In an earlier post, I outlined the benefits of the spice turmeric. Another healing spice is cayenne. Yes hot and spicy cayenne pepper is a powerful anti-inflammatory and can help relieve pain, prevent ulcers, aid in cardiovascular health and relieve congestion. It is also an excellent source of vitamin A.
Cayenne is a member of the Capsicum family of vegetables, also known as chili peppers. The substance in cayenne and other chili peppers that gives them their “hotness” is capsaicin. The hotter the pepper, the more capsaicin it contains. Capsaicin has been shown to reduce inflammation and pain associated with arthritis, cluster headaches and psoriasis (2)
Research has shown that Cayenne and other red chili peppers have been shown to reduce cholesterol and triglyceride levels (2), and to prevent the formation of blood clots (1). Cultures who use cayenne and hot peppers regularly in their cooking have a much lower rate of heart attack, stroke and pulmonary embolism.
The Capsaicin in cayenne also helps drain nasal passages and clear congestion. It is recommended to drink a tea made of hot water and cayenne to reduce symptoms of a cold or flu!
Cayenne is also high in vitamin A. (two teaspoons of cayenne pepper provide 47% of the daily value for vitamin A). Vitamin A helps protect the body from infections.
Cayenne is good for digestion. It stimulates the flow of enzyme production and gastric juices, aiding the body’s ability to metabolize the food. It has been used to relieve intestinal gas as it stimulates intestinal peristaltic motion, aiding in both assimilation and elimination. (1)
Believe it or not, cayenne is associated with a reduced risk of stomach ulcers. Rather than cause ulcers, cayenne may help prevent ulcers by killing bacteria, and stimulating the cells lining the stomach to secrete protective buffering juices that prevent ulcer formation.
Lastly, cayenne helps boost metabolism, aiding in weight loss.