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Health Benefits of Cayenne Pepper and Capsaicin

 Much has been written about the healing power of Cayenne pepper, and its reputation continues to grow among researchers and practitioners of alternative medicine, but surprisingly many people are still unaware of the health benefits of its consumption and the wonders of its powerful active ingredient, capsaicin.


The cayenne pepper itself is a spicy red pepper named after the capital of French Guiana and is considered to have a medium-high intensity with a slightly stronger intensity than that of jalapeño and tabasco peppers. The reason for this is its relatively high capsaicin content, which gives it its sharp flavor and also a plethora of health benefits that are well worth knowing.

cayenne pepper

1. Fights cancer

Over the years, a large number of articles and studies have been published that have proven the strength of cayenne pepper and similar hot peppers against cancerous tumors. In 2004, a team of researchers from the University of Pittsburgh successfully treated pancreatic cancer cells with capsaicin. The researchers found that the compound interferes with the mitochondrial activity of the cancer cells (an organelle in the cell responsible for producing energy and storing and preserving hereditary material) and leads to the cellular death of damaged parts of the body without damaging the normal pancreatic cells.

In a 2006 article titled "Hot Pepper Ingredient Kills Prostate Cancer Cells," it was found that the strong capsaicin compound was able to destroy about 80 percent of prostate cancer cells in laboratory mice. There is no shortage of other examples of experiments and tests among people and animals alike, which have shown similar results when it comes to other cancers such as leukemia and lung cancer.

2. Treats bleeding hemorrhoids

Cayenne pepper and similar spicy foods are a magic cure when it comes to bleeding hemorrhoids. People who have suffered hemorrhoids for years and are at risk of death as a result of the problem report that the bleeding stopped after consuming cayenne tea made from a teaspoon of cayenne powder and a quarter cup of hot water. I, for example, suffered from bleeding hemorrhoids for 11 years. I underwent three surgical interventions that didn’t really work and I seriously considered undergoing thorough surgery to completely remove my hemorrhoids because my condition became critical due to blood loss on a daily basis. Cayenne tea stopped the bleeding immediately. The hemorrhoids themselves contracted to a minimum after about two weeks!

Because cayenne is rich in anti-inflammatories and other essential ingredients, it helps the body overcome the itching, swelling, and pain caused by hemorrhoids, and it also helps restore the elasticity of veins and arteries. Some people recommend applying cayenne pepper creams to the affected area to treat hemorrhoids, but this method is very uncomfortable and consuming it as a drink or seasoning your food with it is a much better alternative

cayenne pepper

3. Improves the functioning of the circulatory system and the heart

Cayenne peppers contribute greatly to heart health on two main levels: the first is related to their direct positive effect on various factors that affect the health and normality of this important muscle, such as blood pressure and cholesterol levels in the body.

Second, because of their effect on the veins and arteries mentioned in the previous section, cayenne peppers and other foods containing capsaicin help prevent atherosclerosis and reduce the risk of developing dangerous blood clots. Given these significant benefits, it is not surprising that many large and respected bodies, such as the University of Maryland Medical Center, are studying the possibility of using capsaicin-based products to treat heart disease and arrhythmia. 

4. Treats headaches and migraines

Cayenne peppers and other spicy foods provide a natural and simple way to overcome headaches. There is even a wealth of evidence from people who have suffered from constant migraines and have found that eating hot peppers helped them regain control of their lives and soothe the most severe headaches.

The reason for this is the ability of the active ingredient in these peppers, capsaicin, to reduce the levels of the chemical that allows the transmission of pain sensation in the brain, Substance P. When the levels of this chemical are reduced, we feel much less pain. This effect can be achieved by eating foods with cayenne pepper, drinking a teaspoon of ground cayenne pepper mixed in a glass of water, and also by using external creams with a high concentration of capsaicin.

cayenne pepper

5. Helps the digestive system

Although caffeine and similar spicy foods often have an appetite suppressing effect on people who consume them, their consumption generally helps the digestive process and encourages the secretion of gastric acids that allow us to effectively break down the food we eat. Consuming cayenne peppers encourages faster metabolism and helps the liver and gallbladder rid the body of toxins and harmful substances quickly and easily. In addition, the findings of a 2011 study proved that the consumption of hot peppers raises body temperature and helps burn calories, information that anyone who wants to lose a few pounds and enjoys spicy food, would certainly be happy to discover.


6. Helps in recovery from various winter diseases

And finally, an important health benefit of cayenne peppers, which we recommend taking advantage of in the current winter. This powerful dish provides us with a wealth of powerful components that help our bodies fight various winter diseases, especially colds and throat infections. Drinking hot water with cayenne pepper powder is an excellent way to quickly calm a sore throat while eating it provides quick relief of a stuffy nose.

cayenne pepper

How much cayenne pepper should you consume?

First, it is important to mention that many of the health benefits mentioned are the product of consuming foods that contain capsaicin, such as cayenne pepper. You can enrich your menu with this healthy organic compound using a wide variety of other spicy foods and also foods like mustard, garlic, and ginger. If you are not used to spicy foods, it is recommended to start by eating peppers that have 30,000 units of heat on the Scoville scale (a scale measuring the sharpness of peppers based on the capsaicin content ranging from 0 to 16 million).

If you are dealing with ground peppers, you can add about a quarter of a teaspoon to a quarter cup of hot water, mix and drink quickly. The process of getting used to the spiciness is very fast, and within a month you’ll easily be able to drink a full teaspoon of cayenne powder with the same amount of water and even gradually switch to peppers with 90,000 Scoville units. For those who are scared of a little spice, you can also swallow cayenne capsules; the positive effect on your health will be weaker but still significant. In any case, you should always consume cayenne with food and if you choose to simply eat hot peppers in their natural form, you can add them to a plethora of dishes such as fish and rice.

image source: Quinn Dombrowski

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