Many societies, especially those of the Americas and China, have a history of using cayenne pepper therapeutically. A powerful compound with many uses, cayenne pepper is currently gaining buzz for cleansing and detoxifying regimes such as the Master Cleanse, which uses the spice to stimulate circulation and neutralize acidity.
Cayenne pepper has been used for a variety of ailments including indigestion, heartburn, delirium, tremors, gout, paralysis, fever, dyspepsia, flatulence, sore throat, atonic dyspepsia, hemorrhoids, menorrhagia in women, nausea, tonsillitis, scarlet fever and diphtheria.[1, 2]
The Health Benefits of Cayenne Pepper
1. Anti-Irritant Properties
Cayenne has the ability to ease upset stomach, ulcers, sore throats, spasmodic and irritating coughs, and diarrhea.
2. Anti-Cold and Flu Agent
Cayenne pepper aids in breaking up and moving congested mucus. Once mucus begins to leave the body, relief from flu symptoms generally follows. Suffering from stuffed up sinuses due to seasonal illness or allergies? Cayenne pepper aids in breaking up and moving congested mucus.
3. Anti-Fungal Properties
The results of one study indicated that cayenne pepper could effectively prevent the formation of the fungal pathogens phomopsis and collectotrichum . In vitro tests have found that CAY-1, a compound found in cayenne peppers, effectively suppressed the development of 16 different fungal strains, while remaining completely non-toxic to animal cells.
4. Migraine Headache Prevention
This may be related to the pepper’s ability to stimulate a pain response in a different area of the body, thus reverting the brain’s attention to the new site. Following this initial pain reaction, the nerve fibers have a depleted substance P (the nerve’s pain chemical), and the perception of pain is lessened.
5. Digestive Aid
Cayenne is a well-known digestive aid. It stimulates the digestive tract, increasing the flow of enzyme production and gastric juices. This aids the body’s ability to metabolize food (and toxins). Cayenne pepper is also helpful for relieving intestinal gas. It stimulates intestinal peristaltic motion, aiding in both assimilation and elimination.
6. Anti-Redness Properties
Cayenne’s properties makes it a great herb for many chronic and degenerative conditions.
7. Helps Produce Saliva
Cayenne stimulates the production of saliva, an important key to excellent digestion and maintaining optimal oral health.
8. Useful for Blood Clots
Cayenne pepper also helps reduce atherosclerosis, encourages fibrinolytic activity and prevents factors that lead to the formation of blood clots, all of which can help reduce the chances of a heart attack or stroke.
9. Detox Support
Cayenne is a known circulatory stimulant. It also increases the pulse of our lymphatic and digestive rhythms. By heating the body, the natural process of detoxification is streamlined. Cayenne also causes us to sweat, another important process of detoxification. Combined with lemon juice and honey, cayenne tea is an excellent morning beverage for total body detox.
10. Joint-Pain Reliever
Extremely high in a substance called capsaicin, cayenne pepper acts to cause temporary pain on the skin, which sends chemical messengers from the skin into the joint, offering relief for joint discomfort.
11. Anti-Bacterial Properties
Cayenne is an excellent preservative and has been used traditionally to prevent food contamination from from bacteria.[10, 11]
12. Possible Anti-Cancer Agent
Studies done at the Loma Linda University in California found that cayenne pepper may help prevent lung cancer in smokers . This may be again related to cayenne’s high quantity of capsaicin, a substance that might help stop the formation of tobacco-induced lung tumors. Other studies have also shown a similar reaction in cayenne’s resistance to liver cancer.[12, 13]
13. Supports Weight Loss
Scientists at the Laval University in Quebec found that participants who took cayenne pepper for breakfast were found to have less appetite, leading to less caloric intake throughout the day. Cayenne is also a great metabolic-booster, aiding the body in burning excess amounts of fats.
14. Promotes Heart-Health
Cayenne helps to keep blood pressure levels normalized. It also balances the body of LDL cholesterol and triglycerides. Animal studies found that capsaicin reduced serious heart arrhythmias and improved cardiac blood flow.
15. Remedy for Toothache
Cayenne is an excellent agent against tooth and gum diseases. When applied directly to the site, cayenne may help ease the discomfort associated with a sore tooth.
16. Topical Remedy
As a poultice, cayenne has been used to treat snake bites, rheumatism, sores, wounds and lumbago. More research is needed to determine it’s effectiveness.
17. Tastes Great!
This one is purely subjective, and those with sensitive palates may disagree, but many people find that a dash cayenne can add a little delicious zest to otherwise bland food.
Do you enjoy cayenne? Have you noticed any benefits from adding it to your diet? Leave a comment below and share your experience with us.
Health Benefits of Cayenne Pepper
Video Length: 4 minutes
- “Astounding Cayenne.” Pilgrims Rest, Andrews University, Jan. 2011. Accessed 27 Feb. 2017.
- “Herbal Extracts.” Mercer.Edu, Mercer University. Accessed 27 Feb. 2017.
- Jolayemi, A.T., and JAO Ojewole. “Comparative Anti-Inflammatory Properties of Capsaicin and Ethyl-aAcetate Extract of Capsicum Frutescens Linn [Solanaceae] in Rats.” African Health Sciences 13.2 (2013): 357–361. PMC. Web. 27 Feb. 2017.
- Wongvibulsin, Shannon. “A Guide to Natural Ways to Alleviate Allergy and Sinusitis Symptoms.” Explore Integrative Medicine, UCLA Health, 2014. Accessed 27 Feb. 2017.
- Renault, S., et al. “CAY-1, a Novel Antifungal Compound from Cayenne Pepper.” Medical Mycology., vol. 41, no. 1, 12 Mar. 2003, pp. 75–81. Accessed 27 Feb. 2017.
- Presser, Art. “Smart Supplementation – Cayenne.” Huntington College of Health Sciences, 2009.
- “Spices Exotic Flavors & Medicines Chile Pepper.” History & Special Collections UCLA Louise M. Darling Biomedical Library, 2002. Accessed 27 Feb. 2017.
- “Cayenne.” University of Utah Health Library, University of Utah, 2017. Accessed 27 Feb. 2017.
- Ehrlich, Stephen. “Cayenne.” University of Maryland Medical Center, University of Maryland, 22 June 2015. Accessed 27 Feb. 2017.
- Wahba, N.M., et al. “Antimicrobial Effects of Pepper, Parsley, and Dill and Their Roles in the Microbiological Quality Enhancement of Traditional Egyptian Kareish Cheese.” Foodborne Pathogens and Disease., vol. 7, no. 4, 19 Nov. 2009, pp. 411–8. Accessed 27 Feb. 2017.
- Omolo, Morrine A., et al. “Antimicrobial Properties of Chili Peppers.” Journal of Infectious Diseases and Therapy, vol. 02, no. 04, 2014. Accessed 27 Feb. 2017.
- “Frequent Spicy Food Consumption Linked with Longer Life.” Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, The President and Fellows of Harvard College, 5 Aug. 2015. Accessed 27 Feb. 2017.
- Lv, Jun, et al. “Consumption of Spicy Foods and Total and Cause Specific Mortality: Population Based Cohort Study.” The BMJ 351 (2015): h3942. PMC. Web. 27 Feb. 2017.
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