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Cayenne Pepper Health Benefits and Uses

Cayenne pepper (also called cow-horn pepper, guinea spice, bird pepper, aleva, and red pepper) has so many health benefits that it is hard to list them all.

When people generally think of cayenne pepper, they basically think of the hot spicy plant that we use in many dishes. But, this little spicy pepper is loaded with nutrients and has a number of health benefits.

Now, just about everyone knows what too much cayenne pepper can do. Most people have experienced the unpleasantness that comes from adding just a bit too much of it to their food. Not to speak of handling cayenne peppers and then mistakenly touching the eyes or other delicate body parts. Ouch! Yet, despite all the burn that cayenne pepper provides, there are plenty of health benefits inside this hot pepper.

It is said that Christopher Columbus brought cayenne pepper back from the New World when he returned to Europe. Traditionally, cayenne pepper was cultivated in tropical climates, although, it can also be grown in temperate ones.

Besides its various culinary uses, cayenne pepper has been used to treat a variety of ailments, including diarrhea, excess stomach gas, asthma, and toothache.[1]

Research shows that the administration of cayenne and isoflavones promotes hair growth. [ap] This is one of the lesser known health benefits of cayenne pepper.

Cayenne is very high in Vitamin C and Vitamin A. In fact, ordinary paprika is a form of cayenne. It is actually the mildest form of cayenne, while cayenne pepper from Sierra Leone in Africa is said to be the strongest and most medicinal. However, paprika has the highest Vitamin C content among all forms of cayenne. [1]

Cayenne pepper contains niacin, iron, and potassium. Just add those nutrients to the list of health benefits of cayenne pepper, and you’ll start to see how beneficial this little plant really is.

Capsaicin is the active ingredient found in cayenne, and if you can’t tolerate the heat from actually eating cayenne, you can just get the capsaicin from NOW Cayenne 500 mg Veg Capsules.

If you wish to buy ground cayenne in bulk (the cheapest way by far), we recommend Starwest Organic Ground Cayenne Powder.

Many people are surprised to learn that in spite of the fact that cayenne is hard on the taste buds, it is very easy on the stomach.

That is one of the most pleasant health benefits of cayenne pepper. In fact, cayenne is traditionally used to treat digestive upsets. Herbalists throughout time have used it for fever, to cure bad moods, and as an internal disinfectant.

Other health benefits of cayenne pepper include treating the common cold, sore throats, hangovers and digestion disorders. Cayenne pepper stimulates the production of saliva and gastric juices. In vitro studies have shown that cayenne pepper has anti-fungal properties. [2]

Another benefit of cayenne pepper are indicated in studies that show that a topical application may reduce back pain. Other research has shown that it reduces plasma glucose levels in patients with type II diabetes.[4]

Sure, there are also topical health benefits of cayenne pepper. Externally, cayenne pepper can be used on the skin to warm cold skin. It is also used as a poultice for sore joints. However, watch out for excessive skin contact, as too much can cause blistering and will irritate the skin.

Lemon Cayenne Detox Drink

This is a popular drink which often goes around in diet circles.

Because cayenne pepper consumption has been shown to decrease appetite and food intake, it is being added to detox and weight loss juices. There are also many other health benefits of cayenne pepper and benefits of lemon juice so all together this is a very beneficial beverage.


Mix 1/4 tsp. of cayenne pepper with the juice of 1/2 lemon in 4-8 oz. of water. That’s it. Simple and fast.

You can also add a bit of honey for flavor if you so desire. Do be careful not to take too much cayenne and it’s probably better not to drink this on an empty stomach or right after exercising. Also make sure to check out another nice juice combo with cayenne pepper for anemia.

Safety Information

Master cleansing juice! It was prepared using three lemons and equal part of grade-b maple syrup, 1/4t cayenne pepper, 1/8t sea salt. Courtesy of fo.ol

Don’t take too much cayenne internally. Excessive amounts can cause severe stomach upset or kidney damage.

Don’t take cayenne if you have ulcers or chronic bowel disease.

Don’t take cayenne on an empty stomach as it may irritate the stomach.

Don’t use topically near the eyes or on broken skin.

Moderation is especially important in the consumption and use of cayenne. Don’t take cayenne if you have anal fissures, as it can make them worse.

If you are breastfeeding, cayenne has a plant safety rating of ‘B’. May not be appropriate for self-use by some individuals or may cause adverse effects if misused. Seek reliable safety and dose information.

Cayenne Pepper Side Effects

The biggest cayenne pepper side effects are the burning taste and sensation in your mouth. And, if you eat too much of it, cayenne can burn on its way back out again too! Eating too much can cause digestive issues to do be careful. Moderation is key. Furthermore, people who are allergic to kiwi, bananas, chestnut and avocado may also be allergic to cayenne.

Some studies link capsaicin to stomach upsets, as well as possible kidney and liver damage. It is also claimed that capsaicin may increase the stomach acidity. So, make sure to consult with your doctor if you have impaired kidneys and liver function. Capsaicin also may interfere with the effects of some blood-thinning drugs.

Health Benefits of Cayenne Pepper

Home Remedy for Arthritis

Cayenne is a very effective remedy for arthritis. Rub hot pepper cream on the affected area, just be sure to wash you hands well after doing this. You do not want to transfer hot pepper cream to more delicate and sensitive body parts or open wounds. (Also check out this post about drinks to avoid if you have arthritis)

Home Remedy for Asthma

During attacks of asthma, add 1/4 tsp of cayenne pepper to your tea. Cayenne dilates the airways and improves circulation.

Natural Cold Remedy

Cayenne Powder clears your sinuses, so spicy food might be just the thing to feed you cold! Or, you can take Cayenne Capsules.

Diabetes Natural Cure

Hot is the keyword here. Australian researchers did a study whereby they added a bit more than 3 tablespoons of cayenne chili pepper to the daily meals of overweight participants. Doing so, they lowered blood sugar spikes and evened insulin levels. [3] Please note that three tablespoons is a lot of chili peppers.


Is Cayenne the Same as Chilli Powder?

No, they are slightly different.

They are all peppers, but, e.g., paprika is mildest, chili powder (as a mix of different paprika types) is in the middle, and cayenne is the hottest.

Can Cayenne Raise Blood Pressure?

No, quite the opposite. It expands the blood vessels and decreases blood pressure in a natural way.

Can Cayenne Hurt Dogs?

As a pepper variety, cayenne is not toxic to dogs, but will irritate dog’s eyes, throat, and nose. It may cause problems when ingested as it upsets the stomach. Because of these properties, cayenne may be used as a dog repellent.

Is Cayenne Good for Inflammation?

Cayenne peppers and hot peppers contain capsaicinoids, which are exactly the compounds that give them their anti-inflammatory properties.

Is Cayenne Good For Dizziness?

Yes, it is. It is among the top 5 home remedies for vertigo. Just boil some water with added cayenne pepper in it, and drink it whenever you feel lightheadedness.

Is Cayenne Good for Your Hair? 

Cayenne helps maintain healthy hair. Due to the capsaicin compound present in cayenne, the hair growth processes are stimulated, blood circulation around the hair follicles improved, and the dormant hair follicles are made active again. It is recommended both topical and internal use of cayenne.

Is Cayenne Good for Toothaches?

Coming back to the fact that cayenne pepper has quite a bit capsaicin, it can be used to relieve some of the most stubborn toothaches. You would have to mix the pepper with a bit of water to make it into a paste. Then, use a cotton absorbent pad to apply it to the painful area.


[1] Hoffman, Ronald and Fox, Barry. Alternative Cures that Really Work Holtzbrinck Publishers. New York, New York. 2006.


[3] Old Fashioned-Cures and Proven Home Remedies That Lower Your Cholesterol and Blood Pressure, Improve Your Memory and Keep Diabetes and Arthritis Under Control. Peachtree City, GA: FC&A; Medical Publishing,2008.


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