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Cayenne pepper: discovery

Cayenne pepper, also known as Capsicum annuum, is a hot spice plant that originally comes from Central and South America. The indigenous people of these regions used it as a food and a remedy thousands of years ago. Christopher Columbus brought the plant to Europe in the 15th century, where it quickly gained popularity. Today, it is known and appreciated worldwide, both in the kitchen and in natural medicine.

Dosage forms and dosage

Cayenne pepper can be consumed in various forms:

  • Fresh: the fresh pods can be chopped and used in dishes.
  • Dried: Dried pods can be ground and used as a powder.
  • Capsules: Cayenne pepper capsules are a popular form of dietary supplement, especially for people who do not like the hot flavor.
  • Tincture: a liquid form obtained from the plant.
  • Ointments and creams: External application, especially for joint pain.

The dosage varies depending on the form and purpose of the application. In general, it is recommended to start with low doses and gradually increase them. For capsules, the recommended dose is often 500 mg to 1 g per day. When used as a spice, 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon per meal should be sufficient.

Healing properties of cayenne pepper

It is known for its health-promoting properties and can be helpful in various diseases:

  • Pain relief: the capsaicin it contains acts as a natural painkiller by reducing substance P, a neurotransmitter that sends pain signals to the brain.
    It stimulates digestion, increases the production of gastric acid and promotes blood flow in the digestive tract.
  • Cardiovascular health: It can help to lower blood pressure and improve blood circulation. It also reduces the risk of blood clots.
  • Weight loss: By stimulating the metabolism, it helps to burn calories more efficiently.
  • Antimicrobial properties: It also has antibacterial properties that can help fight infections.

Effect on the body

The capsaicin contained in cayenne pepper binds to certain receptors in the nerve cells that are responsible for the sensation of pain. This leads to an initial sensation of pain, followed by a decrease in the intensity of the pain due to the exhaustion of substance P. In addition, capsaicin promotes the release of endorphins, which also help to relieve pain.

When should cayenne pepper be taken?

It can be taken as a daily food supplement or as needed, for example, for pain or digestive problems. It is particularly useful

  • Before training: to speed up the metabolism and stimulate fat burning.
  • For digestive problems: to stimulate the digestive juices and improve nutrient absorption.
  • In cold weather: to improve blood circulation and warm the body.

Contraindications: Who should avoid cayenne pepper?

Certain people are advised against taking it:

  • Pregnant and breastfeeding women: due to the strong effect on the body.
  • People with gastrointestinal problems: such as stomach ulcers or irritable bowel syndrome, as the hot pepper can worsen the symptoms.
  • People with sensitive skin: should use creams containing capsaicin with caution to avoid skin irritation.

Food supplements and medicinal plants

Cayenne pepper can be supplemented with various food supplements and medicinal plants:

  • Ginger: aids digestion and relieves nausea.
  • Turmeric: has anti-inflammatory properties that can help the effect.
  • Garlic: Contributes to heart health and enhances the antimicrobial properties.
  • Omega-3 fatty acids: Support heart health and can be taken with cayenne pepper to improve blood circulation.

Foods with a lot of cayenne pepper

It can be found in many foods and cuisines around the world:

  • Mexican cuisine: in dishes such as chili con carne or salsas.
  • Indian cuisine: in curries and masalas.
  • Thai cuisine: in spicy soups and stir-fries.
  • Health drinks: Some detox drinks and smoothies contain it to stimulate the metabolism.

Cayenne pepper: Possible side effects

Although it offers many health benefits, it can also have side effects:

  • Gastrointestinal irritation: in sensitive individuals, it can cause heartburn, stomach cramps or diarrhea.
  • Skin irritation: Redness and burning may occur when used externally.
  • Allergic reactions: Rare but possible. Symptoms may include itching, swelling or difficulty breathing.

Consequences of an overdose

An overdose of cayenne pepper can cause serious health problems:

  • Severe gastrointestinal symptoms: vomiting, diarrhea, stomach cramps.
  • Drop in blood pressure: In extreme cases, blood pressure can drop dangerously.
  • Kidney and liver damage: with prolonged excessive use.

Natural medicine

Cayenne pepper is used in a variety of ways in naturopathy:

  • Capsaicin creams: for the external treatment of joint and muscle pain.
  • Digestive tinctures: to aid digestion and relieve stomach complaints.
  • Cardiovascular tinctures: to promote blood circulation and support heart health.

It is a powerful natural remedy with a wide range of applications and benefits. When used in the correct dosage and application, it can be a valuable tool for supporting general health and treating specific ailments.

Cayenne pepper in traditional and modern medicine

It has a firm place in both traditional and modern medicine. It has been used as a remedy in many cultures for centuries. The indigenous peoples of Central and South America used it to treat pain, infections and digestive disorders. In traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) and Ayurveda, it is also used primarily to stimulate digestion and improve blood circulation.

In modern medicine, it is valued above all for its active ingredient capsaicin. Numerous studies have confirmed the effectiveness of capsaicin in relieving pain and treating neuropathic pain. It is also used to treat cluster headaches and postherpetic neuralgia.

Practical tips for use

To make the most of the beneficial effects of cayenne pepper, here are a few practical tips for everyday life:

  • As a spice: add it regularly to your meals to aid digestion and stimulate the metabolism.
  • Cayenne pepper tea: Prepare a tea from half a teaspoon of cayenne pepper powder and hot water to relieve digestive problems and stimulate blood circulation.
  • Cayenne ointment: Make a homemade ointment from cayenne powder and coconut oil to treat muscle and joint pain.

Combination with other medicinal herbs

Cayenne pepper often has an even better healing effect when combined with other medicinal plants:

  • Ginger and cinnamon: This combination can also promote blood circulation and aid digestion.
  • Turmeric and black pepper: Together, this mixture can enhance the anti-inflammatory properties and improve the absorption of nutrients.
  • Echinacea and garlic: This combination can strengthen the immune system and enhance the antimicrobial effect.

Cayenne pepper in the kitchen

In addition to its medicinal uses, it is also a popular spice in the kitchen. It gives many dishes a pleasant spiciness and an unmistakable flavor. Here are a few culinary tips:

  • Soups and stews: add a pinch to soups and stews.
  • Salads: Sprinkle a little over salads to give them a spicy note.
  • Marinades: Cayenne pepper in marinades for meat and fish intensifies the flavor.

Research and studies

There is a growing body of scientific research into the health benefits of cayenne pepper. Some notable findings are:

  • Pain relief: Studies show that capsaicin creams are effective in relieving joint and muscle pain.
  • Heart health: Research suggests that it may help to lower blood pressure and improve cardiovascular health.
  • Weight loss: Studies have shown that it can stimulate the metabolism and promote fat burning.


Cayenne pepper is a versatile and powerful natural remedy with numerous health benefits. From supporting digestion to relieving pain and promoting heart health, the possibilities are endless. When used in the right doses and in the right way, it can be a valuable addition to your daily diet and overall well-being.

Start taking it slowly and listen to your body to avoid possible side effects. If in doubt or if you have existing health problems, you should always consult a doctor or alternative practitioner before integrating it into your daily routine. This way, you can safely and effectively benefit from the many advantages of this fascinating spice.

Published on: 21. June 2024


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