17 Health Benefits of Cayenne Pepper

Dr. Group
by Dr. Edward Group DC, NP, DACBN, DCBCN, DABFM
Published on , Last Updated on

Cayenne pepper has been used for a variety of ailments such as heartburn and fever.

Many societies, especially those of the Americas and China, have a history of using cayenne pepper therapeutically. A powerful compound with many uses, cayenne pepper is currently gaining buzz for cleansing and detoxifying regimes such as the Master Cleanse, which uses the spice to stimulate circulation and neutralize acidity.

The Health Benefits of Cayenne Pepper

Cayenne pepper has been used for a variety of ailments including heartburn, delirium, tremors, gout, paralysis, fever, dyspepsia, atonic dyspepsia, 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.

1. Anti-Irritant Properties

Cayenne has the ability to ease upset stomach, ulcers, sore throats, spasmodic and irritating coughs, and diarrhea.[3]

2. Clears Congestion

Suffering from stuffed up sinuses due to cold, flu, or allergies? Cayenne pepper aids in breaking up and moving congested mucus.[4]

3. Anti-Fungal Properties

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.[5]

4. Migraine Headache Prevention

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.[6]

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.[7]

6. Anti-Redness Properties

Cayenne’s properties make it a great herb for many chronic and degenerative conditions.[3]

7. Helps Produce Saliva

Cayenne stimulates the production of saliva, an important component of digestion and maintaining optimal oral health.[8]

8. Useful for Blood Clots

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 chances of a heart attack or stroke.[6]

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.[2]

10. Joint Pain Relief

Extremely high in a substance called capsaicin, cayenne pepper sends chemical messengers from the skin into the joint, offering relief for joint pain.[9]

11. Anti-Bacterial Properties

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 people who eat spicy foods have a 14% chance of living longer than those that don’t. Researchers also found that regular consumption of chili peppers aligned with reduced rates of death from respiratory disease, heart problems, cancer.[12, 13]

13. Supports Weight Loss

Scientists at the 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.[9]

14. Promotes Heart Health

Animal studies found that capsaicin reduced serious heart arrhythmias and improved cardiac blood flow.[6]

15. Remedy for Toothache

When applied directly to the site, cayenne may help ease pain of a sore tooth.[8]

16. Topical Remedy

As a poultice, cayenne has been used to treat snake bites, rheumatism, sores, wounds, and lumbago. More research is needed to determine it’s effectiveness.[8]

17. Cayenne 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.

References (13)
  1. "Astounding Cayenne." Pilgrims Rest, Andrews University, Jan. 2011. Accessed 27 Feb. 2017.
  2. "Herbal Extracts." Mercer.Edu, Mercer University. Accessed 27 Feb. 2017.
  3. Jolayemi, A.T., and JAO Ojewole. "Comparative Anti-Inflammatory Properties of Capsaicin and Ethyl-aAcetate Extract of Capsicum Frutescens Linn [Solanaceae] in Rats." African Health Sciences 13.2 (2013): 357–361. PMC. Web. 27 Feb. 2017.
  4. Wongvibulsin, Shannon. "A Guide to Natural Ways to Alleviate Allergy and Sinusitis Symptoms." Explore Integrative Medicine, UCLA Health, 2014. Accessed 27 Feb. 2017.
  5. Renault, S., et al. "CAY-1, a Novel Antifungal Compound from Cayenne Pepper.” Medical Mycology., vol. 41, no. 1, 12 Mar. 2003, pp. 75–81. Accessed 27 Feb. 2017.
  6. Presser, Art. "Smart Supplementation - Cayenne." Huntington College of Health Sciences, 2009.
  7. "Spices Exotic Flavors & Medicines Chile Pepper." History & Special Collections UCLA Louise M. Darling Biomedical Library, 2002. Accessed 27 Feb. 2017.
  8. "Cayenne." University of Utah Health Library, University of Utah, 2017. Accessed 27 Feb. 2017.
  9. Ehrlich, Stephen. "Cayenne." University of Maryland Medical Center, University of Maryland, 22 June 2015. Accessed 27 Feb. 2017.
  10. Wahba, N.M., et al. "Antimicrobial Effects of Pepper, Parsley, and Dill and Their Roles in the Microbiological Quality Enhancement of Traditional Egyptian Kareish Cheese." Foodborne Pathogens and Disease., vol. 7, no. 4, 19 Nov. 2009, pp. 411–8. Accessed 27 Feb. 2017.
  11. Omolo, Morrine A., et al. "Antimicrobial Properties of Chili Peppers." Journal of Infectious Diseases and Therapy, vol. 02, no. 04, 2014. Accessed 27 Feb. 2017.
  12. "Frequent Spicy Food Consumption Linked with Longer Life." Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, The President and Fellows of Harvard College, 5 Aug. 2015. Accessed 27 Feb. 2017.
  13. Lv, Jun, et al. "Consumption of Spicy Foods and Total and Cause Specific Mortality: Population Based Cohort Study." The BMJ 351 (2015): h3942. PMC. Web. 27 Feb. 2017.

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