Cayenne pepper is a powerful, healthy spice to add to your pantry. I don’t just use it for cooking though. It has a special place in my medicine cabinet. Read on to find out why.
What is Cayenne Pepper?
Cayenne pepper, or Capsicum annuum, is a healthy spice to include in your diet. It’s made by drying the cayenne peppers and grinding them into a powder. Kathi at Oak Hill Homestead can teach you how to make your own cayenne pepper powder. It’s even doable in an apartment, especially if you have a dehydrator (affiliate link). It does require at least one plant though, so for now, I’ll stick to buying mine (affiliate link).
Cayenne peppers vary in hotness, from 30,000 to 190,000 SHU (Scoville Heat Units). The most famous ingredient in cayenne pepper is capsaicin. But the pepper also contains vitamin C, vitamin B6 and vitamin E as well as potassium, manganese and flavonoids (Source).
It can have side effects though. Most commonly, people experience an upset stomach, sweating, flushing and a runny nose. If you experience any of these side effects you should stop eating the cayenne pepper and possibly seek medical advice.
I’m not a medical professional of any kind and can not be held liable for any of the information shared. I’m merely telling you what I have learnt. You will have to use your own judgement and seek medical advice as needed.
Don’t Confuse Cayenne Pepper With Chilli Powder
Chilli powder and cayenne pepper powder have nothing to do with each other. Cayenne pepper powder is made solely from the cayenne peppers, whereas chilli powder often consists of not just a mixture of chilli peppers but also a number of other spices. Most chilli powders consist of a mix of cumin, cayenne pepper or chilli peppers, paprika, oregano, garlic powder, and onion powder.
Cayenne Pepper’s Herbal Qualities
Cayenne Pepper has a number of uses in herbal medicine.
According to my go-to source for herbal remedies, The Complete Illustrated Holistic Herbal by David Hoffmann (affiliate link),
Cayenne is the most useful of the systemic stimulants.
Basically, if you have any issues in regards to your blood flow, heart, arteries, capillaries or nerves it will be useful. Capsaicin helps stimulate the blood flow to your organs and your entire body.
This means it helps ease the symptoms of bad circulation, such as headaches, cold feet and tingling sensations in the legs.
Other Benefits of Cayenne Pepper
Healing an upset stomach
Help with intestinal gas
Prevent blood clotting
Prevent heart disease
Lower high cholesterol
(Again, use common sense, see your own medical professional and all that jazz).
How We Use Cayenne Pepper in Our First Aid Kit
My dad is on blood thinning medication, which means even a tiny nick in the skin bleeds for days and often won’t heal properly. His skin is very thin due to medications, so it breaks from next to nothing. He doesn’t lose a lot of blood, even though it seems like it, but it is frustrating for him and for my mum who cleans up all the messes it makes.
Recently, my mum began to apply a small amount of cayenne pepper to any nicks my dad gets. It clogs them right up and they heal in no time. She even used it when my dad stabbed his lip with a fork during a pain seizure.
You would think it would hurt to have cayenne pepper put on a bleeding cut, but my dad claims he can’t feel it. The cayenne pepper simply helps the blood coagulate and then the cut heals much faster than they normally would.
Now, this is controversial. You will find information online telling you never to use cayenne pepper the way we use it in my family. Use common sense. Don’t put a giant amount in a gaping wound, we would never do that. But if you know someone with a similar issue to my dad’s then it might be worth trying.