The Natural Medicine Cabinet: Cayenne Pepper
Besides being flat out delicious, cayenne pepper has a whole host of health benefits that are worth knowing about. Now, I know that you probably only think of cayenne as being good for bringing the heat to your favorite dishes, and that’s definitely the thing that makes it worth trying.
The thing that will keep you coming back is the ability to protect your heart, enhance your immune and digestive systems, relieve headaches and heal fungal infections. There’s some evidence that it can kill prostate cancer, too. According to Dr. Joe Mercola,
“The active ingredient in cayenne pepper, called capsaicin, has been found to reverse Type 1 diabetes in mice, for example — an astounding breakthrough that the medical community keeps quiet about. Capsaicin also has cancer-fighting benefits.”
Cayenne is hot; that’s no surprise. However, there are gradations of heat that you’ll want to be aware of when adding cayenne to recipes. The heat comes from the chemical capsaicin, and capsaicin is measured on the Scoville scale.
While most cayenne pepper is in the 30,000-50,000 unit range, be aware that some breeds of cayenne, such as the African Birdseye, are as high as the 100,000-350,000 range. Needless to say, it’s wise to know what sort of cayenne you’re using!
Believe it or not, cayenne pepper can help heal ulcers. I know that it seems counter-intuitive, but the same capsaicin that brings warmth into the body also soothes the mucosal lining of the stomach. A quarter teaspoon of the pepper in one cup hot water will soothe the stomach.
If you add a teaspoon of honey to your cayenne and hot water mixture, you’ve got a fantastic remedy for a sore throat. I’ve talked often about how I drink the Master Cleanse lemonade recipe for breakfast most days.
I tend to use honey to sweeten instead of grade B maple syrup when I’m not on the cleanse itself. That’s partly because I buy honey by the gallon and the syrup is harder to find, but also because I prefer the milder flavor. When cleansing, of course, use the syrup for its mineral benefits!
Cayenne is great for weight loss, as it warms the body internally, ratcheting up the metabolism. Bodybuilders should be taking cayenne daily, but especially before competitions for that extra-lean look.
I’ve heard time after time that cayenne pepper has the power to stop a heart attack cold, literally within 30 seconds. If the patient is still conscious, administer one teaspoon cayenne pepper in eight ounces of hot water AFTER calling 911.
Continue to give cayenne every 15 minutes until the patient arrives at the emergency room, even when you’re in the ambulance with the person.
You may also use liquid cayenne extract, administered a teaspoon at a time. Be sure to find a brand that isn’t irradiated, which will render it impotent.
Besides being great in a crisis situation, cayenne is a great daily preventative. It strengthens the vascular system, and clears plaque from the arterial walls. How? Well, it equalizes the blood pressure from arteries, veins, capillaries and nerves.
A side benefit of the circulatory benefits of cayenne pepper should be evidenced in your complexion. People who take cayenne on a daily basis report clearer, more hydrated, glowing skin.
“Cayenne pepper contains many wonderful phytochemicals, vitamins, and minerals. It cleans the blood allowing hormonal signals to make their way unimpeded through your system, thus the enhanced immune response.” –Dr. Schulze, cayenne expert and herbologist
Inflammation is the body’s response to injury, real or perceived and often begins in the gut. Of course, cayenne’s ability to aid in reducing inflammation isn’t limited to the immune system, but certainly makes a difference in this important area.
Capsaicin works as a substance P inhibitor, one factor that causes inflammation in the body. Taking one to three teaspoons of cayenne per day (whether in food, or capsules, or a combination of both), can help with arthritis, bursitis, or other chronic inflammation conditions.
The antioxidants and beta carotene contained in cayenne helps strengthen and repair mucous membranes. These are the first line of defense against pathogens trying to cross the nose/eye/mouth barriers. The more bacteria and viruses they trap, the healthier you’ll stay.
As Dr. Mercola pointed out earlier in our article, clinical studies show that cayenne pepper kills prostate cancer cells in studies on mice. That’s fantastic news for cancer research on humans.
“Capsaicin had a profound anti-proliferative effect on human prostate cancer cells in culture.” It caused 80 percent of the prostate cancer cells growing in mice to “commit suicide in a process known as apoptosis,” according to Dr. Soren Lehmann, Hot Pepper Kills Prostate Cancer Cells in Study
Other Cool Benefits
Knock out a nasty headache with cayenne. Dilute 1/4 tsp. cayenne in 4 oz warm water. Mix with a cotton swab and apply to your nasal passages. Yes, it will burn, but the pain should go away in 15-20 minutes. Sit down and relax. You should notice the burning subside, and the headache with it.
After I posted that tip on headache cures, a friend of mine here at SteroidsLive gave it a shot on her raging, week-long migraine. She reported back that the pain was gone, but that her visual disturbances remained.
Because I don’t experience those problems with my migraines, I was glad to hear how the cayenne nasal swab worked for her. If you give it a try, I’d love to hear whether it KOs your headache, or just burns your sniffer.
Cayenne pepper is great for stopping a wound from bleeding. As crazy as it sounds, cayenne causes the blood pressure to equalize inside the body. The blood is then free to clot because there’s no loss of pressure as it seeps from the wound.
Instead of using Icy Hot on your lower back pain, a poultice of cayenne pepper, garlic and raw potatoes can help improve circulation, thereby loosening the tight muscles. Frankly, I’m tempted to eat the remains of that natural medication!
Whether you add the powder to your food or drink for spicy enjoyment or swallow available capsules whole, you’ve got to get this amazing herb into your diet.