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Lookin' for some hot stuff baby ....

by Sandra Witt

So who knew? Cayenne is one amazing, spicy, healthy, wonderful thing. The chili originated in Central and South America. It is named after the capital city of the French Guiana, Cayenne. Cayenne chili peppers are closely related to jalapeño chili peppers - belonging to the same genus "Capsicum" and coming from a similar cultivar of Capsicum annuum.

Cayenne pepper played a very important role in Native American medicine for thousands of years. This pepper has been used in traditional Chinese and Ayurvedic medicines to help treat circulatory problems and increase appetite. What gives the chili its spiciness is the active ingredient capsaicin, which is commonly used for the treatment of aches and pains of the muscles and joints. Dr. Richard Schulze, N.D., M.H., one of the foremost authorities on Natural Healing and Herbal Therapy, says “If you master only one herb in your life, master cayenne pepper. It is more powerful than any other.”

This red pepper has been used for thousands of years for healing. It has helped relieve migraines, reduce cholesterol, alleviate asthma symptoms, fight infections, stop a heart attack, counteract indigestion, and (get ready for it) ... it will stop bleeding in 10 to 15 seconds! Whether the bleeding is external or internal, you can drink a cup of warm tea with a teaspoon of cayenne pepper stirred into it or apply cayenne powder onto the wound and the bleeding will stop. Althought is it spicy when you eat it, it is reported that it does not burn when you put it on a wound.

Cayenne is rich in capsaicin. The pepper contains vitamins C, B6, and E, potassium, manganese, and flavonoids (which give the chili its antioxidant properties).  The capsaicin compound found in cayenne peppers may have pain-relieving properties, according to a systematic review of topical capsaicin for the treatment of chronic pain published in the British Medical Journal. The researchers concluded that despite only 'moderate' effectiveness of capsaicin in the treatment of chronic musculoskeletal or neuropathic pain, it "may be useful as an adjunct or sole therapy for a small number of patients who are unresponsive to, or intolerant of, other treatments." There have been no studies on the use of cayenne for pain management in avians.

Here are a couple of links to sites with more information on this awesome (and delicious) spice. Remember, wash your hands after handling capsaicins and before touching eyes or other sensitive areas.

Originally published February 7, 2016.  Revised by original author and republished with permission.


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