16 Feb 2010

Cayenne Pepper

Cayenne Pepper is not just a spice to add zip to your food, it is nutritious fruit and has many excellent health benefits. Also known as Guinea pepper and Bird Pepper. It is not known exactly where the the plant originated and is said to have originally been brought to Europe by Columbus from the Americas and it is also said to have been brought to Britain from India around the same time.

Nutritionally cayenne is an excellent source of vitamin A (beta-carotene), contains good amounts of vitamins B6, C, E and K, potassium, lutein, fibre and manganese.  It's hot and spicy taste comes from it's main active ingredient Capsaicin.

Capsaicin has pain relieving properties. Therefore cayenne in a cream/salve, applied topically to the skin, gives relief to those suffering from conditions like arthritis, stiff neck, shingles, herpes zoster, neuralgia and psoriasis. Added to water it is an excellent gargle to cure sore throats, and as a tea it helps clear mucus when suffering from conditions like colds and 'flu and also relives candida. It's high beta-carotene content helps boost the immune system due to it's excellent anti-oxidant properties.

Ayurvedic and Chinese medicine recommends cayenne for proper digestion as it stimulates the flow of stomach secretions and saliva. A great Winter tip to warm up cold feet, is to sprinkle a bit of cayenne pepper into your socks. It will warm your toes by increasing circulation and improving blood flow.

In Victorian times cayenne was used for alopecia (hair loss). The scalp was massaged with a mixture of cayenne pepper and onion juice. This probably worked by increasing the blood circulation to the scalp which in turn nourished the hair follicles and triggered growth.

Studies are ongoing on the fact that cayenne could possibly prevent heart attacks. It helps to dissolve fibrin which causes platelets to stick together and the forming of blood clots and it also reduces triglyceride levels. For more info on cayenne's amazing healing properties see the writings of the late Dr. Christopher, Master Herbalist and Naturopath.

NOTE: Like with all other spices and herbs, if you are taking any medication or pregnant, check with your Pharmacist/Medical Practitioner before taking cayenne pepper. Excessive consumption of cayenne, like other hot spices, could cause uncomfortable burning sensations to mouth, stomach and lower colon.

Organic cayenne pepper can be purchased as a dried whole fruit, crushed as red pepper flakes or as a powder. Store in a sealed glass jar in a cool area away from sunlight. In the kitchen it is a useful ingredient for your Thai, Cajun and Mexican dishes. It can also be used to spice up any other meal especially beans, added to cocoa to add that little extra zip, and mixed with lemon juice and sprinkled on greens. It will aid digestion and prevent gas. Enjoy!


Ginger Orange Cayenne Warming Foot Scrub
From Make Your Cosmetics  Submitted by IBN President Donna Maria

1/4 cup sugar (white or brown)
1/4 cup sweet almond oil
6 drops orange essential oil
1 drop ginger essential oil
1 level tsp. powdered cayenne pepper

In a plastic bowl, mix together the sugar and oil. Add the essential oil and stir.  Add the cayenne pepper last and stir well to mix. To use, sit comfortably in the tub or over a pan of water and/or a large towel to catch the sugar scrub as it is applied. Scoop up a handful of the scrub for each foot and massage vigorously yet with care over heels, ankles, toes, arches and the balls of your feet. Be sure to scrub any rough areas especially well.

Cayenne Lemonade Recipe #124893
From Recipe Zaar
The zing of the pepper actually heightens the sweetness and fresh lemon flavour.

1 cup fresh lemon juice (about 4-6 lemons)
1 cup pure maple syrup (NOT imitation)
4 cups water
1/8-1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper

Stir together all ingredients, and serve over ice.

Cajun Spice Seasoning Mix

2 tsps ground cayenne pepper
2 tsps ground black pepper
2 tsps paprika
2 tsps onion powder
2 tsps garlic powder
2 tsps Himalayan or sea salt

Mix together and store in sealed glass jar in a cool spot out of the sunlight.


Marion said...

Wow, this is really an amazing spice! I love the idea of putting cayenne in would be a boon if that worked. I'll let you know!

Erik said...

You might mention that the cayenne lemonade is a strong liver detoxifier. It might catch a few people by surprise. :)

Jackie said...

Yes, as Erik mentions, cayenne lemonade is great for a liver detox :)

Princess Haiku said...

Great post and pepper oil is really healthy. Take care.

Robert said...

Very interesting blog! Don't know why I didn't investigate it before. I'll be back for more...

fra said...

There is a www.Accademia del pepperoncino in Italy.It is in italian but you might have fun translating all the recipes and stuff they have for pepperoncino.ciao from Romecloe