Cayenne is one of the chili peppers and has been used therapeutically for thousands of years. Cayenne pepper belongs to the genus Capsicum. It was first grown in Central and South America thousands of years ago and now grows naturally in subtropical and tropical climates.
The medicinal properties are derived from the chemical capsaicin (kap-sey–uh-sin), which is the ingredient that gives chili peppers their heat. The more capsaicin present, the hotter the pepper is. Cayenne peppers contain vitamins E, A, C, K, B complex, calcium, manganese, and potassium plus carotenoids which are plant pigments that are powerful antioxidants.
Cayenne pepper is becoming popular as a cleansing and detoxifying agent. It is said to stimulate circulation and neutralize acidity.
Other therapeutic properties of cayenne pepper:
It might feel hot in your mouth and taste spicy, but ingesting cayenne actually eases an upset stomach, reduces heartburn, soothes a sore throat, and quiets ulcers. It is also a good gas reducer.
Capsicum has vasodilation properties and keeps blood moving and improving circulation, reducing the chances of heart attack or stroke. Eating cayenne pepper has been shown to decrease cholesterol and triglyceride levels. There is also a claim that ingesting cayenne at the time of a heart attack can stop the progression of heart damage.
Adding cayenne to the diet reduces the itching and inflammation of psoriasis.
Common Cold Fighter
Capsicum helps fight colds and reduce coughs and congestion. It also helps to break up mucous.
When applied to the skin, cayenne pepper has pain relieving properties. It’s good for arthritis, both osteo and rheumatoid, and fibromyalgia, psoriasis, and nerve pain.
A study done at Perdue University claims having cayenne with your meal can suppress your appetite and even speed up your metabolism.
Cayenne is said to prevent fungus growth.
Capsicum is said to relieve symptoms of a migraines and cluster headaches.
How It’s Supplied
Besides growing on plants, cayenne pepper can be found as supplemental capsules, as a cream, or as a tincture. It is the main ingredient in the spice paprika, and Tabasco sauce as well.
Some people enjoy drinking cayenne in a tea. To make, start off with ¼ teaspoon of powdered cayenne (try adding more little by little), let sit in a cup of boiling water, and add lemon.
I grow my own cayenne peppers every summer from seed. It is an easy plant to grow and maintain. It often bears more fruit than I can eat, so I store some of the picked peppers in a jar of full of vinegar and some I freeze. This way I have the pepper for use whenever I want. The peppers can be easily dried and turned into powder, and I do make fresh powdered spice every year. It is smart to wear gloves when handling them and never touch your eyes afterwards. If you get the oil in your eyes, you need to rinse them with milk. If you want to quiet down a burning mouth, try eating something with vinegar; it really helps. Be careful of the seeds too (they can be saved for planting), because they are hot as well!