The hot fruit of the cayenne plant (“capsicum annuum”) is what you probably know as “cayenne pepper” in your spice cupboard.
Not only has the spice been used in cuisine for thousands of years, it’s also a well established tool in traditional and modern medicine, for many surprising reasons!
How Cayenne Pepper Heals Your Body
Cayenne Pepper (Capsicum) is used for various problems with digestion including upset stomach, intestinal gas, stomach pain, diarrhea, and cramps.
It is also used for conditions of the heart and blood vessels including poor circulation, excessive blood clotting, high cholesterol, and preventing heart disease.
1. Kills Cancer Cells
Dr. Sanjay K. Srivastava and colleagues from the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine treated pancreatic cells with capsaicin, the active ingredient in cayenne pepper (1).
They found that it disrupted mitochondrial function and induced apoptosis (programmed cell death) in cancerous cells without affecting normal pancreatic cells.
“Our results demonstrate that capsaicin is a potent anticancer agent, induces apoptosis in cancer cells and produces no significant damage to normal pancreatic cells, indicating its potential use as a novel chemotherapeutic agent for pancreatic cancer,” said Dr. Srivastava.
In another study, researchers found that capsaicin suppressed the growth of human prostate cancer cells by about 80%. (2).
Dr. Soren Lehmann of the Cedars-Sinai Medical Center and the UCLA School of Medicine said that “Capsaicin had a profound anti-proliferative effect on human prostate cancer cells in culture. It also dramatically slowed the development of prostate tumours.”
2. Boosts Weight Loss
Controlled studies report that adding 6 to 10 grams of cayenne to each meal reduces hunger after meals and reduces calories consumed during subsequent meals.
Other controlled studies have reported that calorie burning by the body increases slightly when 10 grams of cayenne is added to a meal.
3. Heals Your Gut
In humans, studies provide evidence in favor of a beneficial effect of capsaicin on the gastric mucosa that lines your stomach (3).
Cayenne also contains vitamins A and C as well as B complex vitamins, calcium and potassium, which helps the body rebuild the lining of the stomach and intestines (4).
4. Reduces Pain
Many ointments and creams intended for pain management used in Europe and North America contains capsaicin. This is especially true for treatments against arthritis and shingles (5).
It’s also used to manage pain from neuropathy, and fibromyalgia, as well as back pain (6).
How To Make Capsicum Cream
- 3 tablespoons of cayenne powder
- 1 cup of olive oil
- 1/2 cup of grated beeswax
- A double boiler
- A glass jar with a tightly fitting lid
- Mix together cayenne powder and oil.
- Heat in a double boiler for 5-10 minutes over medium heat.
- Stir in grated beeswax and continue to stir until it has melted completely.
- Chill the mixture in the refrigerator for 10 minutes, and then whisk vigorously.
- Chill and whip again.
- Spoon into glass jar with a tightly fitting lid and store in the refrigerator.
- It will keep for 1 ½ weeks
To use, apply directly to skin (using a spoon) daily when experiencing pain. Make sure to wash your hands with diluted vinegar to remove any capsicum left on your hands (it will burn and sting if it comes in contact with your eyes or nose).
5. Protects Your Heart
A University of Cincinnati study has found that applying capsaicin to specific skin locations in mice caused sensory nerves in the skin to trigger signals in the nervous system. These signals activate cellular “pro-survival” pathways in the heart which protect the muscle.
Researchers observed an 85 percent reduction in cardiac cell death when capsaicin was used.
“Topical capsaicin has no known serious adverse effects and could be easily applied in an ambulance or emergency room setting well in advance of coronary tissue death,” says Keith Jones, PhD, a researcher in the department of pharmacology and cell biophysics.
“If proven effective in humans, this therapy has the potential to reduce injury and/or death in the event of a coronary blockage, thereby reducing the extent and consequences of heart attack.” he explains.
In addition, Dr. John R. Christopher points out that “In 35 years of practice, and working with the people and teaching, I have never on house calls lost one heart attack patient and the reason is, whenever I go in (if they are still breathing) I pour down them a cup of cayenne tea (a teaspoon of cayenne in a cup of hot water) and within minutes they are up and around.”
Dr. John R. Christopher suggests to take cayenne pepper tea, a teaspoon of cayenne in a cup of hot water, as heart attack sufferers wait for an ambulance to arrive.
Source: Super Tasty Recipes
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