Cayenne Pepper

Cayenne Pepper

"Hot chili peppers not only fire up your food, they may also put the heat on cancer cells and force them to self-destruct. A new study shows a natural substance found in chili peppers kills cancer cells by starving them of oxygen. Researchers tested the chili pepper substance (known as capsaicin) along with a related compound (resiniferatoxin) on human skin cancer cells to analyze how the cells reacted. Both compounds are natural substances known as vanilloids. They found that the majority of the skin cancer cells exposed to the substances died. The researchers say these substances seem to kill cells by damaging the cell membranes and limiting the amount of oxygen that reaches the cancer cells."


AKA: Capsicumannuum, Capsicum frutescens



Capsaicin, the compound that makes cayenne and other chili peppers hot. It can help reduce pain and itching by temporarily decreasing levels of substance P, a chemical involved in sending pain sensations along nerves.


Capsaicin-based rub-in creams are used to relieve joint, muscle, nerve and back pain, and fibromyalgia (a musculo-skeletal pain and fatigue disorder).


Cayenne has been used for centuries as both a food and a medicine throughout much of the world. In addition to the health uses above, it has been applied topically to treat frostbite and taken internally as a digestive aid.


arthritis and osteoarthritis: Topical capsaicin is considered a safe and effective way to reduce pain from rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis and neuralgia (nerve pain). A review of human studies published in the December 2002 issue of the American Journal of Orthopedics found capsaicin to be one of several effective treatments for osteoarthritis pain when compared to placebo. Capsaicin cream also significantly reduced knee pain associated with both osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis in a double-blind study published in the May/June 1991 issue of Clinical Therapeutics.
weight loss: Consuming cayenne may help suppress appetite. When a group of men and women took 900mg of cayenne pepper a half hour before meals, they felt fuller and reduced their calorie and fat intake, according to a study appearing in the June 2005 issue of International Journal of Obesity.

prostate cancer: A study in the March 2006 issue of Cancer Research showed that capsaicin significantly inhibited the protein involved with prostate cancer cell proliferation in vitro and in vivo.


Capsaicin creams may cause a mild stinging or burning sensation, although this usually disappears with continued use. Although rare, topical preparations can cause allergic reactions in sensitive people. To test for sensitivity, apply the cream to a small area.

Oral use of capsaicin can cause burning of the mouth and throat. People with heartburn, gastritis, ulcers and similar conditions should use caution when taking cayenne extract or including it in food.
Don't use capsaicin creams or supplements if you are allergic to chili peppers.


capsaicin creams: Rub cream into the affected area three to four times daily, or according to package or doctor directions. Wash your hands after use, unless you're using capsaicin cream for joint pain in the hands, In that case, leave the cream on for at least 30 minutes before washing, being careful not to touch your eyes, open cuts, sores and other sensitive areas. (If capsaicin gets in your eyes, gently flush with cool water.) Use for at least two to three weeks for maximum pain relief, as the effects are cumulative rather than immediate.

capsules of dry cayenne: 450-500mg, one to three times daily.

cayenne extract (tincture): 0.3-1mL, one to three times daily.

cayenne tea (infusion): Pour 1 cup of boiling water over ½1 tsp. of cayenne powder, and steep for 15 minutes. Mix 1 tsp. of this infusion in water or vegetable juice, and drink three times daily.
NATURAL FACTORS CAYENNE 470mg capsules may help ease rheumatic pains.
SOLGAR CAYENNE vegetable capsules contain 520mg of raw cayenne powder.
CHRISTOPHER'S CAYENNE OINTMENT may help relieve stiff joints.
By Amber D. Ackerson, ND

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Millions of people from many cultures around the world enjoy the flavor and fire of hot foods. After all, chilies are the second most common spices in the world, following salt. Few people, however, realize the many health benefits that chili peppers offer.

A substance called capsaicin causes the heat of chilies and peppers. Capsaicin has been associated with many cures that include lowering blood pressure, reducing cholesterol and warding off strokes and heart attacks, speeding up metabolism treating colds and fevers, preventing cancer and pain control.

Capsaicin is a flavorless, odorless chemical concentrated in the veins of chilies and peppers. The seeds grow next to the veins and absorb the chemical. Contrary to popular belief, the seeds are not the hottest part of a chili. Rather, the greatest heat is found in the capsaicin oil, which is in the membranes and near the stems of chili plants. Removing the seeds (and especially the veins) can reduce the heat by up to 50 per cent. Otherwise, capsaicin is virtually indestructible. It can withstand freezing, cooking and time.

Pain Relief

Experts believe that capsaicin acts on and desensitizes nerve fibres that carry pain signals throughout the nervous system. Repeated and high doses of capsaicin prevent sensory nerves from replenishing their chemical stores and they basically run out of neurotransmitters (the chemical agents that transmit the message of pain to a nerve or muscle). When taken internally, capsaicin stimulates circulation sequentially, from the internal organs to the skin surface and subsequently throughout the entire body. When applied externally and once it penetrates the skin. capsaicin increases circulation to the site where it has been applied.

Capsaicin has been proven to be highly successful in relieving symptoms of arthritis, sports injuries, other kinds of chronic joint and muscle pain and certain kinds of itching. Cream made from cayenne was originally used to treat the intense pain of herpes zoster (shingles). which is a nerve infection caused by chicken pox and usually afflicts adults.
Medical studies have shown that capsaicin significantly lowers cholesterol and is a factor in warding off strokes and heart attacks. It has also been medicinally proven to aid in the human body's process of digestion and protect against stomach ulcers and the ravages of alcohol. Contrary to popular belief that ulcer sufferers should avoid spicy foods, a report published in Digestive Diseases and Sciences concluded that capsaicin increased blood flow in the stomach's mucous lining, which may help in healing of the stomach tissue. [Herbal pioneers John Christopher and Jethro Kloss have been saying this for years!-Editor] Chili eaters develop fewer peptic ulcers than those who eat plain foods. Chili peppers also protect against the side effects of aspirin. Also. rates of stomach cancer are unusually low in countries where hot peppers are part of a regular diet. as capsaicin appears to neutralize some carcinogens.

Research has proven that adding chili peppers to your foods can help your body burn calories faster (up to 45 calories more per meal than if you eat bland dishes) and speed up your metabolism. Chili peppers are an incredible replacement for the fat and salt in your diet, as the flavors of the foods are enhanced sufficiently with the ingredients themselves.

When people eat hotter peppers, they experience pain in their mouths and throats. The nervous system reacts to the pain by releasing morphine-like endorphins. Endorphins create a sense of euphoria similar to the "runner's high" that some people get from exercise.

Fresh chilies offer the highest source of vitamin C available from any vegetable. Surprisingly, fresh, uncooked green chilies provide at least twice and up to eight times the amount that is available from citrus fruits. They are also a good source of vitamin A. As chilies turn from green to red and when dried, they lose much of their vitamin C but gain vitamin A through increased amounts of carotene. Vitamin A content increases 100 times in dried peppers.
Linda Matthie-Jacobs is a best-selling writer, confirmed chili lover and believer in the curative power of peppers.
By Linda Matthie-Jacobs