a lot of jalapenos & Habanero right now & was thinking the same thing

  42. sairah says:

    i don’t have beeswax please tell me what can i do?

  43. Maryam Zia says:

    Awesome suggestions I have been looking for an all natural muscle rub for both my husband and myself since we both have arthritis. Can I substitute coconut oil for the other oils since the coconut oil stay pretty solid.

  44. Jenny Miller says:

    Is there a difference between Cayenne Pepper an Cayenne Powder?

  45. Vidya says:

    Hi Claire,
    Many thanks for the above recipes. Tried making the original today with coconut oil instead of beeswax. Unfortunately did not get a cream after the chilling and whisking. Any clue what could have gone wrong?

    • brenda says:

      coconut oil’s consistency varies according to the temperature.

    • Annie says:

      Although I don’t claim to be an expert, I do know from experience that the coconut oil to be used needs to be the kind that will solidify at temperatures under 70○. There is coconut oil that is purified to stay in liquid form, and this is not what you would want to use. However even the nonrefined coconut oilshould be used as just that: an oil. I would reduce the amount of grapeseed oil if you are going to substitute the coconut oil for beeswax. Furthermore I personally wouldn’t even substitute anything for the beeswax. Its an organic product, and is what gives the cream its consistency, versus just a liquid consistency.

      All these pepper powders can be found at the grocery stores (in Texas at least).

  46. VICTORIA says:

    I don’t have peppermint oil, can I substitute spearmint oil??

  47. Amina says:

    Perhaps with the quantities of the ingredients given in the recipes, if you use it daily., then the amount made would likely last up to 1-1/2 weeks? Just a thought. .

  48. Destiny says:

    How long can the creams be kept (an expiration date)? Should it be kept in a cool place? Which is the beeswax? Is it the one in the honey comb? Should I wait until it has cooled down to close the jar where the cream will be? Thank you and God Bless.

  49. Destiny says:

    Oh I forgot to ask if I could use Coconut Oil? The one I have is Organic Extra Virgin Coconut Oil and Raw Coconut Oil. Both are solid not in liquid form. Thank you.

  50. Vince says:

    Very nice information on arthritic cream. Now, after I use your recipe, can I freeze in small batches (to increase longevity of product) and use as needed?

  51. Michelle says:

    Might have a short cut, omit beeswax & other oils and go straight to coconut oil. Melt it, add spice, mix & let cool or refrigerate to quicken solidifying. Has a good shelf life.

  52. kerry says:

    Thank you for the remedies and eager to try. I’M just wondering for example instead of making different creams…..could I add turmeric and Ginger… to the Cayenne ointment or the super strength cream?

  53. Courtney says:

    Would it hurt to add essential oils to this? If I did, would it defeat the purpose of the pepper if I added wintergreen and/or peppermint? Also, is there something I could put in it so I don’t have to keep it refrigerated? My husband needs it for work. He’s a tattoo artist and has serious pain in his hands at times.

  54. Jenny says:

    I just made this for my joint pain. I made the original, I don’t feel that much heat, but I can see that my body absorbs the cayenne. Next time I plant to make it with coconut oil and use the habanero recipe, but thank you for this useful list.

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