Cayenne pepper has been used for a variety of ailments including indigestion, confusion, tremors, gout, fever, flatulence, sore throat, hemorrhoids, menorrhagia in women, nausea, tonsillitis, scarlet fever, and diphtheria.[1, 2] Let’s take a look at some of the best health benefits cayenne pepper has to offer.
The Health Benefits of Cayenne Pepper
1. Anti-Irritant Properties
Irritation can happen in the body for any number of reasons — diet, illness, and environmental toxins just to list a few. Ironically, cayenne can help “put out the fire” and ease an upset stomach, sore throats, coughs, and occasional diarrhea.
2. Clears Congestion
Suffering from stuffed up sinuses due to seasonal illness or allergies? Cayenne pepper aids in breaking up and moving congested mucus.
3. Resists Harmful Organisms
When it comes to defense against harmful organisms, cayenne is a proverbial surgical flame thrower. In vitro tests have found that CAY-1, a compound found in cayenne peppers, effectively suppressed the development of 16 different fungal strains, while remaining completely non-toxic to animal cells.
4. Headache Remedy
This may be related to the pepper’s ability to stimulate a pain response in a different area of the body, thus diverting the brain’s attention to the new site. Following this initial pain reaction, the nerve fibers have a depleted substance P (the nerve’s pain chemical), and the perception of pain is lessened.
5. Digestive Aid
Cayenne is a well-known digestive aid. It stimulates the digestive tract, increasing the flow of enzyme production and gastric juices. This aids the body’s ability to metabolize food (and toxins). Cayenne pepper is also helpful for relieving intestinal gas. It stimulates intestinal peristaltic motion, aiding in both assimilation and elimination.
6. Anti-Redness Properties
Many health ailments result in swelling and redness throughout the body. Cayenne’s ability to soothe systemic cellular distress make it a great herb for many occasional conditions.
7. Helps Produce Saliva
Cayenne stimulates the production of saliva, an important component of digestion and maintaining optimal oral health.
8. Promotes Cardiovascular Health
Cayenne pepper helps reduce atherosclerosis, encourages fibrinolytic activity, and prevents factors that lead to the formation of blood clots, all of which can help reduce the risk of heart attack or stroke.
9. Detox Support
Cayenne is a known circulatory stimulant. It increases the pulse of our lymphatic and digestive rhythms. By heating the body, the natural process of detoxification is streamlined. Cayenne also induces sweating — another important process of detoxification. Combined with lemon juice and honey, cayenne tea is an excellent morning beverage for total body detox.
10. Soothes Occasional Joint Discomfort
Extremely high in a substance called capsaicin, cayenne pepper sends chemical messengers from the skin into the joint, offering relief for occasional joint discomfort. For this reason, many people with stiff, sore joints use creams and lotion that contain cayenne.
11. Helps Preserve Food
Cayenne is an excellent preservative and has been used traditionally to prevent food contamination from bacteria.[10, 11]
12. Promotes Longevity
A study using data collected from almost half a million people found that those who ate spicy foods had a 14% chance of living longer than those that didn’t. Researchers also found that regular consumption of chili peppers aligned with reduced rates of death from respiratory disease, heart concerns, cancer.[12, 13]
13. Encourages Healthy Body Weight
Scientists at Laval University in Quebec found that participants who took cayenne pepper for breakfast were found to have less appetite, leading to less caloric intake throughout the day. Cayenne is also a great metabolic booster and aids the body in burning excess fat.
14. Promotes Heart Health
Animal studies found that capsaicin reduced serious heart arrhythmias and improved cardiac blood flow.
15. Remedy for Toothache
When applied directly to the site, cayenne may help ease the discomfort associated with a sore tooth.
16. Topical Remedy
As a poultice, cayenne has been used to treat snake bites, rheumatism, sores, wounds, and lumbago or lower back discomfort. More research is needed to determine it’s effectiveness.
17. Tastes Great!
This one is purely subjective, and those with sensitive palates may disagree, but many people find that a dash cayenne can add a little delicious zest to otherwise bland food.
Do you enjoy cayenne? Have you noticed any benefits from adding it to your diet? Leave a comment below and share your experience with us.