Many of us have used cayenne pepper to add a little spice to our meals, but did you know that it has the power to change your health? It has been used for both food and medicine for the last 9,000 years!
Cayenne pepper can stimulate your body’s circulation and reduce acidity; it’s a powerful, spicy little pepper that offers many health benefits.
The fruit of the capsicum plant contains a chemical called capsaicin. Using capsaicin for different health ailments is more common than ever.
What Is Cayenne Pepper?
Cayenne is a shrub that 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. Capsicum is an herb, and the fruit of the capsicum plant is used to make medicine.
Cayenne pepper is typically added to food in either its natural or powdered form, and some people use it as a cream or capsule in order to take advantage of its detoxifying properties.
Cayenne pepper benefits are numerous. It’s used to help digestion, including heal upset stomach, slow intestinal gas, stop stomach pain, stop diarrhea and as a natural remedy for cramps.
It’s also used for conditions of the heart and blood vessels — including to improve poor circulation, reverse excessive blood clotting, lower high cholesterol and prevent heart disease.
When consumed, cayenne pepper has the power to relieve a toothache, seasickness, alcoholism, malaria and fever. It’s also used to help people who have difficulty swallowing.
When applied topically, cayenne pepper benefits the skin, too.
Currently, it’s being studied to test its ability to reduce pain sensations when applied to the skin, and research indicates that it would be effective as a remedy for headaches (including migraines), potential solution for osteoarthritis and other painful conditions.
Many of these cayenne pepper benefits are possible because of the plant’s active compound capsaicin. This molecule works by binding to a vanilloid receptor known as TRPV1, which triggers a mild inflammatory reaction that’s meant to repair injured cells.
1. Helps 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. Research suggests that 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.
2. 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 headache.
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.
With cayenne compounds, you’re basically tricking your body to “feel pain” somewhere else, so that the head is no longer the main focus for pain chemicals.
3. 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.
Studies indicate that the capsaicin in cayenne pepper helps to clear away artery-narrowing lipid deposits, and dilates arteries and blood vessels to clear away clots.
4. Provides Detox Support
Cayenne pepper benefits include its ability to stimulate circulation and eliminate acidity.
According to research published in Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition, 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.
Research conducted in the Netherlands suggests that cayenne pepper also increases body temperature and boosts your metabolism.