Cayenne pepper has been used in China and in North and South America for centuries for its healing powers. Cayenne pepper can be used internally or externally for a variety of health benefits. It is a counter-irritant, which makes it beneficial for many kinds of diseases involved in pain.
1. Cayenne Pepper as an Anti-Irritant. Cayenne pepper is taken orally to fight various gastrointestinal and respiratory diseases, such as sore throats, spasmodic cough, upset stomach, peptic ulcer disease, and diarrhea. In such cases, the cayenne pepper is taken internally as a supplement or sprinkled on food.
2. Cayenne pepper as anti-cold and anti-flu agent. It turns out that cayenne pepper is great for breaking up and allowing for the movement of congested mucus in the lungs and bronchial tree. Once broken up, the mucus can better be coughed up and removed from the body, easing cold and flu symptoms.
3. Cayenne pepper as an anti-fungal agent. Cayenne pepper, in one study, showed that it could keep away the growth of the fungal agents known as collectotrichum and phomopsis. This was done as an in vitro study, meaning that it wasn't tested in the human body but in a test tube or Petri dish.
4. Prevention against migraine headaches. Cayenne pepper has the ability to stimulate pain at a different area of the body. What this means is that it can divert attention away from the site of an initial pain source. The nerve fibers eventually deplete substance P, which is the chemical ultimately responsible for the sensation of pain. This reduces a person's perception of pain wherever substance P is depleted.
5. Cayenne Pepper as a digestive aid. Cayenne pepper is great for digestion. It stimulates the activity of the digestive tract so that enzymes flow more easily and the gastric juices are enhanced. This results in the ability of the GI tract to metabolize both toxins and foods in the body. Cayenne pepper is also responsible for lessening the amount of intestinal gas. In that way, it increases the peristalsis of the large and small intestines so that gas can not build up, causing bloating and flatulence.
6. Cayenne pepper helps enhance saliva production. It turns out that cayenne pepper can make you salivate more. Saliva is important not only in digestion but it keeps your mouth from drying out so that you don't suffer from dental caries (cavities).
7. Cayenne pepper helps prevent blood clots. The use of cayenne pepper has been found to lessen the degree of atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries). It also enhances fibrinolytic activity so that it prevents those things that lead to the making of a blood clot. This is excellent for the heart in that it can prevent the formation of a stroke or heart attack.
8. Cayenne pepper is good for detoxification. Cayenne pepper helps and stimulates the circulatory system enhance the rhythm of the gastrointestinal system and lymph system. By allowing the body to heat up from the pepper, it streamlines the normal processes of detoxification of the body. It also enhances sweating so that we can relieve toxins through the action of sweating. It is often used along with honey and lemon juice, making it an excellent detoxifier when taken orally in the morning.
9. Cayenne pepper relieves joint pain. Cayenne pepper is a great source of capsaicin, which is a substance that depletes substance P in the body, thus relieving pain. For arthritis, capsaicin cream is applied to the affected joints where it gradually lessens substance P over the course of a few weeks. It doesn't work immediately for joint pain but only works after substance P is depleted.
10. Cayenne Pepper as an Anti-cancer agent. Cayenne pepper has been found in one study to prevent lung cancer in people who smoke. It may be related to the fact that cayenne pepper has a great deal of capsaicin in it, which means that it has the ability to reduce the growth and development of lung tumors caused by tobacco. Similar studies have shown that cayenne pepper has effectiveness against tumors of the liver.
There is evidence that cayenne pepper is good as an anti-bacterial agent and has been used in traditional folk circles as a remedy to prevent the bacterial contamination of different kinds of food.
In addition, cayenne pepper seemed to decrease appetite in people who ate cayenne pepper in the morning as a part of breakfast. It seems to boost the metabolism so that fuel is burned instead of turning into fat.