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Cayenne Pepper

Updated on February 4, 2013
Marye Audet profile image

Marye Audet-White is an internationally known food writer, food editor for Texas Living, cookbook author, and food blogger.

Many people swear by cayenne pepper as an herb for health. How valid are the tales of miraculous healing that the hawkers of cayenne in all its various forms seem to have published all over the Internet?

Well, the facts are there and there is good documentation. Cayenne pepper is well documented and accepted by many doctors and researches.

The University of Maryland released a study on the use of cayenne in medical conditions. In 2001

The National Institutes of Health gave $100,000.00 in grants to MycoLogics Inc., a medical research facility in Denver, Co. to look deeper into a study that found a chemical in the cayenne that killed both fungus and yeast

A study by the USDA found that cayenne pepper contains a substance which they have named, CAY-1. This substance kills 16 different types of fungi in laboratory tests. There have been other studies done and all have had positive results. Cayenne pepper is the real deal.

What is it used for?

Uses of Cayenne Pepper

It is amazing when you read of the stories of cayenne pepper healing people of all manner of problems. Other herbs seem to have very specific effects on certain parts of the body, or certain diseases but cayenne has a broad range of healing properties.

Cayenne is useful in treating many cardiovascular problems. It can be used for any of the following with good results:

  • Blood pressure, high or low

  • Increase circulation

  • May prevent strokes

  • Lowers serum cholesterol

  • Prevents clogged arteries

  • Treats heart attacks as an emergency measure

  • Stop hemorrhage

If cayenne did only one of those things it would be an excellent herbal remedy. However it does much more than that:

  • Gastro- esophageal reflux disease

  • Ease digestive problems

  • Relieves arthritis pain

  • Bursitis

  • Heals shingles as well as relieves the pain

  • Relieves lower back pain

  • Peripheral neuropathy

  • Headaches

  • Toothaches

  • Sprains

  • Strains

  • Colds

  • Elevates mood
  • Flu

  • Increased energy

  • Balances metabolism

  • Weight loss

  • Candida

  • Much more

What is Cayenne?

Capsicum is the correct name for cayenne. It is made from dried chilies that have been ground to a powder. Y

You may have used it in your kitchen, adding a little heat to soups, stews and sauces. This is the very same herb that can strengthen your immune system and give you increased energy.

The benefits of cayenne come from the flavonoids and carotenoids. Along with vitamins A and C these powerful antioxidants fight free radicals throughout the body. Obviously the teaspoon of cayenne you put in the family stew will not give you the health benefits you are looking for.

How much is enough?

Using Cayenne for Health

There are two main types of cayenne available, capsules and tinctures. Many experienced herbalist and naturopaths believe that taking cayenne in a capsule form does not have the same effect on the body as taking it in a tincture. The theory is that as soon as the nerve endings in the mouth become aware of cayenne they send signals to the rest of the body and blood flow increases within seconds. This does not happen when the cayenne is taken in capsule form.

While you probably don't want to gulp down a dropper of cayenne tincture you can mix it with eight ounces of water and drink it that way. The most effective ratio is four ounces of water mixed with eight drops of cayenne tincture. This should be taken four times a day.

Cayenne can also be added to creams and used to soothe sore muscles, bursitis and arthritis pain. Soak a towel in cayenne tea and apply it to the painful area.

If you are going out in the cold you can sprinkle it in your shoes or gloves to increase circulation to your hands and feet and bring warmth. Just becareful not to itch your eyes afterwards!

Are There Side Effects or Drug Interactions?

While cayenne is considered very safe it can have some side effects. Oddly enough, people with allergies to latex, kiwi, avocado, banana, or chestnuts may also have an allergy to cayenne.

There are also some drugs that cayenne could potentially interact with. Always talk to your health care provider before taking cayenne, especially if you are taking any of the following herbs or drugs.

  • Captopril

  • Enalapril

  • Lisinopril
  • Tagamet

  • Pepcid

  • Zantac

  • Prilosec

  • Maalox
  • Tums

  • Aspirin

  • Heparin
  • Warfarin

  • Ginko

  • Ginseng

  • Garlic

  • Theophylline.

While cayenne may not be a miracle cure there are a lot of people that are getting various types of relief from using cayenne. It doesn't cost very much and it may be just the cure you are looking for.


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    • RVDaniels profile image


      6 years ago from Athens, GA

      Well researched article and an easy read. I just liked it cause it tastes great, now I know it is good for me as well. Thanks.

    • KarenCreftor profile image

      Karen Creftor 

      6 years ago from Kent, UK

      Wonderful Hub Thanks Marye!

      I've just discovered cayenne whilst researching for recovery from Heavy Metal Poisoning.

      I'm still learning of ways to use it but have deff picked up some good tips here thanks!

      ~Kaz x

    • Man from Modesto profile image

      Man from Modesto 

      6 years ago from Kiev, Ukraine (formerly Modesto, California)

      I think the antifungal properties are the real power of cayenne. Recently, it has become more and more popular to acknowledge that both ulcers and cancer are caused by bacteria and fungus, respectively.

      I have been taking it for a few weeks days. I also had a big phlegm exodus and sore throat for two days. I took a few days rest, then started back when my mail-order cayenne arrived (organic, non-irradiated). All better now!

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      I was excited to find this site for irregular heartbeat and then read should not be taken with lisnopril has anyone used this even though on lisnopril

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Just started taking cayenne powder and after 1 week I took a whole teaspoon in one hit with a heap of water and all night my chest had a soft burn but nothing to bad. The next day I had a hoarsed voice when I spoke and I could feel my stomach bag didn't feel right and more so at night in bed. By the 3rd day my voice was ok but I then had a small cough and started bring up flem. I haven't touched it for a 1 week now as Im a little scared and Im still bring up flem but no cough. I know I had to much in 1 hit but just be careful to the new comers of Cayenne pepper as you dont want to go through what happened to me.I think I did some damage internally as I think the flem is a protection thing my body has produce to help my linning cope internally.

    • profile image

      Ted Powers 

      7 years ago

      We have been taking Cayenne Capsules/Powder approx 3 Months,What a difference more pep/Energy & has removed/reduced almost all of my Vericose Veins,which used to hurt & Throb at times. this is a very low cost solution & is great Relief for a sore throat as Well.

    • profile image

      lorna law 

      7 years ago

      hi marye, i really do not see the point in discussing this matter with my gp, as he will just google for an answer the same as me!!

    • Marye Audet profile imageAUTHOR

      Marye Audet 

      7 years ago from Lancaster, Texas

      lorna you need to discuss these questions with your health care professional.

    • profile image

      lorna law 

      7 years ago

      i have just started taking one 520mg cayenne capsules daily i find that they do give me heartburn i have only taken the capsules twice, i have a 4mm widening of one of the arterys in my brain and also not got a gallbladder, does anyone know if it is safe for me to continue taking cayenne capsules please?

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      First started using it in the famous lemonade diet and now can not stop, I drink it in water daily...great hub..

      mike :0)

    • Sehnonimo profile image


      7 years ago from San Bruno, CA

      Glad I read this. I've long heard of the benefits of Cayenne Pepper, and just started taking the capsules. The only reason I started taking it was because I had heard that it helps improve circulation, and I figured it might help me with some health issues. I didn't even know about the "weight loss" or "peripheral neuropathy"!

      And if it indeed does help with a sprain that has come and gone in my foot for over a year, I will be very happy!

      I was thinking of taking garlic supplements as well, so it's a good think I read this, first.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      how much does it cost? usually.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      I had become chronically ill with systemic candidiasis (anyone who has had this condition knows how debilitating, hopeless and alone you feel) and was looking for a simple cost effective remedy. I remember my body craving hot sauce but did not "get it" then. It was only after discovering cayenne as a remedy for heart palpitations that I found out how much it really clears up candida and start to rejuvenate your body.

    • Research Analyst profile image

      Research Analyst 

      9 years ago

      Cayenne Pepper is great, I use it to spice up my food and I have even tried the capsules, it really does work and keep you from catching colds too.

    • Sara W. Harding profile image

      Sara W. Harding 

      9 years ago from South Carolina

      I have not had to suffer long with a sore throat ever since I read that it can be used as a gargle. It takes the pain away instantly!

    • In The Doghouse profile image

      In The Doghouse 

      10 years ago from California

      Sprinkling it on an item that your dog chews will keep him from chewing that item as well! lol Nice hub on Cayenne Pepper!

    • funride profile image

      Ricardo Nunes 

      10 years ago from Portugal

      Very well researched hub about one of the best seasoners available. Why I called it seasoner!? Because I like to see it like that and use it just like a condiment instead of a "medicine" even though I know it is good for my health (like so many other foods). A big thumb up ;)

    • Only1tribe4u profile image


      10 years ago from Tucson

      Excellent piece on a wonderful nutrient. Whether we use it for cooking or for medicinal purposes you've posted an informative and interesting hub.

    • Misha profile image


      10 years ago from DC Area

      Yeah! I just love the taste! I don't really care if scientists say it is good or bad for my health - I trust my body, and it craves for it :D Lots and lots of it, much more than average American can possibly consume. Well, I don't put it into drinks or sweet dishes, mind you, but regular dishes have a lot of it :)

      We did not have cayenne back in USSR, so I got familiar with it only when I moved to USA, and got in love with it right away :)

    • Chef Jeff profile image

      Chef Jeff 

      10 years ago from Universe, Milky Way, Outer Arm, Sol, Earth, Western Hemisphere, North America, Illinois, Chicago.

      A friend of mine took a position as chef in Barnes Hospital in St. Louis some years back. He introduced using Tabasco in the food - just a drop, mind you.

      The patients reportedly said the food tastes much better and for a time they even opened up a small restaurant for people who were visiting the hospital.

      The food was great, as I can attest after we visited a friend who was there for a bleeding ulcer.

      I used to use a small pinch of cayenne in some of the dishes we prepared at my restaurant. People have the misconception that even a pinch in a gallon will burn the taste buds. They were quite surprised and pleased to find that it was perhaps the best natural flavor enhancer around.

    • C.S.Alexis profile image


      10 years ago from NW Indiana

      Thank you for including side affects and drug interactions with this article. I am all for herbal remedies but people need to pay attention to all possibilities when using herbs for the health benefits they provide. C.S. Alexis

    • solarstories profile image


      10 years ago from Pacific Northwest

      Good subject to have a hub about. I myself am a fan of cayanne and use it very often in herbal remedies.

    • Myriad profile image


      10 years ago from the bottom of your heart .. ie chennai!

      Very informative ! only just !but


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