8 Benefits of Cayenne Pepper
Cayenne is well known for its reputation as the king of herbs. Similar to other chili peppers, it contains a very powerful plant medicine known as capsaicin.
In Central and South America, chili peppers have been cultivated and revered for their medicinal benefits for more than 7,000 years.
There are many kinds of hot peppers. Cayenne, while extremely hot, is not at the top of the “hot list.” However, its active ingredient capsaicin has been studied extensively and its efficacy well established.
According to The World’s Healthiest Food.org, cayenne peppers contain many health-promoting antioxidants: b vitamins, vitamin c, an excellent source of vitamin e, and
phytonutrients known as flavonoids. It also contains the minerals manganese, copper, iron, and potassium.
As an anti-inflammatory agent, cayenne has the power to prevent allergies and symptoms often associated with them, according to Josh Axe, M.D.
Topical cayenne cream (capsaicin) has been shown to reduce or abolish pain in patients with post-hepatic neuralgia, diabetic neuropathy or arthritis.
A study published in Openheart, from the National Institutes of Health.gov shows capsaicin, the phytochemical responsible for the spiciness of peppers, to have cardiovascular benefits (blood thinning ability), including metabolic health.
The well-known 20th century herbalist Dr. John Christopher reportedly saved a number of his patients suffering with heart attack symptoms by giving them cayenne in water. (Don’t do this at home, and certainly not on an unconscious person.)
Health Benefits of Cayenne
Boost Immunity - Contains antioxidants, including carotenoids and vitamin C
Cardiovascular Benefits – Blood thinning ability
Digestion – Stimulates the salivary glands. First step in digestion. Prevents stomach ulcers by killing harmful bacteria.
Pain Reliever/Anti-Inflammatory - Topical capsaicin cream is effective for some cases of muscle aches, back pain, arthritis, etc.
Metabolic Syndrome & Obesity
Migraine - topical cream
Protects Against Certain Cancers
Cayenne Helps with Hair loss
For anyone with thinning hair or hair loss, hope is on the horizon.
Will, from Hair Loss Revolution presents exciting news about cayenne and explains the research (scientific studies) behind cayenne’s ability to stimulate new hair growth and block factors that contribute to hair loss.
This salve is excellent for sore muscles, back pain, and achy joints. Wash your hands thoroughly before touching any sensitive part of your body.
½ cup EVOO extra virgin olive oil
1 T. cayenne powder
1/8 cup beeswax (check your local beekeeper or co-op)
A few drops of wintergreen oil
To make the salve:
Using a double boiler, (or a small saucepan inside a larger one) heat the olive oil and cayenne. Simmer carefully for 30 minutes. Let the cayenne settle to the bottom and leave it in the pan. Add beeswax and stir until melted. Test thickness of salve by putting a few drops on a plate. Allow to dry. If salve is too thick, add a little oil. Too thin, add more beeswax. Remove from heat and add a few drops of wintergreen, just enough for a pleasant scent.
Rub a small amount over aches and pains. You’ll love this soothing and relieving all-natural, healing medicine.
When my kids were growing up I’d give them this drink. It’s amazing plant medicine to stave off a cold or flu and to help your body heal. For this recipe and more ways to avoid the cold & flu, visit the article 10 Natural Ways to Avoid the Cold & Flu.
Nature’s Herbal Medicine Has a Fiery Punch, Use Caution
If you’ve touched fresh hot peppers (especially the seeds and inner membrane) you know they can burn the dickens out of your hands. Be cautious when handling fresh peppers or grinding dried ones (the dust can irritate your throat and eyes).
Years ago, while preparing Chile Rellenos, I naively prepared the chilies without gloves. Big mistake. You’ll want to wash your hands carefully, and everything else the peppers came into contact with. Be mindful not to touch your face or eyes either, it is a pain you won’t soon forget.
My years living with a Yaqui Indian family did nothing to foster my love for fresh, hot peppers. I did acquire a taste for spicy foods however, and a good “bite” to my food just seems healthier. Interestingly, the pain of hot peppers signals the brain to release pain killing endorphins in the body! And while I use dried peppers in my Fajita Soup, Vegetarian Chili, etc., I tread wisely where hot peppers are concerned. If you have a taste for hot, spicy food, eat cayenne often, but remember a little goes a long way.
Hot Pepper Socks
Many moons ago, while raising my son in Minnesota’s arctic winters, I discovered an ingenious method of keeping his feet warm while out sledding. The heat of capsaicin found in peppers, has the amazing ability to stimulate your body’s circulation and warm the feet. You don’t want to put the cayenne powder directly on the skin however, just sprinkle a small amount into the shoes, especially near the toe area. There is a caveat here, cayenne will stain white socks. And very young children need to be supervised of course, but the heat stimulating effect is well worth the effect.
Birds love seed. And so do the squirrels. If you’re inclined to discourage your furry friends from
dining at your bird’s café, carefully mix in a cup or so of cayenne to a batch of bird seed.
Storing & Preparing Peppers
Store fresh unwashed peppers in paper towels or muslin produce bags in the veggie compartment of your fridge. Avoid plastic as it causes them to spoil more rapidly. You can also hang them to dry in your kitchen. I take 4 or
more and with a threaded needle sew into the stem end. Leave enough string on the end to hang under a kitchen cupboard (I use small tea cup hooks) out of direct sunlight and away from your stove. As you need the dried pepper you can break off a bit and grind it. Store dried powdered cayenne in a tightly sealed glass jar, in a cool, dark place.
Growing Peppers from Plants
As mentioned above, peppers love warm weather. Start with plants. Grow peppers (sweet peppers also) in full sun with adequate water.
Please note: Peppers are a member of the nightshade family and its leaves, flowers and stems are poisonous.
And Its Fruit Shall Be for Food and Its Leaf for Medicine
Looking for a Great Herb Book?
Below is a list of my favorite herb books I have used for years, in addition to some new ones I know you will be very pleased with.
DISCLAIMER: Please remember these treatments options are only meant as guidelines and should not replace the advice or treatment provided by your holistic health practitioner. It is always good to seek the advice of your functional medicine doctor, homeopath, naturopath, or herbalist for professional advice in any matter related to your health. This article is for information purposes only.
Eden’s Favorite Herb Books
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