What is Cayenne pepper?
Cayenne pepper is a chili pepper from the capsicum family.
This pepper is mainly used as a food additive to give flavor.
The cayenne pepper is hot and gives a burning sensation when taken in any amounts.
However, the taste of the pepper is loved by many, especially in South America and Asia.
Cayenne pepper holds plenty of nutritional benefits.
Here are some facts about the cayenne pepper for you
Cayenne Pepper Benefits
Cayenne pepper is primarily used as a spice that can be added to many dishes.
It is closely related to jalapeno pepper and is commonly used in South America, Spanish and Asian cuisines.
The pepper is a thin red banana shaped but small in size approximately the size of the little finger.
It can be bought alongside vegetables from grocery stores or can also be purchased as a cayenne powder in supermarkets.
The pepper is often dried and ground to form cayenne pepper powder or can be consumed in raw form by slicing into small pieces.
The pepper is popularly used in the raw form in Korea, Sichuan and other Asian countries.
Cayenne is also used as an ingredient in some drugs and pain relief gels.
The pepper is rich in a compound known as capsaicin, which is responsible for its taste.
This compound is believed to hold key medicinal properties hence it is used in treating aches and pains in muscle joints.
The pepper was also used in traditional China to treat circulatory problems.
The pepper was used in India to enhance appetite.
While these uses of cayenne pepper did not have any scientific backing, today scientific studies have proved that cayenne pepper is rich in chemical and nutritional compounds that help in treating various ailments.
Also Read: 101 Black Seed Oil Benefits and Uses
Cayenne is commonly grown in home gardens
Some people grow it alongside flowers while most of it is grown on farms.
If you decide to grow cayenne, make sure you harvest when they are fully ripe to enjoy their health benefits.
The peppers are best when allowed to ripen on the farm until their skin color is turned from green to red.
When you plant your own cayenne peppers, you have to undergo the extra work of drying and grinding.
However, if you do not want to undertake the process, you can simply buy cayenne pepper powder from food stores.
Fast facts on the cayenne pepper
The pepper was first grown in South America and is named after a city in French Guiana.
Cayenne Paper Has Been Used in America for at Least 9000 years now.
Capsaicin is the main component of Cayenne and is responsible for most of its health benefits.
Cayenne pepper can be used to treat open wounds and breaks.
Nutritional Composition of Cayenne
According to the United States Department Of Agriculture National Nutritional Database, the composition of cayenne in terms of nutrients is as follows.
One tablespoon of cayenne pepper weighs 5.3 grams of which:
- 0.64 g are proteins
- 0.92 g are fats
- 1.4 g is fiber
- 1.6g are carbohydrates
- 8mg is calcium
- 0.41 mg is iron
- 8mg is magnesium
- 16mg is phosphorus
- 107 mg is potassium
The pepper holds 17 calories. The other nutrients include vitamin C, riboflavin, niacin, vitamin B-6, thiamin, carotenoids, and flavonoids.
Also Read: 18 Powerful Castor Oil Uses & Benefits
Medicinal Composition of Cayenne Pepper
Cayenne has been used for medicinal purposes for thousands of years.
Although most of the uses had no scientific backing, an analysis of the compounds within the pepper has revealed that it holds key health benefits.
Despite the fact the cayenne pepper is inherently hot, people have continued to use it because of the key health benefits it holds.
The pepper is rich in minerals, vitamins, and phytonutrients that are very important to the body.
Here are some of the preventive and healing properties of cayenne pepper.
The main beneficial compound of cayenne is capsaicin.
This is an alkaloid compound which gives the pepper its strong pungent character.
Experiments on rats and other mammals have suggested that capsaicin holds antibacterial, anti-carcinogenic, and anti-diabetic properties.
When used on a continuous basis, the pepper can help in reducing LDL cholesterol levels and reduction of obesity.
Eating fresh cayenne peppers may also be beneficial. While fresh, cayenne is rich in Vitamin C.
Just by consuming 100g of cayenne you will obtain about 76.4mg of the vitamin. Vitamin C is an antioxidant.
This means that it is required for what is known as collagen synthesis in the body.
This is a key process for the formation of tissues and cells in the body.
It helps in maintaining the integrity of blood vessels, bones, organs and skin.
The consumption of foods rich in Vitamin C is important in protecting your body from the formation of scurvy.
It also has antioxidative properties that are necessary for protecting the body by fighting free radicals.
Also Read: 21 Eye-Opening Emu Oil Benefits and Uses
Cayenne pepper are also rich in Vitamin-A.
In fact, it is one of the richest sources of vitamin A.
Further, this rich spice is also home to antioxidant flavonoids such as lutein, carotenes, and Zeaxanthin.
When they work together, these antioxidants help protect the body from injuries.
This is the reason why cayenne pepper is used to treat wounds and open cuts.
You can simply spray some cayenne powder over open wounds after cleaning to enjoy its healing benefits.
Cayenne Pepper Capsules
Although they are in small quantities, when cayenne pepper capsules are consumed regularly, the minerals will be helpful to your body.
Some of the minerals include iron, zinc, manganese, potassium, and selenium.
The body requires manganese as a cofactor for the antioxidant enzymes.
Selenium, on the other hand, is an antioxidant trace element that is necessary for your body to have proper heart and liver function.
In just 1000g of cayenne, you will find 2014mg of potassium, which is a whopping 47% of your daily intake requirement.
Potassium is very important to your body.
It acts as an electrolyte that helps in controlling the blood rate and blood pressure.
It is essential in countering any effects of sodium.
Cayenne is also rich in Vitamins B complex.
This includes; niacin, pyridoxine, thiamin, and riboflavin.
The consumption of B complex vitamins is very important since the body requires it to replenish the used ones.
They are important in facilitating cellular metabolism through enzymatic functions.
Cayenne Pepper Health Benefits
Cayenne pepper has been used for medical purposes for many years now.
Some of the conditions it is used to treat include heart health, muscle and joint pains and open wounds among others.
For medical purposes, you can either use cayenne pepper capsules or use cayenne paper as a food additive.
The main compound in cayenne pepper capsules is capsaicin which is the main compound in cayenne pepper.
It is used to treat various ailments.
The use of cayenne pepper capsules should only be prescribed by a doctor.
Here are some of the ways you can use cayenne as a medical supplement other than just being a spice.
Cayenne Pepper for Congestion:
Cayenne pepper helps to break down and move congested mucus that may occur as a result of allergies, flu or a cold.
The presence of capsaicin and other anti-bacterial components help in fighting infections and viruses causing such infection.
One study conducted in the U.S shows that the capsaicin may have some effect on rhinitis, which has the same symptoms as nasal congestion.
Studies also show that cayenne pepper can help in reducing congestion caused by bronchitis and help in treating sinus infections, sore throats, and laryngitis.
You can use cayenne pepper capsules for managing congestion based on your doctors prescription.
Also Read: 21 Ultimate Rosemary Essential Oil Benefits
Cayenne Pepper for Migraines:
The pepper does this by stimulating pain glands in different parts of the body, and as a result, the nerve fibers are depleted of substance, which is the nerve’s pain neurotransmitter.
This way, the brain’s attention is shifted to a different site thus lessening the perception of pain.
Various studies have shown that cayenne pepper extracts can be used to reduce pain in animals.
This explains the reason why cayenne powder has been used for centuries in treating muscle and joint pain.
Just adding a pinch of cayenne powder to your daily meals can go a long way in helping you deal with chronic pain and muscle aches.
Cayenne pepper could be used as an anti-redness tonic:
Red patches of itchy and scaly skin are often caused as a result of psoriasis.
While there is no cure for it, patients who use capsaicin creams experience less itchiness and an improved look to the affected areas. Its anti-redness properties make it a good herb for many degenerative and chronic conditions.
The pepper just like most natural herbs holds anti-inflammation properties.
This may also be useful in reducing skin conditions.
If you suffer from red patches, you can simply make cayenne pepper part of your daily diet for effective results.
You can also ask your doctor to prescribe cayenne pepper capsules.
Useful against blood clots
Cayenne pepper is useful in the reduction of atherosclerosis, enhances fibrinolytic activity and reduces the factors that contribute to the formation of blood clots.
This, in turn, results in a lower risk of heart attacks, strokes, and other related ailments.
The use of cayenne also reduces the formation of cholesterol which also is a key benefit of the heart health.
By using cayenne pepper in your daily meals, you may be keeping the doctor away as much as heart conditions are concerned.
Relief from joint pain:
Cayenne was used as a pain relieving remedy for years before the coming of modern medicine.
Even today, science has shown that cayenne’s main compound- capsaicin helps in sending chemical signals from the skin to the joint.
The anti-inflammatory effect of cayenne pepper is responsible for the controlling of joint pains and swelling.
To benefit from the pain relieving properties of cayenne pepper, simply buy any pain relieving gel that is enriched with cayenne pepper.
Tropical capsaicin is also very effective in osteoarthritis pain control.
Also Read: 25 Lavender Oil Essential Uses and Benefits
Leads to a long life
Researchers have established that people who regularly consume chili peppers experienced lower death rates as a result of cancer, heart diseases, and respiratory problems.
A study conducted on almost five hundred thousand people also indicated that those who eat spicy food are fourteen percent more likely to live longer than those who do not.
Promote general heart health:
Due to its richness in capsaicin, the use of cayenne pepper leads to a reduction in heart arrhythmias and improved blood flow to and from the heart.
The presence of anti-inflammatory compounds also leads to the proper functioning of arteries and veins hence reducing any risks of blood clots and heart attacks.
Cayenne Pepper for Wounds
Cayenne pepper has been used for centuries to treat open wounds. Due to its antibacterial properties, cayenne pepper has been proved to be effective in treating open wounds and cuts.
Cayenne pepper can be ground into a poultice which can be effectively used to treat wounds, sore spots, snake bites, and lumbago.
Currently, more research is underway to establish other effective uses it might have.
Cayenne Pepper for Detox
Cayenne is a favorite for people who like to regularly detoxify their body systems.
It induces sweating which is an essential detoxification process. Cayenne pepper increases the rate of the digestive and lymphatic systems.
It streamlines the body’s detoxification process by increasing body temperatures.
A rise in body heat results in increased metabolism rates making people who use cayenne burn more calories than those who do not. Mixed with honey and lemon juice, you would be hard-pressed to find a better morning detox tonic.
Cayenne Pepper for Digestion
Cayenne is a popular digestive aid. By stimulating the digestive tract, it increases the production of enzymes and gastric juices.
This enables the body to easily carry out food metabolism.
Cayenne pepper also triggers peristaltic motion leading to more efficient assimilation and elimination processes.
Though it is a common belief that spicy food may be responsible for stomach ulcers, studies show that capsaicin may reduce the probability of having them.
Cayenne pepper can also be used to relieve intestinal gas.
Cayenne pepper can be used as an anti-irritant. It is commonly used to treat ulcers, upset stomachs, coughs, diarrhea and sore throats.
Cayenne Pepper for Weight Loss
Multiple studies have shown that eating cayenne pepper may reduce hunger levels, make one feel full for a relatively long period and ultimately makes one eat less.
While it is not completely clear how exactly it does this, research indicates that it reduces the production of ghrelin, the hormone responsible for hunger.
According to one particular study at the Quebec based Laval University, people who took capsaicin supplements ten percent less and those who drank beverages containing the substance ate sixteen percent less.
Participants in the study also reported feeling fuller having eaten fewer calories.
Cayenne Pepper Toothpaste
When directly applied to the painful site, cayenne pepper may help to lessen the pain.
Cayenne Pepper Helps Lowers blood pressure:
With high blood pressure increasingly becoming a leading cause of death around the world, studies in animals have shown that the use of cayenne pepper does, in fact, lead to a reduction of high blood pressure.
Though human tests have yet to be confirmed, the use of cayenne pepper to regulate high blood pressure would be a welcome remedy given that more than forty percent of adults above the age of twenty-five have hypertension.
Also Read: 30 Impressive Benefits of Fish OIl
Cayenne Pepper Anti-bacterial characteristics
Cayenne pepper has been used for hundreds of years as a food preservative.
Its properties have been used to prevent food from bacterial contamination.
Cayenne Pepper fights fungal cells:
Numerous tests have indicated that CAY-1, a component of cayenne pepper can be effectively used to suppress the growth of more than fifteen different strains of fungi.
The same compound was found to be completely harmless to animal cells.
Cayenne Pepper for production of saliva:
Cayenne pepper has been found to stimulate oral glands to produce saliva.
This increases the digestion process as well as helping to maintain good oral health.
Culinary Uses of Cayenne Pepper
Cayenne pepper has plenty of culinary uses all over the world.
It is popularly used in South American, Italian and Asian cuisines.
In South Asia, fresh raw cayenne peppers are sliced and added to dishes of all type.
It is also used when dried.
Cayenne pepper is used in the preparation of chutney, pickles and chili water.
On the other hand, the cayenne powder is mostly preferred in the Mexican and American cooking.
Simply wash some raw cayenne and rinse with water to remove any residual fungicides or dirt.
If you are using the pepper while still fresh, slice it horizontally into small slices.
The slices can be mixed with vegetable salads and served alongside any meal.
When using the cayenne powder, you can add it to your meals while cooking or it can be used as an additive while serving.
The pepper will taste whether cooked or raw.
Also Read: 18 Benefits of Carnation Flower
Here are some serving tips:
There are many ways you can serve cayenne and still enjoy its health benefits.
Fresh raw cayennes are always best served as vegetables or alongside vegetables.
They are used in this way in most Asian countries.
You can mix the slices of cayenne with veggies like potato, okra, green beans, pumpkins, etc.
Chopped or ground cayenne can be used as a condiment in pepper soup, sauce, and curries.
It is also popularly used to marinate fish, poultry, and meat.
Cayenne powder is an ingredient in cajun spices and is popularly referred to as curry powder in many Asian Countries.
In south India, cayenne chilies dried under sunlight are soaked in yogurt and used as side snacks during dinners.
How to Dry cayenne pepper
When you are growing cayenne in your home, or you buy fresh ones, you need to find a way of drying and grinding them into powder.
The first step to preparing cayennes is drying them.
Just spread them on a dehydrating rack or spread the peppers in your oven on a cooking sheet and turn the temperature to about 120 degrees Fahrenheit.
Turn the peppers with a spatula every hour to promote even drying. Drying in an oven or dehydrator may take up to a day.
You can also dry the cayenne peppers outdoors if your daytime temperatures are above 85 degrees F.
Slice the large papers vertically and place them in one layer on a drying rack.
You can cover them with netting or clothing to keep the pests away. Bring the peppers indoors during the night.
You should do this for 2 to 3 days to get well-dried peppers.
The cayenne peppers can also be air dried by hanging in a dry well-ventilated room.
Once the peppers are dry, you can simply make them into cayenne powder by grinding.
You can grind using a motor and pestle or the electric coffee grinders.
However, when grinding the pepper, you should be careful that it does not get to your eyes. Cayenne pepper has a burning sensation on the eyes, nose, and mouth.
It is advisable to use gloves when preparing cayenne.
Once you have your cayenne powder, you can store it in a sealed jar. Keep in a cool, dry place for use up to 6 months.
Also Read: 15 Quinoa Recipes and Benefits
Side Effects of Cayenne Pepper
The cayenne has a pungent characteristic caused by its key compound known as capsaicin.
The hotness of cayenne is in the range of 30, 000 t0 50, 000 SHU. This means that it can be irritating to the lips, tongue and even the throat.
To reduce the irritating effect of capsaicin, you can eat some cold yogurt before using the pepper.
The yogurt helps in diluting the capsaicin concentration and hence reducing the burning sensation of the pepper.
The yogurt also helps by preventing direct contact of the pepper with the gut layers in the digestive tract.
Avoid touching cayenne with your naked hands. If you do so, wash with soap immediately after.
If you happen to touch your eyes with cayenne, you risk undergoing detrimental health effects.
In case cayenne gets in touch with any part of your body, either hands or eyes, wash with water.
Rise eyes with flowing cold water.
Do not rub, just flash water over until all the pepper is washed away.
Do not keep cayenne powder or fresh cayennes in a place where they can be accessed by children.
Cayenne pepper capsules should not be used by individuals who are on medication or pregnant mothers.
Cayenne Pepper Caution
There are certain compounds in cayenne (aflatoxins) which are usually found in old or spoiled cayenne pepper that can cause cancer.
For this reason, it is advisable to only use the cayenne powder when it is dried and stored in the right environment.
You can also decide to be making your cayenne powder by using fresh cayenne from the farm.
Also Read: 23 Flaxseed Oil Benefits Worth Knowing About
Cayenne pepper is a popular, versatile spice that is served alongside many meals.
It originated from South America and is currently used on a large scale in South America, Spanish, and South Asia cuisines.
Cayenne was used in early days to treat open wounds and joint pains in China.
Cayenne today offers plenty of medical benefits due to its composition.
Cayenne pepper is rich in capsaicin which has plenty of health benefits.
This compound is key in providing oxidation properties and hence its benefits to the human body.
Capsaicin has been proved to hold properties that reduce the cholesterol levels in the body and hence the use of cayenne pepper in treating cardiovascular conditions.
There are many ways of using cayenne including serving it alongside vegetables and salads, using cayenne powder to make soup or sauce, and in some parts of the world, cayenne is served as a snack when combined with other products.
You can make your cayenne powder at home by simply drying cayenne pepper and grinding it.
When using cayenne, you should be careful since it produces an irritating sensation on the lips, tongue, and throat.
You should not let cayenne get in contact with your eyes.