Cayenne is a useful herb in natural cures and home remedies used to treat a variety of ailments including, but not limited to, digestive disorders, poor blood circulation, the pain associated with arthritis, muscle sprains and lumbago.
Other common names for Capsicum Annum include:
- Cayenne pepper
- African pepper
- Tabasco pepper
- Bird pepper
- Hot pepper
- Louisiana long pepper
The capsicum herb from which cayenne is produced is an annual plant featuring branched stems and oval leaves. The plant features white to green blossoms, which begin to appear during the spring and summer months. Blossoms eventually turn into fruits, which range in color from green to yellow to various shades of red due to the carotenoids that are contained in it.
Its active herbal ingredients include Vitamin C, capsaicnoids, pyrazines and saponins.
Other herbs in the Capiscum Annum family include pimento, paprika, red peppers, chile peppers and bell peppers.
Cayenne is very high in Vitamin C and is often used as a flavorful seasoning in cooking where it is most commonly known simply as cayenne pepper or hot pepper. However, for medicinal purposes cayenne can be used raw, dried, as a cream, as a tea, or used in a powdered or capsule form.
Cayenne is commonly used to increase perspiration (for detoxification purposes), to stimulate the circulatory system, as well as to stimulate the digestive system. It is also commonly used in laxatives, sedatives, tonics, and in treatments for hay fever.
Cayenne pepper is extremely irritating to the mucous membranes and, therefore, caution should be used when handling it to avoid contact with the eyes and nose. After handling cayenne, hands should be thoroughly washed and dried to avoid accidental contact with either of these areas. It should always be kept out of the reach of young children and animals. However, it should be noted that, though cayenne produces serious burning, it does not cause damage to the tissue it comes in contact with. Excessive internal use of cayenne can cause an upset stomach.
As an herb and as a food source, cayenne has been used for more than 9,000 years by Native American tribes. Today, cayenne is commonly found in capsaicin creams for the relief of itching associated with psoriasis and for relief from chronic pain.
The burning sensation produced in the mouth and the body by cayenne is a result of the central nervous system reacting to its high capsaicin content. This sensation depletes the body of a chemical known simply as “substance P”. When substance P is completely depleted the pain that is commonly caused by tissue damage experienced in such ailments as fibromyalgia, arthritis, cluster headaches, shingles or lower back injuries ceases to be felt. When cayenne peppers are consumed, its powerful effect also depletes chemicals in the stomach that cause pain associated with digestive disorders.
Contrary to popular belief, cayenne does not cause ulcers or heartburn, but it may cause discomfort while it is depleting the substance P so that other existing conditions can no longer cause pain.
Eating foods that have been seasoned with cayenne can possibly protect the stomach against the damaging effects of ibuprofen, aspirin and other pain relieving medications.