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17 Health Benefits of Cayenne Pepper

Updated on December 28, 2017
Chuck Bluestein profile image

At age 16 I was a volunteer at a hospital bacteriology lab. I became a chemist for U.S. government. Then I studied health & related fields.

Cayenne Pepper

Cayenne peppers.
Cayenne peppers. | Source
Ripening cayenne pepper on plant.
Ripening cayenne pepper on plant. | Source

Cayenne Pepper Health Benefits

A billion Indians in India use cayenne pepper to spice up their food. This is what makes their food too hot (spicy) for most Americans to eat. Indian food is a good introduction to vegetarians, since most dishes are without meat.

The cow is considered sacred by Hindus so they do not eat beef but use the milk of the cow. University of Maryland Medical Center (UMMC) says:

Native Americans have used cayenne (Capsicum annuum or frutescens, or red pepper) as both food and medicine for at least 9,000 years. The hot and spicy taste of cayenne pepper is mostly due to a substance known as capsaicin, which helps reduce pain.

To avoid confusion cayenne is a plant in a family (genus) of plants called capsicum. This is different than the phytochemical capsaicin that is in it. The above webpage starts out by talking about pain relief. See this page for interactions with drugs. Cayenne pepper is believed to have originated around the Amazon river.

Note that the interactions happen with plants that work. If the plant does something that a drug does, they call it an interaction since it makes the effect of the drug stronger. Plants contain thousands of phytochemicals or phytonutrients that are plant medicines. Over 900 of these have been identified.

For example cayenne pepper contains capsaicin. Tomatoes and red grapefruit contain lycopene. Grapes contain resveratrol. The spice or herb turmeric contains curcumin. This is why I do not list the vitamins and minerals in herbs or foods.

Vitamins and minerals are healthy for you and help the phytochemicals to work better but thousands of plant foods are loaded with almost all the vitamins and minerals. On the other hand only turmeric contains curcumin. Only hot peppers contains capsaicin.

The Latin name (scientific name) for cayenne is capsicum annum. You might wonder why plants need a scientific name in addition to their common name. A cultivar is a plant variety that has been produced in cultivation by selective breeding.

I have never seen a fresh cayenne pepper, but I have seen jalapeño peppers and habanero peppers. Jalapeño (jalapeno) is a cultivar of the species capsicum annnum originating in Mexico. Habanero or habañero is also a cultivar of capsicum annum. So they are also cayenne peppers. They are also chili peppers.

Dr. Richard Schulze says on his blog that he has a doctorate in herbology from the School of Natural Healing. But Education Portal says: "A Doctor of Philosophy degree in herbology does not exist. Students interested in herbology education can earn degrees in botany and naturopathic medicine." I am a detail oriented person and many people who have a doctorate, do not say what it is for. For example someone can have a PhD in English and he can say that he is a doctor.

Richard Schulze has a catalog and in it is his Cayenne Power Blend product (liquid and powder). The ingredients in it are "Mexican habanero, jalapeño, African, Chinese, Thai, Korean and Japanese peppers." He does say:

Cayenne is the greatest herbal aid to circulation and can be used on a regular basis. There is no other herb that stimulates the blood flow so rapidly, powerfully and completely.

Whenever possible try to get organic cayenne or any food. There is a fungicide that is used on greens that was shown in a study to make mice fatter. So you can say that non-organic greens are fattening.

17 Health Benefits of Cayenne

1. Cayenne Increases Metabolism and Suppresses Appetite

Wikipedia says:

Cayenne pepper consumption dilates the blood vessels and speeds the metabolism due to the high amounts of capsaicin. This increases circulation and blood flow to all major organs which facilitates oxygen and nutrient delivery.

Webmd.com has an article called Cayenne Pepper May Burn Calories, Curb Appetite. It says that according to a study:

Red cayenne pepper may help burn calories and curb appetite.

They call this calorie-burning effect a thermogenic effect.

2. Relieves Pain

This was mentioned on the UMMC webpage above. It can be applied topically to help external injuries or helping muscle pain and arthritis. It is also good to take it internally while applying it external.

This webpage on Cayenne says:

Capsaicin has received tremendous attention as a topical analgesic [painkiller] for relieving the pain that often accompanies herpes zoster (shingles) outbreaks and other skin ailments. Capsaicin is approved by the Food and Drug Administration [FDA] as an Over-the-Counter (OTC) medication and is commonly recommended by doctors under the trade name Zostrix for this purpose, as well as for controlling pain from rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis.

3. Prevents Blood Clots

It does the above by preventing platelets from sticking together. Other than hawthorn berry, cayenne pepper may be the best herbal food for cardiovascular health. Heart attacks and strokes are caused by blood clots so this benefit is very important.

On the Dr. John Christopher webpage below it tells about using cayenne pepper to stop heart attacks. On the last video below the naturopathic doctor tells about stopping a stranger's heart attack with cayenne pepper in water. It is a very entertaining story.

4. Helps Improve Circulation of Blood

It is a good idea to take it easy in adding this spice to a food if you are not used to it. There are a few reports of bad effects from people using a lot of it that are not used to it. A friend of mine is not a regular consumer of hot foods and his wife made him a meal that was very hot (spicy). He said that afterwards his heart was beating erratically.

5. Lowers High Blood Pressure

Above Wikipedia says cayenne pepper dilates blood vessels. This reduces blood pressure.

6. Cayenne Promotes Sweating

Something that promotes sweating is called a diaphoretic. The Herbal Handbook: A User's Guide to Medical Herbalism says:

Cayenne is the most useful of the stimulating diaphoretics. In American herbalism it is considered almost a cure-all, essential as part of most treatments.

7. Helps Detoxification of the Body

The body has 4 excretory organs to get rid of toxins. These include the liver, lungs, kidneys and the skin (the biggest one). So sweating helps the body to detoxify. Note that the colon is an eliminative organ. The digestive system is a tube passing through the body and is not considered part of the body proper. The colon just holds the waste.

8. Anti-Cold and Flu Agent

A big part of the above is the detoxifying effect. The flu or colds happen since the body needs to detoxify. If the immune system is strong enough (toxins weaken it), the person will not catch this virus.

9. Cayenne Prevents Cancer

This is also probably associated with the detoxification effect of this herb that improves the immune system.

10. Heals Ulcers

Here is a webpage that has stories about cayenne by master herbalist John Christopher. It explains why cayenne was his favorite herb. He is the most well known herbalist in America. He created over 50 herbal formulas. The last that I heard is that some of them are still sold by Natures Way.

It tells a story of a guy that had terrible ulcers and would make fun of Dr. John Christopher using cayenne pepper on ulcers. So one night he was in so much pain, he decided to kill himself by taking excessive amounts of cayenne pepper. It was the first time in a long time that he slept all night. It cured his ulcer. Also this webpage says:

When only a young man in his thirties, Dr. Christopher was told by the medical doctors that he could not live past his fortieth year because of arthritis, hardening of arteries, stomach ulcers, and some automobile accidents that had damaged him rather badly. He was so concerned that he started using cayenne, working up to a teaspoon taken three times a day [in a glass of hot water].

To make a long story short, he lived until age 74

11. Helps Digestion

12. Prevents Migraine and Cluster Headaches

Cluster headaches are intense headaches that do not last very long.

13. Helps with Joint Pain

14. Relieves Allergies

This is part of cayenne having anti-irritant properties.

15. Treats Psoriasis

According to the American Academy of Dermatology, a study show that cayenne pepper can improve itching and other symptoms.

16. Helps Teeth and Gum Diseases

17. Cayenne Pepper is Anti-Fungal and Anti-Bacterial and Can Stop Bleeding

So you can use it topically (externally) on injured skin. For more on this see the webpage above with Dr. Christopher stories (he used it to treat gunshot victims before taking them to the hospital.

The Health Benefits of Cayenne Pepper (capsicum)

What Are The After Effects When You Drink Cayenne Pepper?

The Amazing Effects of Cayenne Pepper -- My Personal Experience

Comments

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    • profile image

      Frank Delacruz 

      9 months ago

      Does cayenne interfere with Xarelto?

    • tirelesstraveler profile image

      Judy Specht 

      4 years ago from California

      Excellent information. My friend adds cayenne to most of her food to increase her metabolism and improve her health. She is beautiful and very healthy.

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