Some people buy cayenne pepper for their spice drawer and only use it sparingly, while others enjoy the heat and can’t imagine life without it. Before cayenne pepper was just another spice in the drawer, though, many cultures in China and the Americas used it therapeutically. In fact, the medicinal properties of cayenne have helped treat a variety of ailments for thousands of years.
What Is Cayenne Pepper?
Cayenne pepper is a bush that originated in Central and South America, but it is now grown around the world in tropical and subtropical climates. The plant grows long hollow fruit that turn red, orange, or yellow when ripe. These are cayenne chili peppers, which are commonly dried and turned into powder. Some people use it in creams, season food with it, or ingest it in capsule form to reap the detoxifying properties. It helps to soothe upset stomach, stop diarrhea, reduce the severity of cramps, and improve circulation.
What Makes Cayenne Pepper Special?
Almost all of cayenne pepper’s benefits are attributed to capsaicin, a powerful compound in cayenne pepper. It binds to a vanilloid receptor, known as TRPV1, and triggers a mild inflammatory reaction to repair injured cells. Capsaicin is also responsible for the intense heat. The more capsaicin a pepper has, the hotter it is.
8 Benefits Of Cayenne Pepper
Great For Headaches
Cayenne pepper has the ability to stimulate pain response in a different area of the body, which can divert the brain’s attention to the new site. For this reason, researchers say that cayenne helps to reduce headache pain. When you consume cayenne the brain has an initial pain reaction that depletes nerve fibers of substance P (the pain chemical). Cayenne tricks your body into thinking that there is other pain besides the headache, which reduces headache pain.
It May Reduce Blood Pressure
According to global statistics, roughly 40% adults over the age of 25 have high blood pressure. The results from some animal studies show that capsaicin may reduce high blood pressure. One study, which involved mice with high blood pressure, found that daily consumption of capsaicin helped reduce blood pressure. Another study determined that capsaicin relaxed blood vessels in pigs, and ultimately lowered blood pressure. These results are based on animal studies, though, not humans.
Cayenne pepper works to stimulate the circulatory system and increase the digestive and lymphatic rhythm. It also helps to heat the body, which stimulates the natural detoxification process. Most people sweat after consuming cayenne pepper, and that is another process of detoxification. Add cayenne to lemon juice and raw honey and drink this in the morning to start your detox.
Great For Digestion
As previously mentioned, cayenne helps to stimulate digestive rhythms, but it also stimulates saliva production, which is necessary for healthy digestion. Additionally, cayenne pepper stimulates the production of gastric juices, which help the body metabolize food and toxins.
Nerve And Joint Pain Relief
Capsaicin is an ingredient in many creams or salves that promise pain relief. Topical application of cayenne helps to reduce substance P, the chemical that carries pain messages to the brain. By suppressing this chemical, you feel less pain. Many studies found that cayenne pepper relieved pain after surgeries, including amputation and mastectomy. If you experience nerve damage or joint pain, apply a salve that contains cayenne to the affected area to relieve pain.
Resists Harmful Organisms
What does it mean to resist harmful organisms? Well, cayenne pepper helps to increase the body’s defense against harmful organisms that enter the body. In vitro tests found that CAY-1, a compound in cayenne pepper, suppressed the growth of 16 different fungal strains. What’s more impressive is that it did so without damaging healthy cells.
It May Improve Psoriasis
Psoriasis is a skin condition that occurs when skin cells replicate too quickly, resulting in swollen patches under the skin. Scaly patches result from inflammation and excessive skin production. According to two trials, applying 0.025% capsaicin cream topically reduced inflammation and itchiness. Another study found that capsaicin cream reduced scaling and redness in 44 patients over a six-week period.
Great For Cold And Flu
Cayenne pepper is rich in beta-carotene and other antioxidants that enhance immune function. It also works to break up mucus and dislodge hardened mucus, which can shorten the duration of a cold or flu. As previously mentioned in this article, cayenne pepper helps to raise body temperature and induce sweating. This activates the immune system to help you kick that cold or flu.