Named after the city of Cayenne in French Guiana, this spice has been used for hundreds of years in the fields of herbology and medicine. Many herbologists believe it to be the most powerful of all the herbal remedies, for its effects on the circulatory system and heart.
Despite its name from French Guiana, and in spite of being a popular ingredient in Chinese Szechuan food, Cayenne pepper actually originates from Central America. The ground Cayenne pepper is still a popular herbal remedy in that area, providing relief from a variety of ailments.
The Cayenne pepper is similar to a jalapeño and is a member of the nightshade family. It is an antioxidant and a great source of Vitamins A, B & C, plus organic calcium and potassium. To make the powder, the red Cayenne fruit are dried and ground finely.
Here’s an example of the miraculous effects that Cayenne has had on the heart and circulatory system. There are stories of heart attack victims being pronounced dead, then being revived by a dose of Cayenne extract. While this is no substitute for CPR or a good doctor, it shows the power that many believe Cayenne Pepper holds over the body.
Cayenne has long been a popular cure for gastro-intestinal problems, including cramps gas and ulcers. Further up the body, gargling with a Cayenne solution will relieve the pain of a sore throat.
Applied externally, Cayenne can act as a counterirritant to the pain of arthritis. Essentially, this means that rubbing cayenne on the affected area causes a mild irritation, which in turn ‘distracts’ the nerves from the more severe arthritic pain. Many elderly arthritis sufferers keep some Cayenne paste handy in the winter.
One of Cayenne’s most interesting properties is as a catalyst for other herbal remedies, increasing their effectiveness when added to the solution. Its effect on the circulatory system also serves to boost your metabolism and increase energy levels.
For many of us, the most familiar sight of a Cayenne Pepper comes in the form of a plate of Chinese food. The Szechuan region in particular uses a great deal of whole Cayenne Peppers. In its ground form, Italian and Mexican food also use it a great deal.
Cayenne Pepper is used in herbology exclusively as a powder. The whole pepper is only used in cuisine.