Healing with Cayenne Pepper
by Cordi Howell
Cayenne Pepper has many names, including hot flame, devil’s tongue and African pepper.
Back in the day it was considered helpful for various conditions of the gastrointestinal tract, including stomachaches, cramping pains, and gas. Cayenne was frequently used to treat diseases of the circulatory system. It is still traditionally used in herbal medicine as a circulatory tonic (a substance believed to improve circulation).
Rubbed on the skin, cayenne is a traditional, as well as modern, remedy for rheumatic pains and arthritis due to what is termed a counterirritant effect. A counterirritant is something which causes irritation to a tissue to which it is applied, thus distracting from the original irritation (such as joint pain in the case of arthritis).
In the West Indies, cayenne pepper pods are soaked in hot water, then mixed with sugar and the juice of sour oranges and used as a drink when a fever is present. The capsaicin will induce sweat, which in turn will cool the patient. Additionally, the orange will supply vitamin C and the sugar, energy.
If used in a poultice as a stimulant, cayenne also promotes blood flow. Cayenne pepper is also used for toothache, and as a liniment for sprains and congestion problems. Cayenne pepper tea is used for the common cold.
The main medicinal properties of cayenne are derived from a chemical called capsaicin. Capsaicin is the ingredient which gives peppers their HEAT. A pepper’s capsaicin content ranges from 0-1.5%. Peppers are measured according to heat units. The degree of heat determines the peppers’ usage and value. Generally, the hotter the pepper, the more capsaicin it contains. In addition to adding heat to the pepper, capsaicin acts to reduce platelet stickiness and relieve pain.
It is a very high source of Vitamins A, E and C, has the complete B vitamin complex, carotenoids and is very rich in organic calcium and potassium, which is one of the reasons it is good for the heart
Today cayenne is used worldwide to treat a variety of health conditions, including poor circulation, weak digestion, heart disease, chronic pain, sore throats, headaches and toothache.
When taken internally, cayenne soothes the digestive tract and stimulates the flow of stomach secretions and saliva. Cayenne can rebuild the tissue in the stomach and the peristaltic action in the intestines. It aids elimination and assimilation, and helps the body to create hydrochloric acid, which is necessary for good digestion and assimilation, especially of proteins. All this becomes very significant when we realize that the digestive system plays the most important role in mental, emotional and physical health, as it is through the digestive system that the brain, glands, muscles and every other part of the body are fed.
Cayenne is the greatest herbal aid to circulation and can be used on a regular basis. If you master only one herb in your life, master cayenne pepper. It is more powerful than any other.
Cayenne moves blood
There is no other herb which increases your blood flow faster than cayenne. Cayenne moves blood and when added to any other herb increases that herbs action and the speed in which the other herbs will work. It makes all the other herbs work better.
Cayenne is the greatest blood circulation stimulant known. You can take the entire milk thistle you want, but if you have bad circulation to your liver, it’s not going to do you any good. Cayenne increases your blood circulation immediately within seconds, more than any other herb.
When you have a sick area, there’s often a restriction of blood flow to that area. Blood flow is what takes nutrition and the healing properties of herbs to those cells. Blood flow is also what carries out and removes waste material. Cayenne pepper is like TNT. It blasts through the entire blockage to get to the area which is sick, taking with it all the minerals and vitamins from the foods you eat, and all the vital properties from the herbs you take – all the way to the sick area.
Cayenne pepper is usually labeled 40,000, 60,000, 90,000 or more heat units. Generally, the higher the number of heat units, the more beneficial. The lower-heat cayenne peppers are a lot less efficient, and they are the ones which are most highly contaminated. These are the ones you see labeled for 30,000 heat units. These are the ones to stay away from.
It is recommended that the cayenne powder be used, as opposed to capsules. It is believed that you are only getting a small part of the potential effect of cayenne pepper by taking it in capsules. When you put cayenne in your mouth, your stomach secretes digestive juices before the cayenne ever gets there. So when the cayenne gets down there, your stomach is ready for it.
But if you swallow a capsule, your tongue tastes nothing. A capsule goes down in your stomach, and your stomach notices nothing, at first. Then, 5 minutes later the gelatin bursts, and you have a 1/2 teaspoon of cayenne pepper in your stomach and your body is shocked. You surprised it.
What is going on is that some of cayenne’s healing action occurs right in your mouth. As cayenne touches your tongue, the cayenne absorbs in seconds and nerve endings send signals throughout the body – sending waves of fresh blood throughout your body.
Sure, there are a few heating herbs like ginger and horseradish. Use it to improve blood flow throughout your body.
People who are not used to cayenne just need to work their way up. One problem people have is that they blow their mouths with cayenne, right off the bat. For those who have never used cayenne pepper before, a good initial dosage is 1/16th of a teaspoonful in some juice. Work your way up in dosage slowly. Put a small amount in some juice, stir it up and sweeten it with honey if so desired.
Cayenne has been known to stop heart attacks within 30 seconds. Capsicum (cayenne pepper) is said to be unequal for its ability to boost circulation and increase heart action. It exerts a variety of desirable actions on the entire cardiovascular system. It has the extraordinary ability to enhance cardiovascular performance while actually lowering blood pressure and has an energizing effect on the entire system. It has traditionally been used for overcoming fatigue and restoring stamina and vigor. It is a natural stimulant without the threatening side effects (palpitations, hyper-activity or rise in blood pressure) of most other stimulating agents.
Because Capsicum boosts peripheral circulation and stimulates organ secretion, it expedites the therapeutic delivery and action of nutrients in the body. It will ensure the rapid and even distribution of the active principles of available nutrients to critical function centers, including those involved in cellular respiration, metabolic data transmission and neural-hormonal action. The remarkable ability of Capsicum to stimulate organ secretion and even heart action makes it one of the strongest natural stimulants known.
If a heart attack should occur, it is suggested that a teaspoon of extract be given every 15 minutes or a teaspoon of Cayenne in a glass of hot water be taken until the crisis has passed. Of course if the person is unconscious, you have to be cautious of how you administer the cayenne liquid, you don’t want them to aspirate on it (suffocate). Therefore you should always have an eyedropper in your med bags. You can get the extract into the eyedropper and then administer it by placing it into the side area of the mouth, between the gum and cheek. A few drops of cayenne extract put into the mouth of the heart attack victim will help to regulate the heart and in extreme cases where CPR is needed, cayenne pepper actually helps to increase the effectiveness of the compressions.
Using cayenne and hawthorn berries together has a most incredible effect upon the heart. A regimen of cayenne and hawthorn berries for several months will greatly strengthen the heart, and possibly prevent heart attacks. If an attack were to occur in someone who had followed this regimen, chances are extremely good that no permanent damage to the heart would occur.
It is a good idea to always have some Cayenne extract on hand for emergencies. If a hemorrhage occurs in the lungs, stomach, uterus or nose, it is suggested that a teaspoon of extract (or a teaspoon of cayenne powder in a cup of hot water) be given every 15 minutes until the crisis has passed. In most case, the bleeding should stop in 10-30 seconds. The reason for this is that rather than the blood pressure being centralized, it is equalized by the Cayenne, and the clotting action of the blood becomes more rapid. For external bleeding, take cayenne internally and pour cayenne directly on the wound.
Individuals who suffer from dyspepsia should start taking a cup of cayenne pepper tea with every meal. ¼ tsp of cayenne powder added to 1 cup of hot water will go to work immediately and the person will experience significant relief of pain, bloating and nausea.
Capsaicin cream is well established as a pain-relieving treatment and has provided great relief for post-herpetic neuropathy (the pain that lingers after an attack of shingles) peripheral neuropathy (nerve pain that occurs most commonly as a side effect of diabetes, but may occur with HIV as well as other conditions), nerve pain after cancer surgery and arthritis.
To make capsaicin cream: blend together ½ tsp ground cayenne pepper or 15 -20 drops of cayenne extract together with 2 cups of lard, beeswax or whatever you choose as a base. I don’t ever recommend using petroleum jelly, because I have issue’s with putting any petroleum products or by products on our skin. You can also make a wonderful soothing and healing ointment by using aloe vera gel as your base.
Administering capsaicin via the nose seems to help relieve cluster headaches (a severe one-sided headache that tends to occur in clusters, happening repeatedly every day at the same time for possibly several weeks). Such treatment should only be done by a health care professional.
Capsaicin cream can reduce itching and inflammation associated with psoriasis (a chronic skin disease that generally appears as patches of raised red skin covered by a flaky white buildup).
Capsaicin taken orally increases the body’s production of heat for a short time. It may also help to regulate blood sugar levels by affecting the breakdown of carbohydrates after a meal. Therefore, it is now being used by many to help them to lose weight..in a healthy manner.
CAYENNE PEPPER OIL – THERAPEUTIC ACTION
CAYENNE, acting as a Counter-Irritant, plus the Oil as an Emollient, work DEEP into Tissue to RELIEVE Pain, Swelling and Inflammation. It can also be used for Stiffness in Joints, Tendons, Ligaments and Muscles for Health Problems, including Arthritis, Bursitis, Lumbago, or ANY Muscle or Bone Pain
Making Tinctures -An Example with Cayenne Tincture –
Start to make this and ANY Tincture, if possible, on a NEW Moon. (I make my extracts only on the new moon, (the time of initiation) and never press before the full moon (the time of fruition).
Take a Quart Canning Jar and fill it 1/4 FULL with DRIED and ground Cayenne Peppers, getting the HOTTEST ones (i.e. – Habanero, African Bird, Serrano, Jalapeno – 90,000+ Heat Units), that you can obtain.
Add enough 50% Grain Alcohol (100 Proof Vodka) to the Cayenne Peppers (powdered, using a Blender or Grinder) to just COVER them.
Use enough FRESH Cayenne Peppers, that you can blend with 100 Proof Vodka to turn the Mixture into an Apple Sauce-Like Consistency.
Add this Mixture to the 1st Mixture, filling up the Canning Jar 3/4 FULL.
Fill up the rest of the Canning Jar with MORE 100 Proof Vodka.
Shake it as MANY times as possible, during the Day.
Let this Mixture SIT, until the following FULL Moon (15-16 Days), but OPTIMALLY until the following NEW Moon (28-29 Days)!
Strain this Mixture through an UNBLEACHED Coffee Filter.
Bottle the RESULTING Tincture.
NOTE: Part EQUALS Volume, NOT Weight in this Tincture Method. If using 95% Alcohol (190 Proof), then DILUTE in half with Distilled Water. Modify this procedure by using DRIED Herbs ONLY, if FRESH Herbs are NOT AVAILABLE, and when making other Herbal Tinctures also. Also if you want to make a SUPER-POTENT Tincture (i.e. – Cayenne Pepper & Lobelia Seed Pod), then allow the Mixture to sit for a full 3 months. Do not use capsaicin with a heating pad, and do not apply capsaicin cream immediately before or after hot showers. Wash hands well after use, and avoid touching your eyes.
People with ulcers or heartburn should talk to their naturopath/health care specialist before using capsaicin. Capsaicin capsules may cause stomach irritation.
People who are allergic to latex, bananas, kiwi, chestnuts, and avocado may also have an allergy to cayenne.
Eating cayenne as a spice is considered safe during pregnancy, but pregnant women should avoid taking cayenne as a supplement. Cayenne does pass into breast milk, so nursing mothers should avoid cayenne both as a spice and a supplement.
Cayenne should not be given to children under 2 years of age. However, cayenne may be used topically with caution in older children as an ointment. Topical cayenne ointments should not be used for more than 2 consecutive days in children.
For shingles, psoriasis, arthritis, or muscle pain: Capsaicin cream (0.025 – 0.075% capsaicin) may be applied directly to the affected area up to four times a day. Because cayenne works by first stimulating and then decreasing the intensity of pain in the body, the pain may increase slightly at first, but then will diminish greatly over the next few hours. Capsaicin should be applied regularly several times a day.
If you are currently being treated with any of the following medications, you should not use cayenne preparations without first talking to your health care provider.
- ACE inhibitors — Using capsaicin cream on the skin may increase the risk of cough associated with ACE inhibitors. These are medications used to regulate blood pressure, including captopril, enalapril, and lisinopril. People who take ACE inhibitors should talk to their doctor before taking cayenne.
- Stomach acid reducers — Capsaicin can cause an increase in stomach acid, lessening the effect of drugs such as cimetidine (Tagamet), famotidine (Pepcid), ranitidine (Zantac), omeprazole (Prilosec), and esomeprazole (Nexium). The same is true of over-the-counter drugs such as Maalox, Rolaids, Tums, and nonprescription versions of Tagamet, Pepcid, Zantac, and Prilosec.
- Aspirin — Capsaicin may decrease the effectiveness of aspirin to relieve pain, and may increase the risk of bleeding associated with aspirin. However, this doesn’t seem to be a concern if one is using white willow bark instead of aspirin.
- Blood-thinning medications and herbs — Capsaicin may increase the risk of bleeding associated with certain blood-thinning medications (such as warfarin and heparin) and herbs (such as ginkgo, ginger, ginseng, and garlic).
- Theophylline — Regular use of cayenne may increase the absorption of theophylline, a medication used to treat asthma, to toxic levels.