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About Cayenne

Originally from South America, the cayenne plant has spread across the globe both as a food and as a medicine. Cayenne is very closely related to bell peppers, jalapeños, paprika, and other similar peppers.

In what conditions might cayenne be supportive?  Bursitis, diabetic neuropathy, osteoarthritis, psoriasis, rheumatoid arthritis, shingles (herpes zoster), postherpetic neuralgia.

Historical or traditional use: The potent, hot fruit of cayenne has been used as medicine for centuries. It was considered helpful for various conditions of the gastrointestinal tract, including stomachaches, cramping pains, and gas. Cayenne was frequently used to treat diseases of the circulatory system. It is still traditionally used in herbal medicine as a circulatory tonic (a substance believed to improve circulation). Rubbed on the skin, cayenne is a traditional, as well as modern, remedy for rheumatic pains and arthritis due to what is termed a counterirritant effect. A counterirritant is something which causes irritation to a tissue to which it is applied, thus distracting from the original irritation (such as joint pain in the case of arthritis).  The fruit is used.

Active constituents: Cayenne contains a resinous and pungent substance known as capsaicin. This chemical relieves pain and itching by acting on sensory nerves. Capsaicin temporarily stimulates release of various neurotransmitters from these nerves, leading to their depletion. Without the neurotransmitters, pain signals can no longer be sent.1 The effect is temporary. Capsaicin and other constituents in cayenne have been shown to have several other actions, including reducing platelet stickiness and acting as antioxidants.

How much should I take? Creams containing 0.025-0.075% capsaicin are generally used. There may be a burning sensation for the first several times the cream is applied, but this should gradually decrease with each use. The hands must be carefully and thoroughly washed after use, or gloves should be worn, to prevent the cream from accidentally reaching the eyes, nose, or mouth, which would cause a burning sensation. Do not apply the cream to areas of broken skin. A cayenne tincture can be used in the amount of 0.3-1 ml three times daily. Are there any side effects or interactions? Besides causing a mild burning for the first few applications (or severe burning if accidentally placed in sensitive areas, such as the eyes), there are no side effects from use of the capsaicin cream. Very high intake of cayenne internally may cause ulcers, but the necessary amount is rarely achieved with sensible intake.

As with anything applied to the skin, some people may have an allergic reaction to the cream, so the first application should be to a very small area of skin.

Thanks to Paul Wheeler for this compilation of other information on Cayenne


FAMILY: SOLANACEAE (‘Solamen’ in Latin means “quieting”); these are nightshades, which include: tomato, potato, red/green bell peppers; eggplant; and the deadly nightshade, henbane, Jimson weed, the petunia, and tobacco. There are 75 genera and over 2000 species; most are herbs, some are small shrubs, and a few are small trees. The leaves show great variation in size and shape but are always arranged in an alternate fashion on the stems. It is the flowers, however, as is true of most plant families, that offer the best characteristics for the recognition of the family. Both sepals and petals are present. The five united or partially united petals usually form a symmetrical corolla, which is wheel or bell shaped. The stamens, usually five in number, attached near the base of the corolla. The superior ovary contains two cavities. At maturity, the ovary becomes a fleshy or dry fruit containing many seeds. The fleshy type of fruit is called a berry and is the more common type in the family; the dry fruit is known as a capsule. Presumably all members of the family developed from one common ancestor in the remote geological past. (p.16)

The name “Cayenne” is derived from the river Cayenne in French Guiana. Pepper is a misnomer when applied to Cayenne; Cayenne is commonly called Guinea Pepper in England and Europe.

As an herb for health our attention is concerned with CAPSICUM ANNUM AND CAPSICUM FRUTESCENS; AKA “bird pepper’ or ‘guinea pepper’. 

COMMON NAMES: African pepper; African red pepper; American red pepper; bird pepper, capsicum, cayenne, cayenne pepper, Spanish pepper, Casique or Poivre de Cayenne (French); Spanisher Pfeffer or Scholtenpfeffer (German).

IDENTIFYING CHARACTERISTICS: The most pungent is the yellowish red fruit of Sierra Leone; the African birdseye Cayenne (Capsicum fastigiatum) are small, pungent, bright pods and retain the heat in the body longer than any other variety. Zanzibar chilies often have the stalks attached. The African varieties grow on shrub-size plants and the fruit is small and pungent, while the American varieties are herb-size plants with the fruit being larger and heart shaped.

PART USED—FRUIT (the oil is in the seeds). 

THERAPEUTIC ACTION: Stimulant, tonic, carminative, sialogogue (stimulates the secretion of saliva), stomachic, rubefacient, pungent, alterative, astringent, antispasmodic, sudorific, emetic, antiseptic, condiment, anti-rheumatic.
• Cayenne is a medicinal and nutritional herb; it is the purest and most certain stimulant. There can be little doubt that Cayenne furnishes one of the purest and strongest stimulants, which can be introduced into the stomach; while at the same time it has nothing of the narcotic effects of ardent spritis. It is said to have been used with success in curing some cases or disease that had resisted all other remedies. It is no doubt the most powerful stimulant known; its power is entirely congenial t nature, being powerful only in raising and maintaining the heat on which life depends. It is extremely pungent, and when taken, sets the mouth as it were on fire; this last, however, but a few minutes, and I consider it essentially a benefit, for its effects on the glands causes the saliva to flow freely, and leaves the mouth clean and moist.
• Practice has proved Cayenne to be a PURE STIMULANT; one that may be safely administered and efficaciously applied, under every disease, whenever anything in the form of a stimulant is required by the system; in fact, no other medicine can as easily restore and retain the vital heat of the body. It also excites and promotes profuse perspiration, and in all cases in perfect harmony with the animal economy. It imparts a pungent heat to the throat and mouth, but this may be considered as indicative of its good qualities, for it is thus made to act powerfully on the salivary glands without injuring them and preserves a good tone to the digestive organs. The warmth that it imparts to the stomach causes an equal distribution of the fluids, without which health cannot possibly be retained in a animal economy. When taken into the stomach, it retains its heat longer than any other stimulant; at times it imparts a powerful sense of heat to the bowels, occasioned by the sudden expansion of the parts which have previously been cramped and contracted with pain. The active stimulus of the pepper thus operating upon the parts affected, produces a speedy reaction in the system, removing the obstructions by natural evacuations and profuse perspiration.
• Cayenne as a nutritional herb: start with a small amount of 40 thousand Skoville unit Cayenne, take approximately a level ¼ teaspoon, or one ‘0’ capsule full. Stir into a small amount of water and drink. Do this twice a day. When adjusted to this level of Cayenne then increase the daily amount gradually over a period of time, I suggest 12-18 months, until one teaspoon is being consumed three times a day. To begin with it is best to use Cayenne just before a meal. Over time Cayenne can be taken on an empty stomach, again start out with small amounts and increase gradually over time.
• This herb is a great food for the circulatory system in that it feeds the necessary elements into the cell structure of the arteries, veins and capillaries so that these regain the elasticity of youth again, and the blood pressure adjusts itself to normal. It rebuilds the tissue in the stomach and heals the stomach and intestinal ulcers; in equalizing the blood circulation, Cayenne produces natural warmth; and in stimulating the peristaltic motion of the intestines, it aids in assimilation and elimination.
• When the venous structure becomes loaded with sticky mucus, the blood has a harder time circulating; therefore, higher pressure forces the liquid through. Cayenne regulates the flow of blood from the head to the feet so that the pressure is equalized; it influences the heart immediately, then gradually extends its effects to the arteries, capillaries, and nerves (the frequency of the pulse is not increased, but is given more vigor).
• CIRCULATION—Warming; dilating; specific for varicose veins; equalizes the blood pressure in the arterial and venous system; equalizes;
• FOR: allergies; muscle cramps; improved digestion; more pep and energy; wound healing with minimal scar tissue.
• Cayenne is a counter-irritant; brings blood to the surface to take toxins away.
• Capsicum supports the natural beat (rhythm) of the viscera and interior actions of the glandular, circulatory, lymphatic, and digestive systems. It has been used with great success as a cure for spotted fever (?); the most active stimulant to support and re-animate feeble or exhausted powers. (p. 66)
• This is a medicine of great value in the practice, and may be safely used in all cases of disease, to raise and retain the internal vital heat of the system, cause a free perspiration, and keep the determining powers to the surface. The only preparation is to have it reduced to a fine powder. For a dose, take from half to a teaspoonful in hot water or tea sweetened with honey.
• Dr. Coffin includes Cayenne pepper in his composition powder to restore the normal function of the body in the various stages of pregnancy and childbirth. For morning sickness he recommends a combination of ‘White poplar bark, agrimony, centaury, raspberry leaves, yarrow and rhubarb, each a quarter of an ounce, steep in two quarts of water, strain, and add while hot two teaspoons of powdered cinnamon, half a teaspoonful of Cayenne pepper, and let the patient take one tablespoonful every three hours until the symptoms are removed if this should not relieve, give an emetic and repeat if necessary.
o For heartburn, Dr. Coffin recommended four ounces of white poplar bark to one quart of water to which was added ½ ounce of powdered myrrh and ½ teaspoon of Cayenne.
o Cayenne is included n various formulas by Dr. Coffin for the relief of difficulty in passing urine, swelling of the legs, pains in the back, colic, cramps, convulsions, and flooding preceding miscarriage.
• Capsicum is a powerful rubefacient.
• Capsicum is a general nervous stimulant; a specific for delirium tremens.
• For atonic gout, in paralysis, in dropsy, in tympanitis, and in the debilitated stages of fever.
• For Scrofulous; dyspepsia; flatulence; an excellent carminative.
• For sore throat—gargle (prepare the gargle with honey); for spasmodic and irritating coughs; heartburn and diarrhea;
• Enables feeble stomachs to digest food; for atonic dyspepsia; specific for hemorrhoids; cures intermittent fever; Capsicum has the power to control menorrhagia; relieves sea-sickness;
• In delirium tremens it is beneficial by enabling the patient to retain and digest food.
• Capsicum is particularly efficient in tonsillitis, and the sore throat of scarlet fever and in diphtheria no application is so efficient as a strong gargle or wash make with Capsicum.
• Promote digestion; relieves pains of the womb; removes obstructed menstruation; for quinsy; for all diseases of the throat; use as a plaster with honey for rheumatic pains, pains of the joints, gout, swellings &c; Use outwardly as a liniment, apply it warm or hot for arthritis and rheumatism; gargle for scarlet fever; use an infusion for ulcers in the mouth, strep throat or tonsillitis. (p.103)
• Cayenne is an excellent remedy for a cold; mix infusion with slippery elm and molasses or honey, and take in doses throughout the day; also excellent for sore throat and coughs.
• Cayenne mixed with pennyroyal taken for three days will expel the deadbirth from a miscarriage.
• Eases toothache; preserves the teeth from rotting, and when rubbed on the gums, stimulates them enough to prevent pyorrhea.
• Excellent for any type of internal hemorrhage, (create an infusion with bethroot or star root);
• Capsicum is an important remedy in cholera; Capsicum stops vomiting (combine with equal parts of Capsicum and common table salt, one half ounce of each, one pint of good vinegar, give in tablespoon doses for cholera, vomiting cholera morbus.
• In chronic lumbago a plaster of Capsicum with garlic, pepper and liquid amber (silarasa) or storax is an efficient stimulant and rubefacient application. (p105)
• When made in to a lozenge with sugar and tragacanth it is a remedy for hoarseness.
• For a carminative make pills of equal parts of Capsicum, rhubarb and ginger or aloes.
• Combine Capsicum with cinchona for intermittent and lethargic affections and for atonic gout and in advanced stages of rheumatism.
• Combine with asafoetida and sweet flag root or camphor in the form of pills in cases of cholera.
• Capsicum has a powerful action on the mucous membrane, and in hoarseness and sore throat, and in putrid throat a gargle made of Capsicum is particularly beneficial.
• By pouring hot vinegar upon the fruits of Capsicum all the essential qualities are preserved. This vinegar is an excellent stomachic.
• The whole plant steeped in milk is successfully applied to reduce swellings and hardened tumors.
• An infusion with cinnamon and sugar is a valuable drink for patients suffering from delirium tremens as it satisfies the craving in dipsomaniacs. A dose of ten grains of finely powdered capsicum seed, given with an ounce of hot water, two or three times a day, sometimes shows wonderful effects in cases of delirium tremens.
• Capsicum can be used in snake bite.
• As well as the fruit being used as a spice, the leaves were applied to ulcers and headaches. (p.111)
• Capsicum is given internally in atonic dyspepsia and flatulence. It is used externally as a counter-irritant in the form of ointment, plaster, medicated wool, &c. for the relief of rheumatism and lumbago.
• Oral administration of Capsicum may stimulate the gal bladder reflex.
• Capsicum either contains a cholagogue, or acts as a powerful stimulus upon the mucous membrane of the duodenum.
• In “The Antibacterial Effects of Spices,” “?nine of the spices were found to be active. Garlic, particularly, and onions were active against all organisms (streptococci, Escherichia coli, Bacillus prodigiosis, B. proteus, B. subtilis, Shigella paradysenteriae Flexner, Ebertherla typhsa, Salmonella enteriditis, and Vibrio cholerae). The seven other spices (clove mustard, radish, horseradish, marjoram sage, paprika) were weaker and to attack some of the microorganisms. The action of garlic was by far the strongest. The most active spices come from members of the Liliaceae, then follow the Cruciferae, Myrtaceae and finally Libiatae. In mustard seeds, radish and horseradish, the antibacterial action was proportional to their content of mustard oils. Spices containing essential amounts of tannic substances or alkaloids were also effective. Garlic and onions were more effective when crushed then when segmented. Garlic was also active at a distance through the air but not onions, while both showed a diffusive inhibiting activity in agar. Bacteria could not be made resistant to spices. From this it seems apparent that a combination of garlic and cayenne would be very effective bestowing an immunity to unwanted bacteria upon the human system.
• Red Pepper, a too much forgotten therapeutic agent against anorexia, liver congestion, and vascular troubles. Capsicum is highly effective in causing hemorrhoids to regress; and these fruits have the same action on varicose veins. The results are attributed to alkaloids or glucosides in the peppers.
• Excessive amounts of Capsicum (above 20 grams, thus, nearly an ounce) may induce frequent bowel movements.
• Capsicum stimulates the appetite, more especially as a hot climate tends to produce anorexia. We have always held the saliva is the key that unlocks the door to digestion. Capsicum, a sialogogue, will stimulate the flow of saliva and will be very helpful to people who have become accustomed to ‘inhaling’ their food and thus robbing themselves of the benefits of saliva in the digestive process. Capsicum would stimulate their flow of saliva as they return to a healthier attitude toward eating.
• Capsicum may be valuable in the prevention and treatment of blood clots.
• Capsicum is very soothing; it is effective as a poultice for rheumatism, inflammation, pleurisy, and helpful also if taken internally for these. For sores and wounds it makes a good poultice. It is a stimulant when taken internally as well as being antispasmodic. Good for kidneys, spleen and pancreas; wonderful for lockjaw; will heal a sore ulcerated stomach; Capsicum is a specific and very effective remedy for yellow fever, as well as other fevers and may be taken in capsules followed by a glass of water. (p.119).
• It is part of a liniment, which may be made as follows:
o 2 ounces of gum myrrh.
o One ounce of golden seal
o On half ounce of Capsicum, 90K or stronger.
o Put this into a quart of rubbing alcohol, or take a pint of raspberry vinegar and a pint of water. Add the alcohol or vinegar to the powder. Let it stand for a week or ten days, shaking every day. This can be used where ever liniment is used or needed. It is very healing to wounds, bruises, sprains, scalds, burns, and sunburns, and should be applied freely. Wonderful results are obtained in pyorrhea by rinsing the mouth with the liniment or applying the liniment on both sides of the gums with a little cotton or gauze.
• Capsicum is an almost certain remedy for yellow fever, and almost every other form of human malady. There is, perhaps, no other article which produces so powerful an impression on the animal frame that is so destitute of all injurious properties. It seems almost incapable of abuse. Thus it is jot only stimulant, but antispasmodic, sudorific, febrile, anti-inflammatory, depurating, and restorative. It is powerful to arrest hemorrhage from the mucous membranes. When the stomach is soul, a strong dose of the powder will excite vomiting and an enema of it and lobelia and slippery elm will relieve the most obstinate constipation. Taken in powder in cold water it is sure to move not only the internal canal, but al the splanchnic (Greek, of or relating to viscera) viscera, as the liver, the kidneys, the spleen and the pancreas, the mesentery (tissue that connects the intestines with the wall of the abdominal cavity), &c.
o Capsicum along with lobelia, some good astringent, such as bayberry or sumac leaves, a good bitter, a mucilage, a good sudorific and the vapor bath, must ever constitute the basis of the most effective medication. (p.120)
• There are several species of Capsicum, but the most prominent are the Capsicum Annum and the Capsicum Fastigiatum-Guinea or African Bird’s Eye Pepper. Capsicum, strange though it may seem, is not a true pepper. The popular but erroneous idea is that anything that is hot is a pepper, and that therefore Capsicum must belong to the pepper family. Capsicum contains a resin and an oil, both of which are very acrid, sharp and biting. Its properties are completely extracted by 98% alcohol, and to a considerable extent by vinegar or boiling water.
o One of the best Liniments in use is prepared as follows:
? Boil gently for ten minutes one tablespoonful of V in one pint of cider vinegar. Bottle that hot, unstrained. This makes a powerfully stimulating external application for deep-seated congestions, sprains, &c.
• Capsicum is a pure stimulant, permanent in its action, and ultimately reaching every organ in the body. It creates at first a sensation of warmth, which afterwards becomes intense, and in large does strongly excites the stomach, which influence can be utilized in the administration of emetics, when the emesis is delayed and needs to be accelerated. For this purpose give a quarter of a teaspoonful in syrup.
o Capsicum by its sudden and intense stimulation of the stomach, will produce hiccoughs.
o It acts mainly upon the circulation, but also on the nervous structures. Its influence, which is immediate on the heart, finally extends to the capillaries, giving tone to the circulation, but not increasing the frequency of the pulse so much as giving power to it. In prostrating fevers and putrescent tendencies it may be used in full quantities combined with other suitable agents. It is a good addition to relaxant cathartics, to prevent griping and facilitates their operation when the tissues are in a sluggish condition. In cases of constipation, Capsicum is efficacious in stimulating the peristaltic motion of the bowels. For this effect, give small doses daily. Of course, constipation never can be cured by physic alone. Temporary relief may be obtained from cathartics, but any medicinal efforts must be combined with proper diet in order to effect a permanent cure.
• Capsicum is valuable in all forms of ague (fever marked by paroxysms of chills and sweating that occur at regular intervals, as in Malaria) by sustaining the portal circulation. In cases of chill, give large doses of Capsicum. By a large dose is meant is 10 to 15 grains, or a No. 0 capsule (10 grains) to a No. 00 capsule (15 grains).
• In coughs where there is an abundant secretion of mucus in the respiratory passages, Capsicum increases the power of expectoration, and thus facilitates its removal. In connection with Capsicum may be mentioned the slippery elm compound, which is excellent for coughs.
o Cut obliquely into small pieces about the thickness of a match, one ounce or more, of slippery elm bark; add a pinch of Capsicum, flavour with a slice of lemon, sweeten with sugar, and infuse one pint of boiling water. Take this in small doses, frequently repeated. Let a consumptive patient drink a pint of this each day. It is one of the grandest remedies and demulcent properties. As slippery elm is mucilaginous it will roll up the mucus material troubling the patient, and pass it down through the intestines. It is also very nourishing, and possesses wonderful healing properties.
o For an infant’s food mix (slippery elm) with an equal quantity of milk, and leave out the lemon and cayenne.
• Capsicum is good in coughs, torpor of the kidneys and to arrest mortification. It is good in all forms of low disease.
• The key to success in medicine is stimulation and Capsicum is the great stimulant. There are many languid people who need something to make the fire of life burn more brightly.
• It is excellent in yellow fever, black vomit, putrefaction or decay, given frequently in small does. It is good, also, in asthmatical asphyxia (i.e., when a person cannot get their breath), combined with lobelia in what would be called the Lobelia Compound. It is good in profound shock. For local application it is effective as the base of a stimulating liniment. It is not injurious to the skin.
• Capsicum tincture may be made as follows:
o Take two ounces of Cayenne and macerate for ten to fourteen days in one quart of alcohol. Then strain and bottle. Keep in a warm place while macerating during cold weather.
• A Capsicum Liniment is made as follows:
~ Tincture of Cayenne, one quart.
~ Castille Soap, two ounces.
~ Oil of Hemlock Spruce, one half ounce.
~ Oil of Origanum, one half ounce.
~ Oil of Cedar, one half ounce.
~ Oil of Peppermint, one half ounce.
Shave or scrape the soap very fine, and dissolve in one pint of water. Stir the oils into the tincture and mix with the soapy solution. A little additional oil of peppermint will greatly increase its efficacy. In a four-ounce bottle put one ounce of the lobelia compound (without gum of myrrh) and fill the bottle up with the stimulating liniment. Shake this well, and after application cover the affected part with a piece of warmed flannel.
• OIL OF CAPSICUM—The oil of capsicum represents the stimulating property of the plant in highly concentrated form. It is exceedingly strong, and the dose must be not more than one drop given on sugar.
o For the relief of toothache, first clean out the cavity of the tooth, then make a small plug of cotton wool saturated with oil of Capsicum, which press into the cavity, and it will, in most cases, cure the toothache by its stimulating and antiseptic qualities. The beneficial effect will last for months.
o Bayberry Bark     eight ounces.
o African Ginger     four ounces.
o Prickly Ash Berries    one ounce.
o Canada Snake Root    three ounces.
o Capsicum     2 drachms.
? Powder the above; then pass the powder through a softer, and they will be mixed to perfection.
? For emetic teas, make three pints of composition, two pints of lobelia infusion, and three pints of catnip or peppermint infusion.
? Having considered the various ingredients in the Myrica compound (‘composition powder’) we will now pass it under review.
• The Bayberry is astringent and stimulant.
• The ginger root is a diffusive stimulant and antispasmodic, and warming, prompt but kindly in action.
• The Canada snake root has an influence similar to that of ginger, but is more aromatic, and corrects the acridness of the other ingredients.
• The Prickly Ash berry constitutes the peripheral stimulant.
• The Capsicum is the great arterial stimulant, and imparts energy to the action of the whole compound. Capsicum cannot be equaled by any known agent when a powerful and prolonged stimulant is needed, as in congestive chills, heart failure, and other conditions calling for quick action. The entire circulation is affected by this agent and there is no reaction. 

In congested, ulcerated or infectious sore throat it is an excellent agent, but should be combined with myrrh to relieve and remove morbidity.
• Capsicum is antiseptic and therefore a most valuable agent as a gargle in ordinary sore throat or in diphtheria (an acute febrile contagious disease marked by the formation of a false membrane esp., in the throat and caused by a bacterium [corynebacterium diphtheriae] that produces a toxin causing inflammation of the heart and nervous system).
• In uterine hemorrhages it is ideal combined with bayberry and will do more than any other remedy could.
• Capsicum has the power to arouse the action of the secreting organs and always follows the use of Lobelia.
• When there is inactivity of the entire system, as in ‘spring fever’ Capsicum is indicated. In fact, whenever there is disinclination of activity it is an ideal stimulant, arousing the sluggish organism to action.
• In indigestion where gas is present, it should be given in conjunction with small does (1 to 5 grains) of lobelia, as Capsicum increases the glandular activity of both stomach and intestines.
• In so-called ‘low’ fevers, where the temperature is below normal, Capsicum is indicated and should be prescribed consistently.
• On the outset of a cold, when there are chills, cold and clammy feelings, the feet damp and cold, Capsicum should be taken in full dose (5 to 10 grains).
• Even in cholera morbus and atonic diarrhea, where stimulants are usually contra-indicated, Capsicum is valuable in that it ‘tones’ the organs and establishes natural activity.
• In all disease prostrating in their nature, whether pneumonia, pleurisy or typhoid fever,  is invaluable in the prescription as the toning agent which helps the system t throw off the disease and reestablish equilibrium.
• In all acute conditions where Capsicum is indicated, the call is for the maximum dose—from three to ten grains, preferably in tablet form, followed by a large drink of hot water. In chronic and sluggish conditions, the small dose frequently given is 1 to 3 grains with either hot or cold water.
• Capsicum plasters are valuable in pneumonia, pleurisy and other forms of acute congestion. Combine with lobelia and bran or hops. One hour is the maximum time to keep them applied. (p.124)
• It is the only natural stimulant worth while considering in diarrhea and dysentery with bloody mucus, stools and offensive breath.
• Capsicum is indicated in all low fevers and prostrating disease. It increases the power of all other agents, and helps the digestion when taken with meals, and arouses all the secreting organs.
• Capsicum, Cayenne (red pepper) is not a pepper; no more than water pepper or peppermint is a pepper; Peppermint will known all over the civilized world is very heating, will stimulate like a drink of whiskey, but there is no reaction from it, no bad after effects. It permanently strengthens the whole system. Red pepper does the same.
• The African bird pepper is the purest and best stimulant known. It has a pungent taste, and is the most persistent heart stimulant ever known. It is exceedingly prompt in its effects. Through the circulation, its influence is manifest through the whole body. The heart first, next the arteries, then the capillaries, and the nerves. We have known in cases of apoplexy a bath of hot water and mustard with half a teaspoon of Capsicum added and the feet thrust in to give good results, the pressure being removed from the brain by equalizing the circulation.
• The Negroes of the West Indies soak the pods in water, add sugar and the juice of sour oranges, and drink freely in fevers. Capsicum has a wonderful place in inflammation.
• Capsicum is useful in cramps, pains in the stomach and bowels, and sometimes in constipation will crate a heat in the bowels, causing peristaltic action of parts previously contracted. In these later cases it would be well to give it in small doses in the form of warm infusion, from half to one teaspoonful to a cup of boiling water. In typhoid fever, in combination with hepatics and a little golden seal, it will sustain the portal circulation and give much more power to the hepatics used.
• In colds, relaxed throat, cold condition of the stomach, dyspepsia, spasm, palpitation, particularly in the acute stages, give a warm infusion of Capsicum in small repeat doses, about two teaspoonfuls every half hour or more frequently if required.
• A little Capsicum sprinkled in the shoes will greatly assist in cold feet.
• In hemorrhage from the lungs place your patient in the vapor bath and give an infusion of Capsicum. The pressure will be taken from the ruptured vessels and good results obtained.
• In quinsy and diphtheria, apply the tincture of cayenne around the neck. Then place a flannel around the neck wet with the infusion of cayenne, and freely use the infusion orally at the same time.
• Surgeons of the French army have been in the habit of giving Capsicum to the soldiers who were exhausted by fatigue.
• For Scarlet Fever: Powdered Capsicum made into pills with crumbs of bread and given four times a day, three or four each time, is a most valuable stimulant in the last stages of the disease, and is also good in all cases of debility, from whatever cause it may arise. Capsicum given in half teaspoonful does, mixed with treacle and slippery elm, at night, is a valuable remedy for a cough. Bleeding of the lungs is easily checked by the use of Capsicum and the vapor bath.
• Cayenne is a food as well as a medicinal herb. It is unequalled for warding off diseases (see also garlic).
• A preparation in use in the West Indies called Mandram, for weak digestion and loss of appetite, is made of thinly sliced and unskinned cucumber, shallots, chives or onions, lemon or lime juice, Madeira, and a few pods of bird pepper will mashed up in the liquids. It can be used as a chutney.
• For asthma, combine Capsicum with lobelia.
• Wonderful for lock-jaw, combine Capsicum with lobelia.
• Capsicum arouses all the secreting organs, and will ultimately reach every organ of the body.
• Capsicum is believed to be wholesome for persons of phlegmatic temperament, being considered stimulating.
• Mexican Indians, who use Cayenne pepper as an internal disinfectant, to overcome the dangers of impure food.
PREPARATION: Cayenne is prepared into decoctions, infusions, ointments, powder, paste and tinctures.
• Cayenne is seldom used in the vagina as in Boluses; it could be, but it is too uncomfortable.
• Very seldom is a decoction used because some of the value of the Cayenne is lost when it is simmered for any length of time.
• The most common form of preparation is the INFUSION. This is made by pouring hot water over the Cayenne and letting it set. The infusion can be used with absolute safety.
• Cayenne can be used as a liniment—use 1/8 or 1/6 part to other oils or salves. Use very little at a time, as it is very potent. With ointments, Cayenne is used in approximately 1/8 proportion to other herbs.
• Cayenne is used in nearly all fomentations, plaster, and poultices where speed is necessary, or where quick relief (as in arthritis, rheumatism, bursitis, sore muscles &c.) is necessary.
• It is used dry on wounds, and it is used in prescriptions and formulas mixed with many other types of herbs. In using the powder in poultices, plasters, suppositories, enemas, etc., the Cayenne used should be 1/8 part in proportion to the other herbs that are used, according to the individual case.
• In the liquid extract or in the tincture, Cayenne is easily kept and very valuable to have on hand. Use this moderately, as it is many times stronger than the infusion.
• The only preparation necessary, it to have it ground or pounded to a fine powder. For a dose, from half to a full teaspoon full may be taken in hot water sweetened with honey. It will produce a free perspiration, which should be kept up by repeating the dose, until the disease is removed.
• One spoonful of this preparation may be taken to good advantage, and will remove faint, sinking feelings which some are subject to, especially in the spring of the year.

• INFUSION—Steep the Cayenne in hot water for a few minutes, allow to cool and drink; it is OK to drink the Cayenne along with the water, but not necessary. Start with about a level ¼ teaspoon three times daily;
o Then after three days, increase the dose to ½ teaspoon three times a day;
o Then add ¼ teaspoon each day thereafter until the minimum recommended dosage of one teaspoonful three times daily is reached.
• For Heart Palpitation—In the acute stage, repeated dosages of one to two teaspoonfuls every half-hour (or more frequently when required).
• Hemorrhage—One Teaspoonful of powder in a cup of hot water. Let cool and drink the water; drink the cayenne as well if possible.
• LINIMENTS— A good liniment fro sprains, bruises, rheumatism, and neuralgia may be made as follows:
o Tincture of Capsicum    Two Fluid Ounces.
o Fluid Extract of Lobelia    Two Fluid Ounces.
o Oil of Wormwood    One Fluid Drachm.
o Oil of Rosemary    One Fluid Drachm.
o Oil of Spearmint    One Fluid Drachm.
o Use for sprains, bruises, rheumatism and neuralgia.
• HOMEOPATHIC RUBRICS: Amaurosis; asthma; brain irritation; delirium tremens; cough; diarrhea; diphtheria; dysentery; ear affections; glandular swellings; hemorrhoids; headache; heartburn; hernia; homesickness; intermittent fevers; affections of the lungs; measles; mouth ulcers; neuralgia; affections of the nose; obesity; esophagus stricture; paralysis; pleuro-pneumonia; pregnancy disorders; disease of the rectum; rheumatic gout; rheumatism; sciatica; scrofula; sea-sickness; stomatitis; sore throat; tongue paralysis; trachea tickling; disorders of urinary system; whooping cough; yellow fever.
o For a gargle—one half drachm of powder to one pint of boiling water.
o One half ounce of the tincture to eight ounces of water.
o If the throat is very sensitive it can be given in pill form—generally made with one to ten grains of powder. The infusion is made with two drachms to one half pint boiling water taken in one half fluid ounce doses. The tincture is used as a paint for chilblains (inflammatory swelling or soreness caused by exposure to the cold).
• To make Chilli vinegar: pour hot vinegar over Capsicum powder, steep for twenty minutes or so, and drink for stomach problems.
o Bayberry Bark (powdered)    one ounce.
o Wild Ginger      one half ounce.
o Capsicum      one drachm.
? A teaspoonful of the mixture to a teacupful of boiling water is taken warm at bed-time to ward off the effects of chill, and as a general stimulant.

• SOLVENTS—98% alcohol; hot or cold vinegar or boiling water.
• MEDICINAL PART—the fruit.
• BODILY INFLUENCE—Stimulant; Tonic; Carminative; Diaphoretic; Rubefacient; Condiment.
o USES—The all supporting, stimulating effect of Capsicum is the infallible action of internal success. Capsicum taken with burdock, golden seal, ginger, slippery elm, &c., will soon diffuse itself throughout the whole system, equalizing the circulation in all diseases that depend upon an increase of blood, and unlike most of the stimulants of allopathy, it is not narcotic.


• ACCENTUATOR—Cayenne, used as an accentuator, will increase the value and the healing properties of other herbs. Cayenne and other stimulants give activation when used with herbs such as yarrow. Cayenne will accentuate the therapeutic action of the yarrow and the yarrow will be felt in the lungs and the respiratory system faster.
• ANTISEPTICS—For sore and infectious throat, combine Cayenne with Lobelia and slippery elm.
• CARRIER—Cayenne is can be used to carry other herbal agents more quickly to any specific area (it does this by stimulation and dilation of the circulatory system).
• CATHARTICS—Cayenne is used with cathartics for the bowels. It is a good addition to relaxant cathartics, as Cayenne prevents griping.
• DIAPHORETIC—Cayenne is used with bayberry or pleurisy root to increase perspiration, and with tonics to reduce perspiration.
• EMMENAGOGUES—Cayenne will take uterine agents such as holy thistle directly to the uterus. Cayenne is employed when the treatment is intended for the entire body, however, Ginger will carry the herb to the reproductive organs and the abdominal area faster than Cayenne.
• EMETICS—A strong dose of Cayenne powder will bring on vomiting and in combination with other emetics their effect is accelerated.
• EXPECTORANTS—Cayenne is used in compounds for coughs where expectorants clear the respiratory passages of mucus. Cayenne increases the power and process of expectoration.
• CONDIMENT—When used as a condiment Cayenne pepper acts chiefly by stimulating the salivary and gastric glands and promoting the peristaltic action of the alimentary canal.
• Use as a supreme and harmless internal disinfectant. To expel worms; a tonic for all organs of the body, including the heart.
• Use to increase fertility and defer senility.
• For treatment of seriously infected wounds.
• For fumigation. In ancient times, such fumigation was considered a protection against vampires and werewolves.
• Use externally for severe wounds and old sores, disinfect by covering the place with the powdered pepper. It will burn and smart for a brief time in the way that lemon juice does when applied to wounds, but likewise is harmless and highly curative.
• For fumigation, sprinkle several tablespoonfuls of the powdered pepper on a tin lid, place it over a slow flame, seal up all the room and allow the pepper to fume until all is burnt up. Renew several times if necessary. Capsicum is a pungent fumigator detested by vermin, but it is not poisonous in any way, and any place treated with Capsicum can be used very soon after fumigation.

A combination of Chocolate and Cayenne was a drink/dish reserved for Aztec royalty. Next to maize, the pepper (capsicum) was the foremost plant grown in Central America at the time of the Aztec Empire; of all the species of plant none was so widely used or held in greater esteem.

Smoke from burning peppers was used as a gas in Warfare by the S. American Indians against the Spanish invaders.

Capsicum is of a phenolics nature—in capsicum there is a volatile phenolics compound related to vanillin in structure.

The pepper pod is technically a berry.

Capsicum is eliminated, in part, in the urine.

In the early 19th Century DR. SAMUEL THOMSON used Capsicum effectively against all manner of disease. Thomson/Thomsonian School of Botanic Medicine. Samuel Thomson: Lobelia the ‘Emetic’ herb never failed him?and became the cornerstone of his healing system; he also used enemas, plus Cayenne, hot sweat baths?, Thomson’s Cayenne stimulated the system, while his emetic and purge produced cleanliness akin to godliness; also he used steam and sweat bath to allay fevers, these also quieted nerves and made for peaceful sickrooms.
• Capsicum—It has been long a subject of deep importance to physicians, to find a stimulant at once powerful and not narcotic; bark and spirits both fail in this respect; and laudanum destroys sensibility and deadens the vital powers; the system is partially destroyed by their action; for it is hostile to life, subverts the natural functions, and it is itself an obstruction of the offices of life. Capsicum supplies this grand desideratum. It is a stimulus, powerful and permanent; not narcotic, nor destructive of the vital functions. It is said to have been found effectual in curing diseases which have resisted all other medicines. It supports the natural beat of the viscera and interior action, beyond anything heretofore known; and has been used with great success in the cure of spotted fever. Like the former medicine (Lobelia), it seems to be safe and salutary, perfectly in harmony with nature, and the most active stimulant to support and re-animate her feeble or exhausted powers.

Capsicum is the botanical name for the red pepper group; there are three major categories:
1. Any ‘red pepper’ that has 1 BTU heat rating or under 1 BTU. This  pepper is commonly called ‘paprika’.
2. Any ‘red pepper’ above 1 BTU but less than 25 BTU’s. These are called ‘red peppers.’
3. Any ‘red pepper’ with 25 BTU, or more, can be labeled as Cayenne.

Thus, Capsicum has three categories based on its BTU heat factor, but any of these can be called Capsicum; Cayenne is the strongest of the Capsicum family.

Cayenne was one of the major foods of the Hunza’s. They eat sparingly, and generally a mono-diet of Apricots.

Cayenne is a rich source of Vitamin A and C.

Cayenne is the purest and most certain stimulant—Cayenne increases the power of the pulse, and carries blood to all parts of the body.

Cayenne goes into the blood stream immediately (via the tongue and the stomach), and adjusts the blood pressure, equalizing it over the entire body.




CIRCULATION—warming, dilating; specific for Varicose veins; equalizes the blood pressure in arterial and venous systems; Cayenne is a Stimulant and an Equalizer.

HEMORRHAGE—OF THE LUNGS (use a vapor bath with Cayenne infusion).

HEMORRHAGE—EXTERNAL (put Cayenne directly on the wound, or take internally).





 Cayenne is very advantageously given in chronic gout, paralysis, fevers, and other cases; in the coma and delirium attendant on tropical fever, cataplasms of capsicum are said to have a speedy and happy effect. A weak infusion of Capsicum has been found a useful application to scrofulous and other languid ulcerations, and the diluted juice is esteemed of great efficacy in chronic opthalmia; a gargle of it is commonly used to cure malignant sore throats. 

• For cholera the Mormons and other early settlers preferred a tea made of Capsicum.
• A wart on the finger can be driven away, it is believed, by wrapping a fresh chilli around the finger every day.
• Capsicum seeds and veins are sometimes burned as a fumigant to get rid of bedbugs.

• May be used in all cases of debility, indigestion, costiveness, chills, heart failure. Capsicum acts mainly upon the circulation. Its influence is immediate on the heart. 


• The Church of the Latter Day Saints did not subscribe to the ‘regular’ Medicos, and called them “poison” doctors.
• Priddy Meeks (excerpts from his journal, p. 74): A remedy for diphtheria I never knew to fail: Give a good thorough emetic of lobelia and bathe the throat from ear to ear, and gargle also with a liquid make by putting two teaspoonfuls of finely pulverized lobelia seeds and the same amount of Cayenne pepper into one quart of good keen vinegar, and go though the operation of bathing and gargling as often as the emergency of the case may require. This course will meet the poison inside and out, and destroy its power, lobelia being the most powerful anti-poison that is known. You need not be afraid of it. It is perfectly harmless and operates exactly with the laws of life and health.
• In Mexico the people are very fond of Capsicum and their bodies get thoroughly saturated with it, and if one of them happens to die on the prairie the vultures will not touch the body on account of its being so impregnated with Capsicum.

MAY 18, 2003 

Capsiacinoids are the naturally occurring compounds that give cayenne pepper its pungency; they have no odor or flavor, they act directly on pain receptors located in the mouth and throat; the smaller the chili, the hotter its going to be, because smaller chilies have a larger amount of seeds and vein (internal rib) relative to the larger chilies, and these are the parts that contain up to 80 percent of the capsaicin.

The natives of central America called the cayenne pepper “axi”; this translated into “aji” in Spanish; in Mexico City the chili was called “chiltli” in about 1615 the word “chili” was derived from this Aztec name for “aji.”

Cayenne pepper’s common name comes fro the city of Cayenne, located on the Cayenne Island at the mouth of the Cayenne river. It is currently the capital of French Guiana.

Both ancient and modern used cayenne therapeutically:
• For public intoxication—boil a concoction of water, corn, and pinches of cayenne pepper, and drink this brew when cool. Within a very short time the intoxicated individual will regain sobriety.
Themes of Punishment—
• Children were punished for various misbehaviors, but especially verbal transgressions, by having a pinch of cayenne placed on their tongue or on their lips.
• If corporal punishment was necessary cayenne was rubbed into the lacerations.
• Cayenne was used to punish such crimes as treason, rebellion, homicide, adultery and homosexuality, all of which were punishable by death. If the criminal were a nobleman of some high stature in Aztec society, he would be given a strong drink mixed with adequate cayenne pepper. This fermented and fiery “pulque” would work as an anesthesia prior to scheduled execution and help to minimize pain and suffering.
• The Maya would discipline unruly children by rubbing cayenne on the child’s bare skin.

Themes of Poison—
• Cayenne is an effective antidote for reversing the immediate blindness induced by eye contact with the sap of the poisonwood tree. A tiny amount of cayenne pepper was placed under each eyelid and kept there for a number of hours until vision was fully restored.
• The “Tupi” an Amazonian tribe used the cayenne pepper, crushed together with salt and eaten with a meal to prevent any indigestion.

Themes of opposites—
• The Guatemalan Maya used the leaves of the capsicum plant as a remedy for heatstroke and inflammation. Both the leaves and the pepper fruit of capsicum were applied externally for boils, abscesses, and open sores to promote quicker healing.
• Cayenne was used for upset stomach; and lower back pain.

The ‘Trumai’ and ‘Nambicuara’ ate cayenne pepper whole for dysentery and malaria. The ‘Paressi” mixed cayenne pepper with their curare to make an efficient arrow or dart poison.

Witch doctors of the ‘Choco’ tribe sometimes discretely administered ‘pakuru-neara’ (a cardiac poison) to their enemies, and then fed the victim cayenne pepper to speed the work of the poison.

The ‘Cawahib’ used cayenne to remove leeches and ticks.

In Amazonian shamanism cayenne pepper has always occupied a unique position. Capsicums animate the spirit with man by invigorating his body. Through such reanimation, the natives believe, there can come a heightened spiritual awareness of the surrounding invisible world.

The capsicums have been mixed with any number of different plant hallucinogens to induce a “vision quest” by which a shaman can communicate more easily with the astral realm. One shaman is quoted, “it [cayenne pepper] makes my spirituality so much easier and less laborious.” 


• Cayenne reduces or even cures severe chronic allergic and nonallergic conditions that make people’s noses run constantly.

• Herbalist John R. Christopher suggests this formula for making a cayenne tincture:
o Put one ounce of dried capsicum in a glass jar.
o Add one pint of alcohol such as 150 proof.
o Close the jar tightly and shake it four times daily.
o Keep mixture in the jar for only two weeks and no longer.
o Strain the liquid through a double-layered cheesecloth.
o Begin this process at the start of a full moon (this should be new moon) for greater potency.
o Store in an amber glass bottle. Seal tightly.
o To use, place six drops of the tincture under the tongue twice daily or else dilute the same amount in six ounces of water or juice. Take on an empty stomach or between meals.
Note: if you are taking nitroglycerin for angina, do not discontinue medication or use this remedy without your physician’s permission. 

• The anti-inflammatory action of cayenne is attributed to the effect of capsaicin on substance P. Substance P is a nervous system-derived chemical (a peptide), released in the spinal cord as well as from the peripheral nerve endings. This neuropeptide has multiple pro-inflammatory properties and is released in greater quantities from pain transmission nerves (the sensory afferent nerve fiber terminals) located in knee and ankle joints, where a great deal of arthritic swelling usually occurs. Excess substance P isn’t good because it breaks down the cartilage cushions in joints, contributes to osteoarthritis. It also serves as a pain neurotransmitter in both osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. In other words, overproduction of substance P in your system means you’ll be feeling a great deal of pain.
• Capsaicin inhibits the activity of substance P.

• Asthma, like arthritis, might be caused by an overproduction of substance P, and that excess receptors for it were in the lungs. A cayenne pepper tincture similar to the one given for angina might help to relieve the belabored breathing common the asthma.

• Cayenne softens the arteries, dilates the circulatory system, strengthens the heart, and cleans the inner walls of the circulatory system.

• Cayenne protects against blood clot formation by causing an increase in fibrinolytic (clot-dissolving) activity of the red blood cells.

• The neurotransmitter called substance P is released from the peripheral neurons (those outside the brain and spinal cord) that transmit pain signals to the brain; this, in turn, helps regulate the response of the immune system to damaged tissue. People with chronic inflammatory bowel diseases have high numbers of receptors for substance P in their intestinal tissue. With too many substance P receptors in the intestinal tract, the immune system is apt to overreact, inducing enough inflammation to trigger the sensory neurons to send more pain signals and release more substance P. This viscous cycle eventually leads to autoimmune bowel disorders like ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease.
• Nerve endings that release substance P are also present in the urinary bladder; when any inflammation occurs there, greater amounts of substance P are automatically released, thus exacerbating inflammation.
• Substance P content “was strongly reduced by 80 percent following pretreatment with a high dose of capsaicin” injected beneath the skin. Capsicum’s properties can also substantially reduce the release of substance P in those suffering from various bowel diseases.

• An ointment made by combining one part of cayenne pepper powder with five parts of melted Vaseline. The mixture was thoroughly blended and then allowed to cool until in congealed again. Apply this salve topically to injured skin or muscle tissue once a day for about a week.

• Capsicum can protect the body against some known food and beverage chemicals that can cause cancer and induce cell mutations. (When capsaicin is taken with plant chlorophyll its mutagenic properties are suppressed.)

• At the onset of symptoms take one teaspoon of cayenne powder in a glass of warm water with the juice of one lemon and a teaspoon of honey; stir thoroughly and drink slowly. The cayenne helps to flush out the bacteria and viruses responsible for the cold or flu by causing eyes to water, skin to sweat, nose to run, and lungs to discharge. This rush of fluids from the body carries out the invisible microbes responsible for such infections.

• Cayenne strengthens and relaxes the heart, dilates the circulatory system, and clears accumulated debris. Over the long run, a seriously diseased heart can return to near normal with the regular use of Cayenne pepper.

• Certain medicinal herbs are known for their strong hypoglycemic actions: garlic and onion, goldenseal and pau d’arco. Another equally potent hypoglycemic agent is cayenne pepper.
o For diabetes mellitus the recommended dose of cayenne is two to four capsules daily with means. The ‘hypoglycemic effect” means that the cayenne lowered blood sugar which is what insulin does because diabetics have high blood sugar. But for those already suffering from low blood sugar, cayenne is best avoided.

• The topical application of capsaicin cream is quite safe and very effective in the treatment of pain ordinarily observed in patients experiencing diabetic neuropathy and diabetic polyneuropathy.

• When capsaicin was given regularly it increased the flow of protective mucus within the gut, thereby helping to heal duodenal ulcers.

• The cholesterol-reducing properties of capsaicin have been studied by various biochemists and reported in the scientific literature. Capsaicin has been shown to help prevent cholesterol associated heart diseases such as arteriosclerosis and its more advanced for of atherosclerosis.

• Medical researchers are also looking at the role of triglycerides in coronary artery disease and finding that these, more than cholesterol itself, may be to blame. (Triglycerides are neutral fats synthesized from carbohydrates for storage in body fat cells. When broken up by enzymatic action, they release free fatty acids in the blood.)

• For general and chronic fatigue; capsaicin, by itself, can be very hypoglycemic, but when used in combination with equal amounts of ginseng and gotu kola, capsaicin can increase biochemical endurance during periods of emotional and physical stress.

• Compounds known as antioxidants effectively check the free-roaming and ravaging behavior of free radicals. Capsorubin, a carotenoid associated with capsaicin in cayenne pepper, functions as an excellent antioxidant that diminishes the potentially harmful actions of the free radicals.

• Feed the victim small amounts of powdered cayenne a number to times a day; this will stimulate the heart and blood to the damaged area; the dead tissue will drop away and new tissue will be in its place. This treatment can be painful, but it is effective.

• Nasal sprays containing tiny amounts of capsaicin are used to treat the intense pain of cluster headaches; also capsaicin ointment applied to the temples, the ointment raised the temperature at the temples, which ordinarily experience a heal loss during cluster attacks. (Keep the ointment away from the eyes.)

• A useful remedy from the Maya Indians of Belize calls for a warm tea made from cayenne pepper to be used in breaking up congestion in the nose, head and sinuses. Add one eighth teaspoon of cayenne to a cup of hot water.

• Capsaicin reduced ventricular tachycardias and ventricular fibrillations. Capsaicin also dramatically improved blood flow to the heart. Capsaicin seems to function as a natural calcium blocker, analogous to the effect of some prescription heart drugs.

• Dr. John R. Christopher used this formula: (1) steep one teaspoon of powdered cayenne in one cup of hot water until it is cool enough to drink; (2) if the patient can breathe normally, prop up the patient and pour the cayenne tea down the person’s throat. Usually within a couple of minutes the heart attack will have ceased. Also, in an emergency, where very quick action is indicated, the alcohol/cayenne tincture described above can be administered by placing a few drops beneath the tongue. 

• Because of its tonic effect on the heart and circulatory system cayenne pepper is an excellent remedy for all manner of heart disease. In places where cayenne is a frequent part of the diet (Mexico, South East Asia, India, and the state of New Mexico), heart disease rates are lower.
• Cayenne pepper, a familiar medicinal and culinary spice with well known heating properties, can produce an opposite reaction. When taken in small amounts, it stimulates circulation and the digestive processes. But, when consumed in large amounts it will cause a cooling effect. This helps to explain why people living in hot tropical climates are apt to eat a lot of cayenne. The cooling sensation is produced in two different ways. In one way the body (especially the face) starts to sweat; the more perspiration that gathers on the skin, the cooler a person will feel. The other way is through the release of endorphins by capsaicin into the bloodstream of people who eat cayenne pepper. These natural opiates in the brain affect the body’s own internal temperature, lowering it a few degrees.

• Utah Herbalist Dr. John R. Christopher was a strong proponent of cayenne pepper, believing it to stop bleeding better than anything else in the plant kingdom.

• The herpes family of viruses is divided into a variety of types. The varicella zoster type is responsible for two very distinct clinical disorders, namely primary varicella (chicken pox) and zoster (shingles). This particular kind of herpes virus is capable of affecting nerves and causing organ damage and severe pain that can last for months or even years. Cayenne pepper taken internally or the topical application of any capsaicin cream will help to minimize agonizing pain that can persist during and long after the viral infection is gone.

• Cayenne lowers blood pressure.

• In the early-to-middle part of the 19th century there thrived an eclectic system of alternative medicine known as Thomsonian medicine. One of its outstanding features was the limited number of primary herbs repeatedly utilized, although many other secondary herbs were used occasionally. Samuel Thomson, the system’s founder, recommended cayenne pepper the goldenseal root for their excellent healing properties. Of cayenne he said: “I am perfectly convinced that cayenne pepper is the best thing that can be used to produce a natural digestion of the food which will nourish the body, establish perspiration, and restore the health of the patient. I found it to be perfectly safe in all cases, and have never known any bad effects to arise from its use.”
• He frequently used it in cases involving disturbances of the gastrointestinal tract. Capsaicin in the red pepper dramatically increased gastric secretions within the gut but did no actual harm. More specifically, the number of goblet cells (mucus secreting cells) in the duodenum portion of the small intestine increased in the presence of capsaicin.

• Anyone at all familiar with the role of vitamin C in the health care process knows that it is the number one nutrient for warding off or treating existing infections in the body. But what isn’t so well known is the part that a species of capsicum played in its discovery. Hungarian biochemist Albert Szent-Gyorgyi had been studying enzymes for years when he identified an active chemical, which he labeled “hexuronic acid.”  Hexuronic acid was found to be effective against scurvy and further tests revealed it to be a powerful nutrient, soon the chemical was renamed ascorbic acid. Szent-Gyorgyi found that red pepper contained large amounts of ascorbic acid.

• People who suffer from severe itches i.e., pruritis, notalgia, parasthetica, and lichen simplex chronicus experience noticeable improvement when treated topically with any of the capsaicinoid creams.

• Use cotton or wool which has been impregnated with capsaicin to successfully treat cases of lumbago, neuralgia, or rheumatism. The treated material is applied to the skin and left on for 20 minutes, use as frequently as needed.

• Cayenne pepper is quite effective in dealing with motion sickness. A teaspoonful of cayenne in a tablespoon of olive oil taken internally at the first sign of nausea will help to prevent further symptoms of sea or air sickness. Or one-half teaspoon full each of cayenne and ginger root (chopped very fine or pulverized) in olive oil.

• Oral stomatitis is a very painful condition of mouth sores caused by cancer chemotherapy and radiation treatments. The sores can be overwhelming to the point that some individuals can’t chew food and must, therefore, cease treatment for their cancers. But in a very innovative way, capsaicin was used to treat this serious problem in cancer patients. The capsaicin was administered through candy; cook butterscotch brittle with capsaicin; cancer patients who consumed the candy with delight, reported feeling no more pain afterwards.

• Using cayenne pepper with those diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, IN THE EARLY STAGES ONLY. Taking four capsules of cayenne each day with food for several months, their symptoms subsided to a remarkable degree, but didn’t entirely disappear.

• Capsaicin is capable of reducing the sensation of painful inflammation in the sensory nerves and the pain-sensitive nerve terminals. Both topical creams and oral supplementation appear to work equally well to achieve this.

• Controlled studies have demonstrated that topically applied capsaicin is a very safe and effective treatment for neuralgia.

• Historian Garcilaso de la Vega described what he had heard form someone else in 1609: “I heard a Spaniard from Mexico declare that cayenne pepper was very good for the sight, so he used to eat two roasted peppers as a sort of dessert after every mean.” A number of Mexican Indians have said that regular consumption of cayenne and chile peppers kept their eyesight from failing as they grew older.

• Capsaicin can burn extra calories in a way similar to exercise.

• For the past several years a growing body of medical evidence has been gathering; demonstrating capsaicin’s unique ability to stop the sensation of pain within the body. Capsaicin works by desensitizing small-diameter nerve fibers, the ones responsible for pain. But it has no effect on large-diameter nerve fibers.

• Capsicum might actually protect against peptic ulcers, a suggestion that is counter intuitive. The capsaicin protects the gastric mucosal membrane against damage from alcohol and aspirin; it does this by stimulating a hormone that increases blood flow and nourishes the gastric mucosal membrane.

• Mixing small amounts of cayenne pepper with various foods, made the foods more appetizing to those who had no real desire to eat.

• The prescription cream Zostrix, whose mail ingredient is capsaicin, has helped a number of older people suffering form psoriasis and shingles. When the cream was applied topically, it blocked the synthesis and nerve transport of substance P, the chemical largely responsible for the skin pain induced by these skin diseases.

• The ancient Maya of the Yucatan Peninsula and the Guatemalan Highlands routinely incorporated cayenne pepper into their materia medica for the treatment of asthma, bronchitis, coughs, colds, sore throats and other respiratory disorders.

• For pain relief apply capsaicinoid cream to the patients shingles-sensitive skin. 

• The Irish developed a great remedy for instant relief from excruciating toothache. One level teaspoon of cayenne pepper was combined with one pint of strong Irish whiskey and left to sit for two weeks, being thoroughly shaken every day. The solution was then strained into another bottle and stored until needed in a cool, dark, dry place. About four drops of this pepper extract could be put on a cotton ball and inserted into the mouth onto the infected tooth. Within minutes, the distressing pain disappeared. 


 For sprains and bruises: create a salve with one teaspoon of powered cayenne pepper to five tablespoons of melted Vaseline. This salve can also be used to treat mumps in children and leg ulcers in older people with poor circulation. 

 Cayenne is an effective remedy against snakebite: mix a little powdered cayenne with some of the victim’s own saliva and then apply this directly over the punctured skin where the fang marks are still evident. Cayenne renders most poisons inert. 

For abscesses/boils: apply cayenne pepper fluid extract to the abscess or boil. It will bring the stigma to a head as well as aid the drying and mending process.

 For abrasions: sprinkle a tiny amount of cayenne pepper on a small clean cut to stop the bleeding and promote healing.

 For asthma attack: mix a pinch of cayenne pepper in with some hot chocolate and sip slowly.

 For bleeding lungs: take a quarter of a teaspoonful of cayenne pepper every day for a week or two.

 For bone knitting: take equal parts of valerian root and cayenne pepper, along with some vitamin C (3500 mg. Daily) to dull the pain of any break and fracture and help knit bones together more quickly.

 For Bursitis: create a skin rub, thus: a tablespoon of cayenne pepper and add to about a pint of rubbing alcohol. The mixture should be left to set “at room temperature in a dark place until the alcohol is really bright red. Then strain and use as an external rub. It is great for arthritis and bursitis.

 For burning sensation in the mouth: slowly drink a glass of milk. The casein in milk washes away the capsaicin.

 For coughing: combine in a glass the juice of one-half lemon with one-half cup of warm water. Then stir in one tablespoon of salt and one-quarter teaspoon of cayenne pepper. Gargle with it for as long and as deeply as you can tolerate before expectorating. Do not swallow!

 For food poisoning: cayenne pepper kills many of the bacteria that are responsible for food poisoning, and kills them very quickly.

 For hypothermia: rub cayenne pepper over the skin on the feet before putting socks and shoes on; also can use a cayenne oleoresin.

 For influenza: There is a synergy between capsaicin and ascorbic acid. Vitamin C works much better when some cayenne pepper accompanies it than when taken alone. The vitamin C remains in the body almost twice as long and works more powerfully than by itself. One capsule of cayenne for every 1000 mg., of vitamin C. A better formula is: is Garlic, Goldenseal, Cayenne Pepper and Vitamin C.

 For insects: most insects detest cayenne pepper. Mix with Clove Oil; or garlic and onion; or Peppermint Oil.

 For insects on plants: blend cayenne, garlic, and onion; then cook in one quart of water for about 90 seconds; strain and dilute into two gallons of water with two tablespoons of soap. Spray on plants to kill virtually all bugs.

 For kidney problems: for inactive kidneys use a combination of essential oils of Cayenne Pepper, Cumin and Oregano; apply topically over the kidneys in about a 8% solution. These herbs can also be taken internally for the same effect, or in a complementary regimen. This formula also alleviates pain that accompanies kidney stones;  This formula stimulates the lymph system and produced more beautiful skin.

 For menstrual problems: irregular menses may be corrected by taking two cayenne pepper capsules daily with a meal. There will often be less cramping and less bleeding with this regimen.

 For morning sickness: two capsules each of catnip herb and cayenne pepper every morning should help to prevent morning sickness in women who are in the first trimester of their pregnancies.

 For nose bleeding: take internally one-eighth teaspoon of cayenne; watch the bleeding, if it continues, take another one-eighth teaspoon; continue over time until the bleeding stops.

 For Pleurisy: make a rub using equal parts of cayenne pepper, lobelia herb and slippery elm bark, all in powdered form. Next, mix in a little cod liver oil or castor oil, and stir thoroughly with a fork until a smooth paste is formed. Apply this over the chest four times daily; cover with a piece of plastic and then a flannel cloth.

 For Raynaud’s Disease: this syndrome manifests itself as extreme sensitivity of the hands and fingers to cold as a result of spasm of the digital arteries. Other symptoms include blanching and numbness or pain of the fingers. Take 400 mg. of  Cayenne Pepper every day with food.

 For sinusitis: take cayenne pepper with each meal; a heaping one eighth teaspoon with each bowel of soup; smaller amounts with tea.

 For sore muscles: blend Camphor or Eucalyptus Oil with Wintergreen Oil and Cayenne Oleoresin in a carrier oil to about 10% strength. Rub on sore muscles.

 For sore throat: mix cayenne pepper, honey, and grapefruit juice; then gargle, and swallow.

 Sprains: a wonderful liniment for sprains can be made by slowly simmering one tablespoon of cayenne pepper powder in one pint of apple cider vinegar. Bottle the unstrained liquid while it is still hot. When needed, reheat the liquid and soak an elastic cloth bandage with some of this liquid and snugly wrap the sprain. Note of caution: prolonged application of a cayenne pepper liniment or rub to the skin may produce irritation, blisters or even burns, thus include some castor oil to protect the skin.

 For tonsillitis: one-half cup of hot water, one-fourth teaspoon of honey, a squirt of lemon juice and a pinch of cayenne pepper in the form of a periodic gargle; administer several times a day.


The main component in Cayenne Pepper is Capsaicin. This is the most potent and predominant chemical compound found in the fruit of the plant, although there are approx. 100 other distinct volatile compounds. Capsaicin may occur at levels of 0.5 to 1.5 percent in the fruit, mainly in the veins and seeds, with a series of similar compounds collectively known as capsaicinoids. The capsaicinoid compounds include: dihydrocapsaicin, nordihydrocapsaicin, homocapsaicin, and homodihydrocapsaicin. These five components in cayenne pepper act specifically upon the body by depleting stores of substance P from sensory neurons. This neuropeptide is an important transmitter of painful impulses from the periphery to the central nervous system. Noxious stimuli prompt release of substance P from sensory neurons distally toward the skin and joints and centrally into the spinal cord and brain stem. Release of substance P into distal tissues triggers a cascade of events associated with neurogenic inflammation.

When a sensory neuron is subjected to purified capsaicin or any of the capsaicinoids, the neuron releases its supply of substance P and , upon repeated application, stops producing substance P. The neuron’s ability to send a pain signal is diminished without substance P. After topical application, substance P stores revert to pretreatment levels and neuronal sensitivity returns to normal. Repeated administration of capsaicin is therefore necessary to control further sensations of pain.

Substance P is also believed to be implicated in inflammatory bowel disease. Frequent consumption of Cayenne Pepper in small amounts may then prove to be very helpful in alleviating some of the pain associated with this problem.

Not all varieties of capsicum will yield the same amounts of capsaicin. Capsicum frutescens yields between 63.2-77.2 percent; C. annum 36.9-56.1 percent and C. pubescens 25.5-36.3 percent.

Cayenne Pepper is also a good source for some vitamins and minerals. Values for vitamin A can range from 3350 I.U. for milder forms to 6265 I.U. per gram of cayenne for some of the more pungent varieties. Vitamin C content is (per kilogram): C. frutescens 7.3 mg.; c. annuum 12 mg.; as for Vitamin E, 100 grams of capsicum fruit yields from 3 to 10 mg. of alpha-tocopherol. Also, there are up to 16 amino acids in various kinds of capsicum.

There are modest amounts of minerals as well, including calcium, phosphorus and potassium, and a trace of cobalt.


Wilbur Scoville established the first rating system for hot peppers; most of the capsicums range from 20,000 to 450,000 Scoville units.

There is also an Official Chile Heat Scale that rates all peppers from zero to ten.

The smaller in size the hotter the pepper because the smaller chilies have a large amount of seeds and vein in contrast to the larger chilies. These are the parts of a chili that contain up to 80 percent capsaicin.


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