Cayenne originated in Central and South America and now grows in subtropical and tropical climates. Its hollow fruit grows into long pods that turn red, orange or yellow when they ripen. Cayenne chili peppers (or Capsicum frutescens) belong to the genus Capsicum and come from a similar cultivar of Capsicum annuum. It is part of the Pungent Category of foods and is good for bringing the Lungs and Large Intestine into balance. In the First Volume of The Alchemist’s Cookbook Series, it features in The Yummy-licious Hot Cacao Shot. Cayenne contains Vitamins C; B6 and E as well as the trace minerals potassium and manganese. It is packed full of flavanoids, which provide its powerful antioxidant properties.
Like pure Chilli Peppers, Cayenne contains something called Capsaicin. This is an amazaing property, which provides pain relief and reduce inflammation. Capsaicin contains a neuropetide, which is associated with the inflammatory process. In studies, chilli-related alterations in plasma proteins have been reported in patients suffering from auto-inflammatory diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis. It has been found that regular intake of chillies or cayenne can help to minimise the effects these diseases have on the body. Another fabulous discovery has been that capsaicin has proven to be an effective pain reliever, without the numbing effect usually associated with anaesthetics, as well as the inability in some cases, to operate machinery and of course the sedative effect some painkillers cause.
Research carried out at Harvard University showed that capsaicin can be used to target pain receptors, without affecting nerve cells or causing the side effects cited above. Additional studies have shown that capsaicin blocks a naturally-occurring chemical called Substance P. This is involved in the transmission and perception of pain. Thus, as a result, chilli and cayenne could be useful in relieving and preventing common pains associated with headaches; migraines and discomfort caused by sinus problems.
Capsaicin also has anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties enabling them to help relieve conditions such as irritable bowel and neuropathy caused by the onset of diabetes or psoriasis. It is also a fabulous preventer and eliminator of the common cold; flu or tummy bugs.
If you ever have a hot curry, you will find yourself needing to blow your nose suddenly! This is because chillies and cayenne are also brilliant at “clearing you out” or decongesting you! They do this through quickly and effectively opening your nasal passages, thus enabling you to breathe more easily.
Research into cancer published in a study in March 2006 concluded that capsaicin also helped to stop the spread of prostate cancer. What it did was trigger suicide in both primary types of prostate cancer cell lines. Here is a quote from Soeren Lehmann M.D. Ph. D., a visiting scientist at the Cedan-Sinai Medical Centre and the UCLA School of Medicine: “It also dramatically slowed the development of prostate tumours formed by those human cell lines grown in mouse models". The research concluded that the dose needed to get this effect equated roughly to about 5 hot peppers a week for an average adult man.
Lastly, both cayenne and chillies help to burn fat and reduce cholesterol! How? Capsaicin is also a thermogenic compound and thus increases the metabolic rate. This thus aids in the fat-burning process. Some studies have revealed that eating cayenne and chillies can raise your metabolic rate by up to 23% for about three hours!
In March 2012, a research study presented by scientists at a meeting of the American Chemical Society in San Diego concluded that capsaicin and their related compounds called capsiacinoids, lowered cholesterol levels and improved blood flow in hamsters.
Previous research, like that cited above, found that cayenne and chilli peppers lowered blood pressure as well as cholesterol and improved blood low. The difficulty was that scientists were unsure how! Researchers found that capsaicin lowers cholesterol not only by reducing the accumulation of cholesterol in the blood, but also by helping the body break it down and get rid of it. The research team also discovered that capsaicin blocked a gene that makes arteries contract, which in turn improves blood flow.
Zhen-Yu Chen, the lead researcher and professor of food and nutritional science at the University of Hong Kong confirmed that their findings showed that capsaicin reduced the levels of “bad” LDL cholesterol whilst having no bad effect on the “good” HDL cholesterol. It also helped clear LDL cholesterol deposits in blood vessels that can narrow arteries and potentially cause a heart attack or stroke. There was, though, a warning to refrain from eating massive amounts of cayenne or chilli peppers! Chen said that good diet is a matter of balance and just relying on chillies should never be a substitute for stopping any medication you may be on.
Here is a summary of the things Cayenne are great for:-
Helps Your Digestion One of the major cayenne pepper benefits is the positive effect it has on the digestive system. Cayenne pepper helps produce saliva, which is important for excellent digestion as well as preventing bad breath. Consuming cayenne pepper stimulates our salivary glands, which is needed to begin the digestive process.
Cayenne pepper also stimulates the flow of enzyme production, which is essential for our digestive system to work properly. It also stimulates gastric juices that aid the body’s ability to metabolize food and toxins. Relieves Migraine Pain Researchers suggest that cayenne pepper, due to its spice, is able to stimulate a pain response in a different part of the body. Once this happens, the brain puts its attention on that new site and will no longer concentrate on the pain in the head, which causes the migraine.
After this initial pain reaction from the cayenne pepper, the nerve fibers have a depleted substance P, or pain chemical, and the sensation of pain is lessened. You are basically tricking your body to “feel pain” somewhere else, so that the head is no longer the main focus for pain chemicals.
Prevents Blood Clots Blood clots are blockages in your arteries and blood vessels that limit blood flow through your circulatory system. Cayenne encourages fibrinolytic activity and helps prevent blood clots.
This is also the reason why cayenne pepper is effective in preventing heart attacks. The capsaicin in cayenne pepper helps to clear away artery-narrowing lipid deposits, and dilates arteries and blood vessels to clear away clots.
Provides Detox Support Cayenne pepper benefits include its ability to stimulate circulation and eliminate acidity. Cayenne pepper restores the circulatory system by opening the capillaries and regulating blood sugar; it also helps the digestive system that moves bacteria and toxins out of the body. Cayenne pepper also increases body temperature and boosts your metabolism
Relieves Joint and Nerve Pain Cayenne power has very powerful pain-relieving properties when applied to the skin. It reduces the amount of substance P, a chemical that carries pain messages to the brain. When there is less substance P, the pain messages no longer reach the brain and you feel relief.
Studies have found that cayenne pepper relieves pain after surgery, such as a mastectomy or an amputation. It also alleviates pain from nerve damage in the feet or legs from diabetes, lower back injuries, neuropathy, osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis, as well as fibromyalgia symptoms joint or muscle pain.
Supports Weight Loss Studies have found that consuming cayenne pepper for breakfast creates less appetite, so people eat less calories during the day. It also burns excess fat because it’s a metabolic booster. As one of the key anti-inflammatory foods, cayenne pepper benefits also include weight loss. Cayenne pepper also has the power to soothe inflammation and bloating that comes from allergies, food sensitivities and infections.
Works as Anti-Irritant Cayenne pepper benefits include its anti-irritant properties, making it effective in easing ulcers, upset stomachs, cough and even potentially stop diarrhoea. The common belief is that cayenne pepper, when consumed in excessive amounts, leads to gastric ulcers because of its irritant and acid-secreting nature. People with ulcers are actually advised to limit or avoid using cayenne pepper; however, investigations carried out in recent years have revealed that chili, or its active principle “capsaicin,” is not the cause for the formation of ulcer symptoms, but a benefactor.
Studies have found that cayenne pepper does not stimulate, but inhibits acid secretion, stimulates alkali and mucus secretions and particularly gastric mucosal blood flow, which helps in the prevention and healing of ulcers.
Treats Psoriasis Psoriasis occurs when skin cells replicate too quickly, and it results in swollen patches under the skin covered with whitish scales on top. The scaly patches are areas of inflammation and excessive skin production.
Two trials showed that 0.025 percent capsaicin (cayenne pepper) cream used topically is effective in treating psoriasis. The first study showed a significant decrease in scaling and redness during a six-week period in 44 patients with moderate and severe psoriasis. The second was a double-blind study of 197 patients; psoriasis was treated with the capsaicin cream four times daily for six weeks, with a significant decrease in scaling, thickness, redness and itching. Boosts Metabolism Cayenne pepper benefits also include its ability to regulate your metabolism. Cayenne pepper has been found to effectively suppress hunger and normalise glucose levels. It keeps blood pressure levels normalized, and helps the body lower LDL cholesterol and triglycerides.
Fights Cold and Flu Cayenne pepper benefits include being full of beta carotene and antioxidants that support your immune system. It aids in breaking up and moving congested mucus, and once this nasty mucus leaves the body, the symptoms of the flu or cold will diminish. Besides helping as a natural remedy for flu, cayenne pepper also raises your body temperature, which makes you sweat and increases the activity of your immune system. As a vitamin C food, cayenne pepper may also help you to kick that nasty cold.
Source of Vitamin A Vitamin A plays a critical role in maintaining healthy vision, neurological function and healthy skin; it is an antioxidant that reduces inflammation by fighting free radicals. Studies have repeatedly shown that antioxidants like vitamin A are vital to good health and longevity; they benefit eye health, boost immunity and foster cell growth.
Lucky for us, cayenne pepper is a great source of vitamin A; in fact, with just two teaspoons of cayenne pepper, you are getting your fill of vitamin A for the day! Contains Vitamin E Vitamin E benefits include helping many organs in the body function properly and is extremely useful in naturally slowing the aging process. This important and beneficial vitamin has the power to balance cholesterol, fight free radicals, repair damaged skin, balance hormones, repair damaged skin and hair, improve vision and increase energy levels … and cayenne pepper is an important provider of vitamin E.
Prevents Allergies Because cayenne is an anti-inflammatory agent, it has the power to prevent allergies and the symptoms related to allergies. A food allergy, for example, is a measurable response to consuming a specific food. Food allergies, or intolerances, can be caused by a condition known as leaky gut (intestinal permeability), when proteins and food particles pass through the gut and cause systemic body inflammation.
Leaky gut is like having the gates broken from your intestines to your bloodstream so that toxins, microbes and undigested food particles can now get through. When this happens, it causes inflammation throughout your body, leading to a variety of diseases.
Possible Anti-Cancer Agent Studiessuggest that capsaicin may have a role as a natural remedy for cancer, including in the management of prostate cancer. One study conducted at University of California at Los Angeles School of Medicine found that this important ingredient in cayenne pepper is able to inhibit the growth of cancer cells and prevent the activation of new dangerous formations.
There is also data from California’s Loma Linda University that suggests that cayenne pepper benefits include being effective in helping prevent lung cancer in smokers. Cayenne pepper’s high amounts of capsaicin serves as a substance that can stop the formation of tobacco induced tumors in the lung. Similar effects have also been found in liver tumors when they were exposed to cayenne pepper. 15. Anti-Fungal Properties The final cayenne pepper benefit is its ability to kill fungus and prevent the formation of fungal pathogens. Cayenne pepper was investigated to determine its in vitro antifungal activity, and the results found that it was active against 16 different fungal strains, including Candida.
Candida is a fungus that aids with nutrient absorption and digestion, when in proper levels in the body. When it overproduces, however, the typical candida symptoms may appear; this includes hormone imbalance, joint pain, digestive problems and a weak immune system.