Wednesday, November 5, 2008

The Other Wonder Herb: Cayenne Pepper

You know, I've never been a real hot pepper fan--they've always been too hot for my tastebuds. I grew hot peppers, Scotch Bonnets, habeneros, jalapenos, tabascos, pimentos, you name 'em, I've grown them. And picked them, pickled them and made powerful hot sauces. But I've never quite developed the taste for the truly fiery peppers.

But now I'm determined to. Whether I like them or not, I'm going to be eating them and using them. The health benefits are just too good to pass up. I grew a bunch of cayennes this year, and the fruit is hanging in pretty ristas around the house.

I've been reading that cayenne pepper can stop a heart attack, or help a person fully recover from it. I've been reading that cayenne pepper can stop bleeding, even gushing blood. And it can regulate high blood pressure so that you never have high blood pressure again.

Yes, it sounds too good to be true to me too. Although I may not seem like it in my writings here, I'm pretty skeptical. "Prove all things," is what I've learned. What that means to me is that I will slice some garlic and put it over a weird looking mole on my skin to see if the garlic will make the damn thing disappear. Actually, my husband said he's got a weird mole, a "cancer spot" as he called it, and so we'll try the slice of garlic on him. If I get even remotely sickly with a cold or flu, I will chop up garlic and put it on the bottom of my feet and see what happens. Will Michael's "cancer spot" go away? Will I feel much better after the garlic on the feet attempt?

That's what I mean by prove all things. I hope you will proceed the same way. I've had great luck with trying what my family and friends have considered "oddball" remedies. What I've tried doesn't always work, of course. Pharmaceuticals don't either--but I've had better luck with natural than chemical. I've found that overall, this is a good way for me to deal with my own health concerns.

So, on to cayenne pepper and why it is so good for you.

First of all, it is high in vitamin C, vitamin A, the complex of vitamin Bs, vitamin E, calcium, and potassium. It's a potent nutrititional powerhouse. If you eat a lot of it, as they do in southern climes, it will make you sweat, which will cool you off. Sweating is your body's way of releasing heat.

Recently I've been reading Dr. Christopher's Herbal Legacy, and what they have to say about cayenne made me very curious. If you've the time and interest, read the entire section about cayenne here.

I've read the "cayenne can stop bleeding" info here and other places as well. I have not yet had the occasion to see if this is so for myself, but I will try it next time I accidently cut myself.

I've been too timid to try cayenne tea (one teaspoon ground cayenne to a cup of hot water), but I did make a cayenne tincture. The tincture is almost too hot to take a direct eyedropper full, but I can get it down in a small glass of water. I expect my taste buds will adapt to the heat so that I'll be able to take it directly soon. Perhaps as I get better at this, I'll be taking 3 teaspoons a day, as Dr. Christopher did!

When my feet get cold in the winter, I have put ground cayenne in the bottom of my shoes. This works well. You'll get a nice warming heat from it for quite a while. I will also be making a cayenne salve for muscle aches and pains. There's lots of these on the market already, of course, but I've got lots of cayennes around and plenty of lard or coconut oil or olive oil or for that matter, vaseline around. Much less expensive than anything commercial, plus I know there's no other nasty chemicals in it.

If you keep two herbs in your house at all times, and even in your BOBs and BOVs, keep garlic and cayenne. These two are kickass powerful. Garlic is an antibiotic. Cayenne will stop bleeding. I know garlic works, and I'm going to find out more about cayenne. But they are both potential life-savers, which is important in survival situations.

There will be more on cayenne in this blog. Stay tuned.


Anonymous said...

I would steer clear of using Vasoline as a medium for any herbal remedies! It's a petrolium product. Great for survival use as a candle, fire starter, lubricant, but don't consume it. Use bees wax for herbal mixtures instead.

Patricia said...

Hey Ra!

Vaseline is the absolutely last thing I would use, but I would use it in a pinch, that's all. You are right--it is petroleum and will block the pores of the skin, so it is only a last case use.

Wolfdancer32266 said...

Nice article on cayenne.
I try to sprinkle some on my food often but, not too much*whew!*
I did plant some "fooled ya" peppers once but moved before I can try it.

Anonymous said...

I have to try the cayenne on my feet for warmth! My feet freeze during winter gardening. The only thing that concerns me is chapped/cracked feet which comes with winter...what do you think of the cayenne on cracked/open skin? If it bleeds, obviously it'll stop the bleeding, but will it BURN?!?

Patricia said...

Wolfdancer--yes, the cayenne can be hot. I put it on my socks, not on my feet, but it gets into the skin and keeps warming for a long time. Just not too much please. :)

Ra: From what I've read about cayenne and wounds, yes, it will sting like hell, but probably help heal the cracks and such. If I was you, I'd put vaseline on my feet--yes, vaseline to keep the pepper out of the cracks, and then sprinkle the cayenne on your socks. Just a little bit. You will have to experiment. It will warm your feet. I get cracked skin in places in winter too and I coat my feet with some salve, raw shea butter, stuff like that to heal the cracks. Plantain salve should work well.

I'm learning and trying out these things too. And herbs are different for different people--so it is all trial and error.

Kiva Rose said...

actually, cayenne doesn't usually sting in wounds much, if at all. it's burning sensation is pretty much limited to mucus membranes (that does include your gut though). Just don't put in on a wound in your mouth, eyes etc.

keep in mind that cayenne can be a pretty extreme herb and is best used where constitutionally appropriate. so if you have a cold constitution, cayenne can be a total life saver and can be used all the time. if you're already hot blooded though, with hot flashes and easily overheated and so on you may find that cayenne aggravates it, and may even give you heart palpitations, belly upset and so on...

it is a great herb though, i always have some on hand!