The cayenne pepper is a member of the Capsicum family of vegetables, which are more commonly known as chili peppers. Cayenne has natural fat burner properties. It is also used as a pain killer and is very effective in the treatment of ulcers.
Other important effects of cayenne consumption are increased metabolism, improved circulation, stronger immune system and better digestion. It is used as a tonic for the heart, kidneys, lungs, pancreas, spleen and stomach and to treat herpes, shingles and rheumatism. It is also known to combat chills and has been used to treat bunions, psoriasis, pleuritis and pericarditis and has been indicated for preventing heart disease.
Cayenne is known botanically as Capsicum annuum or frutescens. The common name "cayenne" was actually given to this pepper because of its cultivation in a capital town that bears the same name in French Guiana on the northeast coast of South America. The dried fruit is a powerful local stimulant with no narcotic effect, it is most useful in atony of the intestines and stomach. It has proved efficacious in dilating blood vessels and thus relieving chronic congestion of people addicted to drink. It is sometimes used as a tonic and is said to be unequalled in warding off disease (probably due to the high vitamin C content).
Some caution should be employed, however, since large doses are extremely irritating to the gastro-intestinal system.
The hotness produced by cayenne is caused by its high concentration of a substance called capsaicin. Technically referred to as 8-methyul-N-vanillyl-6-nonenamide, capsaicin has been widely studied for its pain-reducing effects, its cardiovascular benefits, and its ability to help prevent ulcers. Capsaicin also effectively opens and drains congested nasal passages.
Used externally, the fruit is a strong rubefacient stimulating the circulation, aiding the removal of waste products and increasing the flow of nutrients to the tissues. It is applied as a cataplasm or liniment. It has also been powdered and placed inside socks as a traditional remedy for those prone to cold feet. A weak infusion can be used as a gargle to treat throat complaints.
The fruit is also antihaemorrhoidal, antirheumatic, antiseptic, carminative, diaphoretic, digestive, sialagogue and stomachic. These pungent fruited peppers are important in the tropics as gastrointestinal detoxifiers and food preservatives. The fruits contain 0.1 - 1.5% capsaicin. This substance stimulates the circulation and alters temperature regulation. Applied to the skin it desensitizes nerve endings and so has been used as a local anaesthetic. The seed contains capsicidins. These are thought to have antibiotic properties.
- Capsaicin has very powerful pain-relieving properties when applied to the surface of the skin.
- Capsaicin cream can reduce itching and inflammation associated with psoriasis.
- It may also help to regulate blood sugar levels by affecting the breakdown of carbohydrates after a meal.
- Cayenne has also been used in traditional Indian Ayurvedic, Chinese, Japanese, and Korean medicines as an oral remedy for digestive problems, poor appetite, and circulatory problems.
- Effects of daily ingestion of chilli on serum lipoprotein oxidation in adult men and women; Ahuja KD, Ball MJ.
- Cayenne; University of Maryland Medical Centre.
- Capsicum or Cayenne, The herb bible; Earl Mindell.
- Capsicum frutescens; Plants for a future.
- A Modern Herbal; Grieve.
- The Encyclopedia of Medicinal Plants; Chevallier. A.
- Cayenne pepper. The world's healthiest foods.
- Cayenne (Capsicum annuum); HerbWisdom.com
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