You might think of cayenne pepper as merely that hot and extremely spicy chili pepper used in tasty dishes, but there is more to this little hot pepper than meets the eye, or rather the tongue in this case. There are several facts and health benefits associated with cayenne pepper that you should know.
Facts about cayenne pepper
- It is named after a city in French Guiana
- Cayenne pepper has been used as a medicine and in Native American cuisines for about 9,000 years
- It originated in Central and South America
- Cayenne pepper contains manganese, flavonoids, Vitamins C, B6. and E, and potassium
- The health benefits of this hot pepper are directly associated with its active ingredient, capsaicin
What is cayenne pepper?
Cayenne is related to bell peppers and jalapeno peppers, which are all main ingredients used in Cajun, Creole, Mexican, and Southwestern American cuisines. It smells like a mild pepper, but this little pepper packs a lot of fire inside.
What makes it spicy? Capsaicin gives cayenne peppers their spiciness, which is also the ingredient that is effective for treating joint and muscle aches and pains.
Primary Benefits of Cayenne Pepper
- Pain Relief – Capsaicin, active ingredient in cayenne, reduces the amount of substance P (a chemical known to carry pain messages to the brain). With less of the chemical comes fewer pain messages sent to the brain, resulting in less pain. Ointments, capsules, and other supplements that contain cayenne are how it is most used. Capsaicin is also now used for debilitating, painful arthritis. Headaches and body aches are also helped by cayenne.
- Reduces Inflammation – Besides being able to reduce pain, capsaicin is also being studied in animals where it is being discovered that it reduces swelling and inflammation. Scientists believe this may be another reason it’s such an effective natural pain reliever.
- Circulatory Boost – Cayenne helps with blood circulation, cardiac arrhythmia, palpitations, blood pressure, varicose veins, high cholesterol, and other heart-related problems. It works on its own to provide these benefits, but cayenne also helps boost the effectiveness of other healthy herbs.
- Weight Loss – It is believed that the heat produced from the pepper itself creates thermogenesis in the human body, which results in consuming oxygen in the body and aiding weight loss efforts.
- Reduce Congestion – People who suffer from sinus, allergies, and other issues that cause congestion in the nasal passages and lungs have found that consuming cayenne helps loosen mucus and phlegm. That helps the body eliminate it.
Precautions to Take
- Cayenne pepper, especially in capsules as capsaicin may cause stomach irritation, which would be bad for people suffering with heartburn, acid reflux, or ulcers.
- Wear gloves to apply capsaicin cream and wash your hands after use.
- Do not apply capsaicin cream on broken skin or open wounds.
Cayenne pepper (or capsaicin) as part of a healthy diet plan can provide many benefits. Capsules, creams, and supplements used as directed can also be beneficial. Be careful not to exceed recommended dosage for best results. Always check with your doctor before adding supplements to your health routine.