“If you master only one herb in your life, master cayenne pepper. It is more powerful than anything else.”
Dr. Richard Shulze.
Chili is the Aztec name for cayenne pepper. It has been used by Native Americans as food and medicine for at least nine thousand years. Based on archeological evidence, its cultivation in Mexico is believed to have begun around seven thousand years ago. It was first introduced to Europe by Dr. Diego Alvarez Chanca, who accompanied explorer Cristoforo Colombo to the West Indies. From Europe, it was then transported to most tropical, subtropical, and temperate zones around the world.
Cayenne and Ayurvedic Medicine
Cayenne was introduced into traditional Indian Ayurvedic medicine as well as traditional Chinese, Japanese, and Korean medicines, respectively. In Ayurvedic medicine, a combination of cayenne, garlic, and liquid amber are used externally in paste or plaster form as a rubefacient (agent which reddens the skin) and local stimulant. The dried fruit and/or tincture are also used internally to treat flatulent dyspepsia and atony of digestive organs. In Chinese medicine, cayenne is considered to have digestive stimulant action and is sometimes used to cause diaphoresis. Topically, it is used in China and Japan in an ointment form to treat myalgia and frostbite.
Cayenne in Europe
In Germany, cayenne pepper is used as a topical ointment for the relief of painful muscle spasms in the upper torso (DAB, 1997). In the United States, capsicum tincture and oleoresin were formerly official in the United States Pharmacopeia and National Formulary. Capsicum USP was used as a carminative, stimulant, and rubefacient. Capsaicin, isolated from Capsicum, is recognized by the U.S. FDA as a counterirritant for use in OTC topical analgesic drug products (Palevitch and Craker, 1995). It is used as a component in various counterirritant preparations, including ArthriCare arthritis pain relieving rub, which contains Capsicum oleoresin (0.025% capsaicin) in combination with menthol USP and Aloe vera gel. Capsicum ointments, such as Zostrix cream (GenDerm Corp.), containing 0.025% or 0.075% capsaicin, are used topically to treat shingles (herpes zoster) and post-herpetic neuralgia.
Dr Christopher promoted Cayenne in many of his formulas as an ultimate healing agent
Cayenne can be used on any parts of the body and for anybody, dr Christopher claimed.
To show what a miracle worker Cayenne really is, Dr. Christopher related the experiment performed by medical doctors in the eastern United States—and printed in the medical journals. They put some live heart tissue in a beaker filled with distilled water, and fed it nothing but Cayenne pepper, cleaning off sediments periodically and adding nothing else but distilled water to replace that which was lost from evaporation. During the experiment, they would have to trim the tissue every few days, because it would grow so rapidly! Having no control glands (pituitary and pineal), the tissue just continued to grow rapidly. They kept this tissue alive for fifteen years. After the doctor doing the experiment died, his associates kept it alive for two more years before destroying it for analysis This shows the tremendous regenerative and healing power of Cayenne, especially upon the heart.
Cayenne and Samuel Thompson
Cayenne pepper was a mainstay of the Thomsonian School of Medicine, Samuel Thomson, the original Botanic Physician, having featured it along with Lobelia in his healing routines. It was an important ingredient in his Composition Powder, and he also used it as a stimulant and an assist to the emetic properties of Lobelia.
Properties and Uses of Cayenne by William Cook, MD
The fruit is one of the purest of all known stimulants, of great intensity, very permanent in its
action, spreading through the system rather slowly, but ultimately reaching every organ of the frame. It creates a
sensation of warmth, and finally of biting pungency, in the mouth, stomach, skin, or other part to which it is directly applied. When used in a considerable dose, it excites the stomach strongly, yet is diffused so slowly that for a time it disturbs the equilibrium of circulation and nervous action between the stomach and the adjacent parts; and hence large quantities may be followed, for a short time, by hiccough, and even by a cramping pain in the stomach.
It acts mainly upon the circulation, but also upon the nervous structures. It first shows its power upon the heart and the large and central blood vessels; but finally traverses from the center to the very capillaries. It thus slowly gives increased tone to the circulation–not so materially increasing the frequency of the pulse, as giving power to each pulsation. In cases where the pulse is enfeebled and very much hurried from putrescent tendencies, as in typhus, malignant scarlatina, phlegmonous erysipelas, gangrenous wounds, threatened absorption of pus, etc., capsicum may be used in full quantities, and will be followed by diminished frequency but greater firmness of the arterial action.
Cayenne as a heart attack preventative
Cayenne is a certain remedy for heart attack; as a stimulant, it can start the heart into action again, and as it facilitates blood flow throughout the body, it will keep the heart going. Used as a heart attack preventative, along with the mucusless diet and a healthful life-style, Cayenne can do wonders in toning and rebuilding the heart and keeping it in top condition. As we will discuss later, Cayenne is one of the richest and most stable sources of Vitamin E, which is known to be a heart builder.
During a heart attack, typically the coronary arteries spasm and narrow, the artery lining is inflamed, and a clot forms that block the circulation to the heart muscle so that it dies unless circulation is restored. Cayenne has the needed actions to help. It’s anti-inflammatory, clot inhibiting and dilates blood vessels.
Research about Cayenne and heart attack
New research just published in the journal Circulation concludes that a common, over-the-counter pain salve containing capsaicin rubbed on the skin during a heart attack could serve as a cardiac-protectant — reducing or even preventing damage to the heart. The researchers found an amazing 85 percent reduction in cardiac cell death when capsaicin was used. This is the most powerful cardioprotective effect ever recorded, according to Keith Jones, PhD, a researcher in the UC department of pharmacology and cell biophysics.
Cayenne and wound healing
As related above, Cayenne works powerfully to arrest bleeding. You can place Cayenne powder or tincture directly upon an open wound, even one that is gushing blood, and by the count of ten, the bleeding will cease. If there is internal hemorrhaging, in the lungs, stomach, uterus or nose, have the person take a teaspoonful of Cayenne in a glass of quite warm water; the blood pressure will be equalized, taking the pressure off from the affected part, clotting will begin, and the hemorrhage will stop. For hemorrhage of the lungs, a vapor bath with warm Cayenne can do the same thing. In an external wound, even if the cut is so deep it goes to the bone you may fill it with Cayenne pepper and the bleeding will stop and the wound will heal beautifully.
Cayenne is extremely valuable as an emmenagogue. It will act as a carrier for uterine herbs such as Blessed thistle, taking them directly to the uterus. When expectant mothers go into labor, midwives commonly give them a drink made of Cayenne, apple cider vinegar, honey, and warm water. This stimulates good contractions, gives energy—and as an added benefit, circumvents any possible hemorrhage and acts as an anti-shock remedy, as labor often brings about shock. In fact, this combination is a most efficient anti-shock remedy and should be supplied in any case of shock. Cayenne in hot water alone will also work.
Cayenne will increase a persons feeling of vitality and activity—as it is a stimulant—without any bad aftereffects, such as do other stimulants. Combined with Lobelia, it is wonderful in cases of depression or low spirits.
How to use
The quickest and most efficient preparation of Cayenne is the tea, mixing a teaspoonful to a tablespoonful in warm water and drinking it. Many people, not wishing to suffer the pungency of the herb, take it in capsules, and this is all right, but the herb works much more quickly if taken in tea. It is usually not made into a decoction, as the medicinal factors are lost. Another method commonly employed to cut the hot taste is to eat a spoonful of peanut butter before taking the herb.
Although the Commission E Monograph about Cayenne states that Cayenne has nerve damaging actions and its use should be avoided directly on mucous membranes, Dr. Christopher’s several formulas contain cayenne, even his eye wash formula. Dr Christopher himself used Cayenne on himself in most of his adult life. He took a teaspoon of Cayenne three times a day dissolved in warm water. He was convinced that it was Cayenne that helped his arteries remain clean and flexible and he also was confident that his perfect blood pressure resulted from the long term use of Cayenne. Furthermore he developed the above mentioned eyewash because he was convinced that by increasing the blood circulation in the eye helps to maintain eye health and prevent cataracts from forming.
My personal experience
I was not the greatest fan of really hot, spicy food but when I started learning about Cayenne I decided to try it immediately. I needed the warming and stimulating effect… So in the past couple of weeks I started experimenting with some real hot Cayenne, and it worked wonderfully: I don’t need any coffee, I am not tired and I don’t feel depressed at all and my digestive tract is working great, too. I just take 1/4 teaspoon in warm water around 11AM and it keeps me going all day!
I’ve heard Jim McDonald saying in an interview as a side note that Cayenne did not work so well for him because it was too drying. Susun Weed wrote in her newsletters that Cayenne is causing hemorrhaging and is giving a false sense of security by slowing heavy bleeding but not stopping it entirely. Also, I read on Susun’s discussion board that a few people experienced UTI symptoms after starting to drink cayenne tea.
Word of Caution
There are some conflicting teachings on Cayenne, so use it with caution. It is a very potent herb.
- Expanded Commission E Monograph on Cayenne
- Christopher, John R. School of Natural Healing. Provo, Utah, 1975.
- Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, Nov-Dec., 1979, pp. 1316-8
- The Physiomedical Dispensatory, 1869, was written by William Cook, M.D.
- Capsaicin could stop a heart attack in progress, scientists find, http://www.naturalnews.com/027238_capsaicin_heart_attack_cayenne.html
- Study Shows Common Pain Cream Could Protect Heart During Attack, http://www.healthnews.uc.edu/news/?/9213/