Cayenne pepper (Capsicum annum) targets the digestive and circulatory systems. It regulates blood pressure, strengthens the pulse, feeds the heart, lowers cholesterol, thins the blood, cleanses the circulatory system, heals ulcers, stops hemorrhaging, speeds healing of wounds, rebuilds damaged tissue, eases congestion, aids digestion, regulates elimination, relieves arthritis and rheumatism, prevents the spread of infection and numbs pain.
It stimulates every system and cell of the body and is valued around the world for its uses as a stimulant, astringent, antispasmodic, circulatory tonic, antidepressant and antibacterial agent.
In addition, cayenne acts as a diaphoretic to induce sweating; a rubefacient to increase circulation at the skin's surface and a carminative to help prevent and eliminate gas. Used as a condiment, cayenne aids digestion and soothes intestinal ailments by stimulating the stomach to produce mucus.
The Pungent Pepper
In the circulatory system, cayenne helps the arteries, veins and capillaries regain elasticity by feeding the cell structure. It also helps equalize circulation by regulating the flow of blood from the head to the feet. Cayenne strengthens the pulse (increasing pulse power rather than the frequency) and boosts the overall health of the entire cardiovascular system.
Cayenne's ability to help lower cholesterol was first noticed during a routine experiment at the Central Food Technological Research Institute in Mysore, India. When scientists at the Institute added cayenne to the high-cholesterol diet of the test animals, the usual rise in serum and liver cholesterol didn't take place. Instead, the cholesterol was excreted. Cayenne prevents the absorption of cholesterol.
Further studies showed that diet plays an integral part in cayenne's ability to help the body shed excess cholesterol. The red pepper was unable to influence cholesterol intake when the diet contained little protein. With enough protein in the diet, cayenne inhibited cholesterol absorption significantly.
It also helps thin the blood and prevent blood clots that can clog the arteries, causing heart attack and stroke. Ingesting cayenne stimulates the body's fibrinolytic system helping prevent clots from forming and dissolving clots that have already formed.
Daily doses of cayenne keep the fibrinolytic system operating efficiently. Perhaps this is why natives living in New Guinea, Africa, Korea, India and Thailand have a lower instance of thrombolic disease and greater fibrinolytic activity than Caucasians living in the same areas who do not make cayenne part of their regular diet.
In more ways than any other such fruit, cayenne gets the blood moving. Touted as "the purest and most certain stimulant known to man," cayenne is considered to be one of the best "crisis" botanicals. By helping the circulatory system operate more efficiently, the snappy red pepper boosts the energy level and eases the damaging effects of stress on the body.
In experiments on human subjects at the University of Dusseldorf, cayenne was found to increase patients' ability to concentrate. The stimulant and anti-fatigue effects of cayenne were found to be immediate, temporary and harmless.
By increasing the circulation of the blood to peripheral tissues throughout the body, cayenne helps deliver necessary nutrients to inflamed and infected areas. Studies show that the nutrients in food ingested with cayenne are assimilated faster and more easily.
The fruit itself contains many nutrients essential to the health of the circulatory system including alphatocopherols, vitamin C and minerals. Cayenne also contains a high amount of vitamin A (beta-carotene) which aids in healing ulcers.
The redder the cayenne pepper, the more vitamin A it contains. Paprika, the mildest cayenne, has the highest vitamin C content of all. Cayenne, the vibrant red fruit bursting with heat and energy, holds more vitamin C and beta-carotene than any other plant in the garden.
Cayenne's high mineral content, including sulphur, iron, calcium, magnesium and phosphorus, makes it an effective treatment for diabetes, gas, arthritis, pancreatic and throat disorders. The high vitamin C content of the fruit helps target colds, while the tremendous amount of beta-carotene helps speed the healing of ulcers.
One of the most remarkable qualities of cayenne is its ability to act as a catalyst. Cayenne intensifies the beneficial effects of other herbs by ensuring speedy and thorough distribution of the herb's active components to the important functional centres of the body such as those responsible for metabolism, data transmission, cellular respiration and neural horomonal activity.
A little bit of cayenne goes a long way. Since just a small quantity of cayenne can dramatically increase the efficiency of most herbs, this catalyst herb is added to nearly every herbal combination available. Added to garlic, for example, cayenne speeds up its antibiotic action It boosts the power of garlic so much it's akin to taking liquid penicillin. Together they lower blood pressure safely and rapidly.
Cayenne is used in formulas for pain relief, infection, respiratory ailments, female problems, thyroid balance and heart treatments. It's an ingredient in laxatives, diuretics and ulcer medications. Added to ginger, cayenne helps clean out the bronchial tubes. Regardless of what ailment the herbal formula is designed to treat, the addition of cayenne speeds the circulation thereby aiding the absorption and effectiveness of the formula.
Internally, cayenne is a catalyst and a stimulant that can be a relaxant to soothe gas, diarrhea, asthma and toothaches. Proven effective in healing gastric ulcers, cayenne is recommended as a gargle for a sore throat and as a hangover cure. In the West Indies, natives who are feeling feverish sip a concoction of hot water, cayenne pods, sugar and sour orange juice. West Indians favor a local dish called "mandram" to aid digestion. It combines cayenne, sliced cucumbers, shallots, onions, lemon juice and Maderia wine.
Externally, the herb makes a very effective pain-killer or anesthetic. Cayenne was used in poultices for centuries as an irritant or counter-irritant. Exposure to the pungent herb can cause pain but prolonged exposure deadens the nerves to pain.
Folk medicine prescribes cayenne powder, plaster, poultice, tincture and ointment for a variety of aches and pains including arthritis, rheumatism and bursitis. One remedy for arthritis entails rubbing cayenne tincture on the inflamed joint, wrapping it tightly in red flannel and letting it rest overnight.
Cayenne is touted as one of the most powerful cures for hemorrhoids. Application of cayenne ointment brings relief from hemorrhoids but it is also recommended that the patient be warned of the pungent herb's potency!
Mexican folklore also refers to the use of cayenne as a pain-killer and it has been applied dry on wounds. Capsaicin stimulates and then inhibits the transmission of pain from the skin and membranes. Applied to wounds it acts as both an analgesic and antibiotic. Scientific literature in Bulgaria first reported on the antibacterial benefits of cayenne in 1927.
Mixing a little cayenne with plantain results in a poultice that has the power to eject foreign embedded in the skin, according to legend.
Canadian Health Reform Products Ltd.
By Dick Quinn