It is named after the city of Cayenne in French Guiana. It is a capsicum related to bell peppers, jalapenos and paprika and is part of the nightshade family. Capsaicin is the main ingredient responsible for its heat, rated at 30,000 to 50,000 Scoville units.
Traditionally used for muscular pain, headaches, improving circulation and gastrointestinal protection. It was also added to herbal formulations because it acts as a catalyst for other herbs and aids in their absorption. It showed strong evidence of helping in the fight against many types of cancer.
Nicholas Culpeper Complete Herbal 1653 (paraphrased!)
Eases coughs, wind, colic, expels phlegm, aids digestion, provokes urine. Some benefits when mixed with (x)
- expels kidney stones (saxifrage)
- expels a dead birth (pennyroyal)
- eases sore throats (honey)
- dissolves hard knots on the body (turpentine)
- removes skin spots, marks and discolouring (saltpetre)
- carbuncles (hen’s grease)
- dissolves skin hardness (sharp vinegar)
- heals venomous sting or bites (tobacco leaves)
- eases toothache and prevents teeth rotting (gargle with husks in water decoction)
- the ashes rubbed on teeth, will cleanse and whiten
- helps watery inflammation of testes or vagina (applied warm with wine)
- two spoonfuls daily (steeped in wine for a day) with fasting to sweeten stinking breath
- for hysteric and other female diseases!
Modern Science Shows
Some studies show opposite effects of capsaicin, making it a double edged sword and confusing!
- Anti- Cancer and Cancer Protective: Inhibited tumour growth in prostate, colorectal, breast and leukaemia cancer lines, though not in lungs. Some studies show it as pro- cancerous!
- Anti-Fungal, Anti-Oxidant, Anti-Inflammatory: Relieved allergic airway inflammation in mice.
- Bladder: Helps over active bladder, via a catheter.
- Blood Pressure: Reduced heart rate. In another study it raised heart rate and blood pressure!
- Cholesterol: Improved lipid profile and aortic function in hamsters fed a high-cholesterol diet. Reduced atherosclerosis in cholesterol-fed rabbits.
- Diabetes: Lowered blood sugar in dogs and increased insulin secretion.
- Heart Attack: Vasospasm in otherwise healthy 25 and 41 year old male using cayenne pills for dieting. Yet capsaicin is also a vasodilator!
- IBS: Decreased intensity of abdominal pain and bloating.
- Immune: Profound effect on gut-mediated immune tolerance and autoimmunity.
- Pain: Chewing peppers relieved stubborn trigeminal neuralgia. Plasters on acupoints decreased the need for pain relief after jaw/face surgery. Plasters helped reduce retching, laryngospasm and vomiting post operatively in children. Capsaicin cream helped chronic soft tissue and back pain.
- Rhinitis: Intra-nasally rapidly and safely improved symptoms in rhinitis.
- Weight Loss: Accelerates the rate of fat loss and helps maintain lean muscle tissue combined with exercise and diet. Helps abdominal fat loss. A topical application to obese mice limited fat accumulation. Red pepper with caffeine leads to reduced calorie intake when individuals are given free access to foods.
Adding Cayenne to your Diet: Sprinkleon steamed vegetables, meats and salads, add to stews and smoothies. Considering the double edged sword, adding tasty amounts to the diet is recommended rather than taking excessive amounts in tablets.
We are happy to advise you on your health matters.
Lin Bridgeford DO KFRP MSCC ICAK (UK) MSc
Registered Osteopath & Kinesiologist & Yoga Teacher
Aether Bios Clinic