From hot sauce to hot wings cayenne has been heating things up in the kitchen for centuries.
Named for the city of Cayenne in French Guiana, cayenne pepper is also known as red pepper
But depending upon where you are, you may also hear it referred to as Guinea spice, cow-horn pepper,
aleva or bird pepper.
As a powder, as dried flakes, in its whole form or in a thin, vinegar-based sauce–it is often the key to
an delectable array of hot and spicy dishes across the globe.
In my own pantry, cayenne is always on hand, ready to spice up my soups, stews and vegetable dishes.
Many of us usually think of cayenne as a popular spice in a variety of cuisines, but more importantly,
cayenne has also been used as a health aid and natural remedy for a wide range of conditions.
Used both externally and internally, cayenne pepper is not expensive and is easily available,
so make sure to keep some on hand in your healthy, green and natural home.
Here are some of the amazing health benefits of this colorful spice.
It seems ironic that a spice that causes pain on the tongue can actually help pain in the body.
But capsaicin, a chemical in cayenne that accounts for its “hotness,”relieves pain by stimulating
the body’s own pain-relieving mechanism – namely, endorphins.
Cayenne also contains pain-relieving compounds called salicylates.
(Aspirin contains a form of salicylate called acetylsalicylic acid.)
You can take cayenne internally in capsules or add it to foods and drinks (try tomato juice).
Using cayenne on the skin at the site of pain is also effective – research has clearly shown that
capsaicin creams relieve pain when applied to arthritic joints.
It apparently dulls local pain receptors, and it also increases blood flow to the area.
#2. Circulatory Benefits
Cayenne increases circulation and makes the blood less likely to clot, according to James A. Duke, PhD.
Prevention of clot formation helps avoid scenarios that could give rise to heart attacks and strokes.
The aspirin-like compounds “thin” the blood as aspirin itself is reported to do.
#3. Colds, Flu & Sore Throat
Cayenne is antibacterial and encourages sweating, which means it can really help fight
infections in the throat and upper-respiratory area.
When combined with garlic in a broth, it is an excellent early treatment for colds and flu.
As mentioned above, cayenne helps circulation.
The salicylates act like aspirin, thinning the blood but without the stomach irritation that
can occur with aspirin.
This humble spice is not just a lively condiment.
It has many health benefits and is considered safe.
#5. Ulcer Prevention
The use of cayenne to treat ulcers may seem counter-intuitive.
But contrary to popular American belief, hot peppers do not cause ulcers.
Red pepper may, in fact, protect the stomach lining from developing an ulcer.
It has been shown to protect laboratory animals’ stomachs from large doses of aspirin that
would normally cause ulcers.
#6. Weight Control
Capsaicin has been shown to increase energy expenditure and acts as a metabolism booster
which is beneficial in long-term weight loss.
Animal studies have confirmed that capsaicin has the ability to boost metabolism, which in
turn causes weight loss.
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
A study in England showed as much as a 25 percent increase in metabolic rates–that is, how
fast you burn calories–in individuals who ate a teaspoon each of red pepper sauce and
mustard at every meal.
Cayenne pepper may help to suppress appetite.
Also, if you eat hot and spicy food you will be likely to drink more, causing a feeling of fullness
that will help prevent overeating.
Many Americans, though, tend to add spicy hot pepper sauces to high-fat foods, so be sure you don’t
undermine your weight loss attempt by using cayenne in high-fat, high-calorie foods.
#7. Cleansing Kidney-Liver Flush
To enhance the cleansing process that the body experiences during sleep prepare a cleansing
pre-breakfast drink with cayenne pepper at least 30 minutes before eating or drinking anything else.
Cayenne pepper improves circulation.
Lemon juice helps to remove mucus.
Cold-pressed olive oil lubricates the colon and aids elimination and garlic cleanses the body.
8 oz distilled water
Juice of 1 lemon
1 pinch to 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1-2 cloves fresh garlic
Blend the ingredients and drink immediately.
Cayenne pepper has long been rumored to be an aphrodisiac because it contains high amounts
Consumption dilates the blood vessels, speeds the metabolism and the amount of heat the human
body puts off is influenced.
I haven’t tested this theory yet, but the night is young.
Let’s turn up the heat!
Whatever you do, make sure to add a lot of spice to your life with cayenne pepper.
How have you used cayenne pepper in your life?
What are your favorite uses?
Share your thoughts, experiences and suggestions with us.