When I was a kid I can recall my mother constantly using a red powdery substance in her beverages and on her food. It always looked like she was in pain when she’d take a sip or bite. I asked her what she was doing, and she told me, “I’m using cayenne pepper to keep my heart healthy and lose weight”. At the time, I was just a kid so I just brushed it off.
Plus, who on earth wants to eat super-hot pepper powder? Well, it turns out that we all should be adding a little cayenne to our food because the health benefits of this hot pepper powder are amazing.
I say “powder” because most people prefer to use cayenne pepper in powdered form. It can be taken in capsules or sprinkled on food. If you want a really hot cup of tea, stir some of the red powder into your mug.
Anyway, as I got older I seemed to inherit the family gene of high cholesterol. Not fun! I was only 24 years old when I was told that my total cholesterol numbers where through the roof. My LDL was shockingly high. I refused to take statin drugs at such a young age. For me, having my liver have to deal with that type of medication was simply not an option. So, I looked to other means.
I remembered my mom using cayenne pepper for heart health and thought that I’d give it a try, myself. I have gotta say that using cayenne pepper, eating right, exercising, and staying at a healthy weight can really make a difference in total cholesterol levels.
Cayenne pepper’s health benefits don’t stop with heart health, either. These little red peppers pack quite a punch in the good health realm.
And get this, you don’t have to take cayenne pepper in ways that’ll make smoke come out of your ears. For some reason, my mother was a glutton for punishment. She always felt the need to add the pepper to her tea or on top of rice and consume it straight up. Who knows, maybe she truly liked the feeling of her mouth burning. However, if you do not, you can take cayenne pepper in an encapsulated form.
Personally, I’m a bit like my mom and enjoy using it in foods but not as a seasoning. I like to cook with cayenne pepper by adding it to soups and stews. If you are using a high-quality cayenne pepper that is organic you only need a pinch of the powder because it is HOT. I made the mistake of adding an entire tablespoon to a soup once and nobody in my family could eat it.
Why Does Cayenne Pepper Work?
Let’s talk about the nutritional aspects of cayenne pepper for a moment. So, cayenne is a shrub that originally grew in Central and south America. Now, cayenne grows in both subtropical and tropical climates. Cayenne chili peppers, also known as Capsicum Frutescens, are long pods of hollow fruit that are typical red but some are known to be yellow and orange as they ripen.
Cayenne peppers come from the genus, capsicum, which is an herb. Fruit from capsicum plants are used in medicinal ways. Cayenne peppers also contain vitamin C, vitamin b^, vitamin E, potassium, manganese, and flavonoids. There are many powerful antioxidant properties in cayenne peppers.
Health Benefits of Cayenne Pepper
I know it may seem weird that a hot little chili pepper can have such a big impact on your health, but it can. If there ever comes a time when everything in the world is going crazy and we don’t have access to medicine, I’m making sure I have an arsenal of cayenne pepper powder in my medicine box.
- Calming Effects
Did you know that cayenne pepper has anti-irritant properties? Even though it is a hot pepper it has the ability to soothe an upset stomach, calm ulcers, ease the pain associated with sore throats, quiet coughs, and settle the symptoms of diarrhea.
- Stops a Stuffy Nose
If you are dealing with congestion from stuffed up sinuses, you can count on cayenne pepper bringing you the relieve you seek. The common cold, flu, and allergies don’t stand a chance against cayenne pepper because it encourages the breaking up and expelling of mucus that is making you stuffy.
- Blasts Away Fungus
Because cayenne peppers contain CAY-1 compounds they have the ability to significantly suppress 16 different fungal strains. These anti-fungal properties were tested on animals in-vitro and proved to be completely non-toxic to their cells.
- Say Goodbye to Migraines
So, we know that cayenne pepper is pretty hot on the taste buds, right? Some researchers think that if we consume the pepper and experience pain in another part of the body that we won’t feel our migraines anymore. It sounds a little farfetched but definitely worth trying.
- Helps You Digest Your Food
It has been known for quite some time that cayenne works as a digestive aid. It causes the digestive tract to increase the flow of enzyme production and gastric juices. In response, your body is better able to metabolize your food and toxins within your system. If you suffer from gas and bloating, cayenne pepper can bring you relief by stimulating intestinal peristaltic motion.
Again, it is hard to believe that cayenne peppers can help with irritation due to them being such a hot, spicy food but they can. The properties within cayenne make it a wonderful herb for a slew of chronic and degenerative ailments.
- Produces More Spit
You read that right. Cayenne pepper helps you to produce more saliva. No more dry mouth for you! In order to achieve proper digestion, you need ample amounts of saliva. Your oral health depends on saliva, too.
- Combats Blood Clots
If you are dealing with atherosclerosis, cayenne pepper can help by stimulating fibrinolytic activity, which is decreases the formation of clots within the blood. When you aren’t susceptible to blood clots your chances of having a heart attack or stroke are significantly reduced.
- Detoxifying Properties
Having a healthy circulatory system is vital. Cayenne helps stimulate circulation by increasing the pulse of your lymphatic and digestive rhythms. Cayenne heats the body, therefore streamlining the natural detoxification process. You might find yourself beginning to perspire as you eat cayenne, which is another way your body cleanses itself from toxins.
- Joint Pain Reliever
Because cayenne is extremely high in a substance called “capsaicin”, chemical messages are sent from your skin to your joints which leads to pain relief.
- Excellent Preservative
Did you know that cayenne has anti-bacterial properties? Traditionally, cayenne has been used to prevent food from becoming contaminated with bacteria.
- Helps You Live Longer
Say, what?! Yep, you read that right. Cayenne promotes longevity. A study of over a half a million people found that those who consume spicy foods have a 14% chance of living longer than those who do not. Regular consumption of cayenne peppers reduces a host of health ailments, therefore promoting longevity.
- Lose Weight
According to researchers at the Laval University in Quebec, consuming cayenne pepper in the morning during breakfast helps reduce the appetite for the rest of the day. Taking in less calories encourages weight loss. Also, cayenne increases metabolism and helps the body burn excess fat.
- Helps You Have a Healthy Heart
Studies have shown that capsaicin can improve heart arrhythmias and encourage better blood flow to the cardiovascular system.
- Tell That Toothache to Hit the Road
Some folks have found that applying a bit of cayenne to an afflicted tooth brings pain relief to the area.
- Works Well Topically
There has been some research that has shown cayenne to work well on insect bites, rheumatism, and wounds when made into a poultice and applied topically.
- Adds Spice to Your Food
This purely depends on your taste buds, but cayenne pepper is quite beneficial in the kitchen. It brings spice to your otherwise bland meals.
- Treats Psoriasis
In two different trials, cayenne pepper was effective in treating psoriasis when made into a cream.
- It May Fight Against Cancer Cells
Some studies have suggested that capsaicin may have the ability to inhibit the growth of cancer cells, particularly in prostate cancer sufferers.
- Anti-Inflammatory Agent
If you’re dealing with allergies or any other type of inflammatory illness, cayenne pepper can help relief your symptoms.
Some Interesting Facts About Cayenne Pepper
Because cayenne pepper originated in central and South America it was named after the capital city of the French Guiana, Cayenne. Seeds of the cayenne pepper had been found on the floors of ancient caves where humans once lived and in fossil feces. This proves that folks were eating cayenne peppers as early as 7000 B.C.
The people who live in the Hunzas in Asia tend to eat a lot of cayenne peppers and they live to be over 100 years old! Many people say it is due to the anti-inflammatory and natural immune-boosting properties of cayenne peppers that they eat on a daily basis.
Another interesting fact is that cayenne peppers where seen growing in Hawaiian during the late 1800s. They were smaller and a lot more potent and people called them “Hawaiian Chili Peppers”.
Cayenne Pepper Health Remedies
There are many ways you can use cayenne pepper in your daily life. If you are experiencing any sort of health ailment, you may want to see if cayenne pepper can bring you relief Fortunately, you don’t have to grab one of these little chili peppers and start munching on it like a carrot. That may be a tad bit uncomfortable. Below, you’ll find a few health remedies using cayenne peppers for common health problems.
- 1 tbsp. powdered cayenne pepper
- 1 pint of aged whiskey
- Glass jar and lid
Place the cayenne pepper and whiskey into the jar, put on the lid, and shake. Allow the mixture to sit for 2 weeks, making sure to shake it every day. After 2 weeks, strain the liquid into another glass jar or bottle and store in a dry, dim cabinet.
Place 5 to 7 drops of the mixture to a cotton pad and put it directly on the afflicted tooth. You can repeat this process until the pain subsides.
Cayenne is an anti-irritant and increases blood flow therefore helping pain to decrease.
Skin and Joint Remedy
- ¾ cup coarsely chopped cayenne peppers
- 2 ¼ cups extra virgin olive oil
- Double boiler
- Fine mesh strainer
- Dark glass bottle
Place the chopped cayenne pepper and olive oil into a double boiler pot. Fill the bottom of the double boiler with water and bring to a simmer over low heat. Let the mixture simmer on the stove for around 3 hours. Remove the mixture from the heat and let it cool to room temperature. Strain through the fine mesh strainer into a darkly colored bottle. Store in a cool, dark place.
Rub the mixture into the skin to encourage healing or directly into the joints. You may use this natural pain reliever up to 3 times a day.
This remedy works because cayenne pepper increases blood circulation, speeds up healing, and decreases inflammation. It is also known to desensitize nerve endings. If you suffer from skin conditions like eczema or psoriasis, this remedy may bring you relief.
Digestive Aid Remedy
- ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper powder
- 1 cup water
- Cheesecloth or mesh strainer
Add the water to a small saucepan and get it good and boiling. Once boiling, add the cayenne pepper powder and stir. Turn the burner off and remove the pot from the heat. Allow the mixture to steep until cool enough to drink. Strain the liquid into a mug through a cheesecloth or mesh strainer. Drink immediately.
You may drink this remedy up to 3 times a day as needed with food. Many people find that drinking this tea on an empty stomach causes irritation.
For centuries, folks have been using cayenne pepper to treat digestive problems like upset stomach, ulcers, and indigestion.
- Coconut oil
- Cayenne pepper powder
Until just warm, heat 1 part coconut oil and 1 part cayenne pepper powder in a small saucepan. Stir the mixture until evenly incorporated. Allow the poultice to cool.
Apply directly to the affected area on your skin and secure in place with a gauze pad or bandage. Add more poultice throughout the day to keep the area moist. Reapply every day until the wound heals.
If needed, you can replace the coconut oil with olive oil. If you have a serious wound, consult your doctor before self-treating with this remedy.
Did you know that cayenne has been used for decades in expediting would healing and reducing bleeding?
How to Use and Cook with Cayenne Pepper
Fortunately, cayenne peppers can be found all over the world, including the United States. Any farmer’s market, grocery store, or health food store should have these peppers. You may not always find them fresh, but it is almost certain you will find capsaicin in its powdered form. Now, you’ll get the most health benefits from fresh cayenne peppers, but powdered pepper still gives you powerful health benefits.
As you peruse the produce isle at your local grocery store, look for raw, fresh chili peppers that are bright red and have healthy stems. You don’t want to see any mold spots. Feel the pepper in your hands. Does it feel firm? Does it look healthy? If so, put it in your basket.
Once you get home, store the peppers in a plastic back in your fridge. They should keep for up to a week.
Another way to purchase chili peppers is in a dried form. Many health food stores and supermarkets will have dried chili pepper sin their stock. You can store these peppers in a container and place them in a cool, dark place as they are shelf stable. I like to buy dried cayenne peppers and mill them at home into a fine powder.
You can also purchase cayenne powder in your stores spice and seasoning isle. If you can, go for organic peppers.
Get creative when using cayenne peppers for culinary purposes. You can spice up your drinks, make sauces and chutneys, or even use the peppers in your pickling. Always wash the peppers before using them in your food. You don’t want them transferring any bacteria or pesticides to your meals. Again, choose organic if possible.
If you are working with dried our powdered cayenne, simply add it to your meals for a healthy kick of spice. I like to add cayenne powder to meat dishes, pastas, scrambled eggs, cooked veggies, and even as a seasoning on nuts and popcorn. Always start slow with cayenne pepper. I suggest using 1/8 of a tsp, tasting, and adding more as you go. Cayenne pepper is VERY hot.
A wonderful way to get cayenne pepper into your body for health purposes is by mixing it into a drink. Warm up a mug of water (not to hot) and add lemon juice, honey, and a pinch of cayenne pepper powder. Stir and drink quickly. I like to do this in the morning. You can also purchase capsaicin capsules and swallow them with water if you simply can’t handle the heat.
Another way to use cayenne pepper is topically. There are many creams on the market that contain capsaicin. You can use these creams to treat skin infections, achy joints, and sore muscles by rubbing the cream into the afflicted area. Most people feel the irritation subside almost instantly.
Always make sure to read the directions when applying a topical cayenne pepper cream onto your body. You never want to use too much. If you find that your skin or hands are burning from the cream, wash the area with vinegar water to counteract the capsaicin.
Always use cayenne pepper with caution. At the end of the day, cayenne is still a hot pepper and although it has many health benefits, using it incorrectly can do you more harm than good.
Always check with your doctor to see if any of your medications might possibly interact negatively with cayenne pepper. Be careful to never inhale capsaicin powder into the lungs or get it into your eyes. You’ll not be happy if you do.
Use common sense when using cayenne pepper and reap the wonderful health benefits of this amazing super food.
No, we are not doctors and we’re not giving medical advice. We’re merely sharing what we found to be helpful, and we assume no responsibility for the actions you choose to take yourself. Don’t take our word for it, do the research yourself before trying any home remedies, and talk to your physician.
Jessica Faidley is a stay-at-home, work-from-home, homeschooling mom who loves to teach her children how to live off the land.
Herbalism is another topic that Jessica has studied. Keeping herself and her family healthy through a natural approach is her way of doing things.