Capsicum frutescens, C. annum, capsicum, hot pepper, red pepper
PHYTOCHEMICALS & NUTRIENTS
Alpha-carotene, beta-carotene, beta-ionone, amino acids, caffeic acid, calcium, campesterol, capsaicin, carvone, caryophyllene, chlorogenic acid, citric acid, cryptoxanthin, essential fatty acids, folate, hesperidin, iron, kaempferol, limonene, lutein, myristic acid, magnesium, 1,8-cineole, p-coumaric acid, phosphorus, potassium, quercetin, scopoletin, stigmasterol, vitamins B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, C, and E, zeaxanthin, zinc
ACTIONS & USES
Aside from its delightful flavor in foods, cayenne aids digestion and improves circulation. Used in blends, cayenne acts as a catalyst for other herbs. Its properties as a good general stimulant make it an especially beneficial herb for the heart, also aiding the kidneys, lungs, pancreas, spleen, and stomach. Taken regularly, cayenne can reach all areas of the body, help improve the circulatory system, regulate blood flow, and help normalize blood pressure (good for high and low blood pressure).
Cayenne peppers have been found effective in the treatment of arthritis and rheumatism. It has been used to help ward off colds, sinus infections, and sore throats by building the body’s immune response with its high Vitamin C content.
Taken internally, cayenne can help stop internal OR external bleeding. When applied topically cayenne powder is useful in the treatment of pain.
Used with lobelia, cayenne is a treatment for nerves. This is a good herb for the treatment of pyorrhea and sore throats.
A carminative, cayenne can help to expel gas from the digestive tract and thereby ease bowel pains. As a sialagogue, cayenne will stimulate the production of saliva. This herb has anti-tumor and anti-catarrhal (anti-mucous) properties. This herb is also classified as an anti-ulcer, anti-arrhythmic (regulating the heart), anti-microbial, and thermogenic, stimulating the body’s burning of fat cells.
Avoid contact with the eyes. I caution parents to use restraint concerning the use of cayenne in the treatment of wounds on children except in the case of emergency.
My rule of thumb when using remedies on children is to first place it on the most sensitive area of your own body. If you find it comfortable and effective THEN try a small amount on the child.
Even adults can find it difficult to deal with cayenne’s heat, preferring to take their dose in powder-filled capsules. When preparing cayenne peppers for use, it is recommended that you wear gloves or first coat your hands with olive oil. Wash your hands immediately afterwards. This will help prevent the oils of the peppers from penetrating the skin and causing a painful burning sensation. If you forget to do this step once, you won’t likely forget it again.
Some cautions with which I do not agree include the belief that long-term topical applications can lead to blistering and skin ulceration. Others believe that high doses taken internally over extended periods might bring about chronic gastritis, kidney and liver damage, and neurotoxic effects.
My personal opinion is that these effects are caused by unrelated disorders and not the use of cayenne.
A wonderful book on the restorative/healing effects of cayenne can be found at http://www.bulkherbstore.com/LFD, called Left For Dead by Dick Quinn. This book tells the story of how Dick used cayenne to help regained his health after failed heart bypass surgery. The Bulk Herb Store is also one of my trusted sources for powdered cayenne.
Disclaimer: None of this is to be considered a substitute for medical examination and/or treatment. Use what you will, but do so knowing that you must consider your own circumstance and the application of these things with sound judgment.