Cayenne pepper, this hot and spicy ingredient which add zest to many dishes is a member of the Capsicum family, which is commonly known as chili pepper.
The name Cayenne was attached to this pepper because it was grown in a place the bears the same name, in French Guiana, South America.
The history of the cayenne pepper is well documented and reads like the discovery of the new world; Columbus brought it first to Europe from the Caribbean Islands. Magellan is said to have brought them to Africa and Asia, places that have incorporated the pepper in their cuisine, in their rituals and in medicine.
Cayenne pepper is grown anywhere and the biggest producers today are China, Turkey, Nigeria, Spain and Mexico. Almost in all the continents of the world. It is inexpensive and at times used as a substitute to black pepper which was important from China.
Cayenne pepper is loaded with vitamin A and is a good source of vitamins B6, K, and C. As for minerals it contains manganese and an important element called Capsaicin. The hotter the pepper, the more Capsaicin it contains.
Cayenne Pepper: Health Benefits
Inflammation. The capsaicin has been studied as an effective element to combat inflammation. It is therefore a studied treatment for rheumatoid and osteoarthritis conditions. The theory behind this is that since capsaicin treats the cardiovascular system and increases blood flow, it will aid in lubricating the painful joins. Other kinds of inflammations will benefit as well.
Pain relief. A cream containing capsiacin has been proven to be affective for cluster headaches and arthritis pain. Pain management for patient suffering from diabetic neuropathy has become easier and the patients studied show relief from debilitating pain. In a double blind test on 200 psoriasis subjects, those getting the cream, not the placebo, showed reduction in occurrences and less severe lessons.
Cardiovascular system. Cayenne pepper has been shown to reduce bad cholesterol by increasing the body’s ability to fight plaque build up. Some even go further and say that cayenne can stop a heart attack in progress by opening the arteries. The famous herbalist, Dr. John Christopher, says that one teaspoon of pepper in one glass of warm water is what he uses to treat heart patients immediately when they show symptoms of a heart attack.
Congestion. All those who eat any kind of peppers from this family, knows the affects it has on opening air passages. The heat helps stimulate secretions and clear mucus. Capsaicin is similar in its molecular build to some components present in cold medicines but the pepper works much faster in clearing nose and lung congestion. Next winter, try a tea containing one spoonful of cayenne pepper and you’ll see how fast it will clear your nose.
Immune System. The high content of beta carotene serves an immune booster.
Prevent Ulcers in the Stomach. This sounds like a contraindication. In order to prevent ulcers eat spicy foods? Yes. Cayenne pepper does not cause ulcer. If anything it may help fervent it by killing the bacteria we now know causes ulcers and promote the stomach to secrete protective juices to protect the lining. Researchers theorize that the daily use of chili peppers in some traditional cuisine is the reason why those societies are not suffering as much from stomach ulcers.
Weigh Loss. Because those peppers are hot, it takes the body more energy to control them. It has been proven that chili peppers cause a significant increase thermogenesis and oxygen consumption. Some say that combining the pepper with lemon juice the the ultimate metabolism booster.
Cayenne peppers are sold fresh and dried almost in every store. You can find them in powder form and in many condiments and sauces. Adding some of it to dishes will not only make them a little more poignant but also much healthier.