The 18 Surprising Health Benefits of Cayenne Pepper

Photo credit: bigstock

Photo credit: bigstock

Many countries, especially in South America and China, have a long history of using cayenne pepper both in foods and as medicine. This powerful compound can be used for cleansing and detoxing, such as the Master Cleanse, which uses this spice to neutralize acidity and stimulate blood circulation.

You can cayenne pepper for a wide variety of problems including tremors, gout, sore throats, hemorrhoids, nausea, heartburn, fever, even for diphtheria,

Take a look at the top 18 health benefits of cayenne pepper that just might shock you.

 

1.  Treats cluster headaches

Capsaicin, the active ingredient in cayenne pepper, desensitizes the sensory neurons. According to the authors of a study published in Cephalalgia, found that a topical application of capsaicin could possibly treat those who suffer from cluster headaches.

 

2. Helps with psoriasis

A study, which was published in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, conducted a double blind study that evaluated a topical application of capsaicin for the treatment of psoriasis. It showed that there was a significant improvement in itching and the other bothersome symptoms that come with psoriasis.

 

3. Anti-irritant compounds

The complete opposite of what you might think, but cayenne pepper can actually ease stomach ulcers, nagging coughs, diarrhea, sore throats, and upset stomachs.

 

4.  Topical remedy for various ailments

Used as a poultice, cayenne can treat open sores, lumbago, snake bites, and rheumatism.

 

5.  Toothache cure

Well, although it won’t make a cavity disappear, it will help stop the pain and guard against gum disease.

 

6. Anti-Viral

Cayenne pepper can help to break up and move mucus that has become congested in the lungs, bronchial tubes, sinuses, and throats. Once mucus leaves the body, many of the germs go with it and relief will soon follow.

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weight scale

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7. Anti-fungal

One study shows that cayenne pepper can prevent fungal pathogens collectotrichum and phomopsis from forming.

 

8. Supports weight loss efforts

In one study, subjects that took some cayenne pepper for breakfast said that they had less appetite during the day, which lead to a decrease in caloric intake. Cayenne pepper also boosts the metabolism, which helps the body burn more fat. This study was conducted in Quebec at the Laval University.

 

9.  Promotes cardiovascular health

Cayenne balances the body’s cholesterol and triglyceride levels while helping to normalize blood pressure levels.

 

10. Prevents migraine headaches

Cayenne pepper stimulates a pain response in different areas of the body, which send the brains pain signals to another location. After their initial pain reaction, nerve fibers are depleted and your overall perception of pain should be less.

 

11. Anti-allergen

Cayenne pepper is a natural anti-allergen that, with regular use during allergy season, can help relieve allergies. Read more about other natural allergy remedies that work.

 

12. Anti-bacterial

Cayenne has been used for ages as a preservative and has been used to prevent food contamination from bacteria for hundreds of years.

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13. Relief from joint pain

The capsaicin in cayenne peppers acts as a temporary pain reliever when applied topically. This sends signals from the skin to the joint, which can relieve joint pain.

 

14. Detox

Well known from the Master Cleanse program, this pepper is a circulatory stimulant. Cayenne increases the pulse of the digestive system and the lymph system. Cayenne also causes us to remove toxins through sweat. Combining honey, lemon juice, and cayenne tea is a great way to start a total body detox in the morning.

 

15. Helps prevent blood clots

For reducing atherosclerosis, and encouraging fibrinolytic activity, you can’t beat cayenne pepper. Preventing blood clots can help to reduce your chances of a stroke or heart attack.

 

16. Aids healthy digestion

Well-known for its ability to improve digestion, cayenne stimulates the digestive tract by increasing the flow of gastric juices and the production of enzymes. Cayenne pepper is also great for relieving gas.

 

17. Encourages saliva flow

As you can imagine, cayenne stimulates the body’s production of saliva, which is important for digestion, as well as better oral health.

 

18.  Anti-cancer agent

Loma Linda University in California, conducted a study that found cayenne pepper can help stop lung cancer in those who smoke, along with lung tumors. Other studies have found that cayenne resists the formation of liver tumors as well. This might be related to the high levels of capsaicin found in cayenne, but scientists are not sure of the actual reason.

Always remember to wash your hands right after using cayenne and never touch your face, especially your eyes, after using. You will experience some serious burning should you forget this simple advice.

Also, if you take ACE inhibitors, like Elaroptril or Captopril, you should avoid using cayenne pepper as this increases coughing and stomach acid.

Sources:

P.C. Agarwal, Usha Dev, Baleshwar Singh, Indra Rani, Dinesh Chand, R.K. Khetarpal. Seed-borne fungi identified from exotic pepper (Capsicum spp.) germplasm samples introduced during 1976–2005. PGR Newsletter – Bioversity. issue. 149, pp.39-42.

Urashima M, Segawa T, Okazaki M, Kurihara M, Wada Y, Ida H. Randomized trial of vitamin D supplementation to prevent seasonal influenza A in schoolchildren. Am J Clin Nutr. 2010 May;91(5):1255-60. doi: 10.3945/ajcn.2009.29094. Epub 2010 Mar 10.

Bmj.com