Cayenne pepper is a pungent spice, thought to have originated from Cayenne in French Guiana. It was first described by a doctor travelling with Christopher Columbus and is now popular in worldwide cuisine, and for use in soothing preparations for conditions such as arthritis, as an aid to digestion and to strengthen blood vessels.
Cayenne is made from a variety of hot peppers that have been dried.
The prinicipal active ingredient in cayenne is capsaicin, which gives it its characteristic hot flavour. Capsaicin is an oily chemical that can irritate the skin and burns the eyes, which it why it is used in pepper sprays for self-defence. Cayenne pepper is unrelated to common black pepper, although it is a relative of salad peppers and the hot peppers used to make chilli powder.
According to US medical herbalist Dr Richard Schulze, ‘If you want to master one herb in your life, master cayenne pepper. Cayenne is at the top of the list of the 10 most important herbs, and taking it makes the other nine work better. There’s no other herb that increases your blood flow faster and make immediate physiological and metabolic changes in the body.’ Cayenne is available in cream, ointment or impregnated in a plaster for topical use, or in fresh, dried, tincture, tablet, capsule or powder form for internal use.
- Strengthens heart and blood vessels.
- Improves circulation.
- Relieves pain caused by headaches, nerve and arthritic pain.
- May treat cluster headaches.
- Eases nerve pain caused by shingles, diabetes, surgery or trigeminal neuralgia.
- Soothes pain caused by arthritis.
- Improves digestion.
- Boosts vitality.
- Relieves sinus pain.