Thursday, January 23, 2014


Cayenne-Capsicum Fastigiatum, Capsicum Frutescens, Capsicum Annum

Also known as:  Guinea pepper, African Bird pepper, chilies, Spanish pepper, Capsicum, Red pepper, Cockspur pepper

Parts used:   fruit (the pepper)

Meridians/Organs affected:  kidneys, lungs, spleen, stomach, heart, circulatory

Properties:  stimulant, expectorant, astringent, hemostatic, carminative, antispasmodic, anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, tonic, sialagogue, alterative, rubefacient, diaphoretic, emetic

Cayenne is a member of the Solanacea family also known as the Nightshade family.  It has a branched stem with lance-like leaves and bell-shaped green or white flowers that bloom during the spring and summer.  Once it flowers the elongated peppers start to appear and when ripe turn a bright shiny red but can also be green, orange or yellow.

Cayenne has a lengthy history.  It is native to Europe but was introduced to India and Africa early on.  It was introduced to England in 1548 from India and by 1650 it was grown all over northern Europe.  According to history, Christopher Columbus came across chile peppers in the West Indies during his travels.  Thinking it was a kind of black pepper he brought back some seeds and found it wasn't black pepper after all.  Chile peppers have also been found in Mexico in some of the earliest excavations, making it a culinary staple for that country for several centuries.

Cayenne was used to relieve flatulence, increase internal blood flow and sweating and to prevent or treat nausea.  It was used as a digestive aid and to stop bleeding ulcers.  The South Americans learned early on of its anti-inflammatory capabilities and used it for arthritis, rheumatism, neuralgia, muscle aches and pains, asthma, bronchitis, and to assist in clearing excess mucus from the system.

Jethro Kloss (author of Back to Eden) used it for practically everything  under the sun.  He said it worked especially well for lockjaw when combined with lobelia and that it is one of the best known stimulants for man.  Dr. John Christopher also said as much.  Kloss had his own liniment that was used on scalds, burns, wounds, sprains, etc.

From the 'Standard Guide to Non-Poisonous Herbal Medicine' we read, " (cayenne) grows abundantly in the West Indies, where the negroes count it almost a certain remedy for nearly all their maladies.  They have no fears of fatal effects from fevers, even the terrible and devastating yellow fever, if they can get plenty of capsicum."  It goes on to say that, "...when the stomach is foul, a strong dose of the powder will excite vomiting and an enema of it and lobelia and slippery elm will relieve the most obstinate constipation."

R. Swinburne Clymer, author of 'Medicine of Nature' says, "Capsicum is the most pronounced, natural, ideal stimulant in the entire material medica.  It cannot be equaled by any known agent when a powerful and prolonged stimulant is needed, as in congestive chills, heart failure, and other conditions calling for quick action.  The entire circulation is affected by this agent and there is no reaction.  In this it stands alone as ideal."

The African Bird pepper variety is considered to be the purest and best stimulant of this species.  Cayenne has the ability to bring elasticity back to the cells, arteries, veins and capillaries, assisting with high blood pressure, digestive issues, cardiac problems including heart attacks, intestinal ulcers, etc.

Dr. Christopher tells a story about when he used to travel with a younger gentleman on business.  This young man was impressed with how Dr. Christopher could keep up with him and not be fatigued by all the traveling.  Each morning while traveling, Dr. Christopher would take wheat germ oil with cayenne.  One day the young man asked Dr. Christopher what he was taking and he explained what it was and how it worked.  The young man asked if it would help with his chronic high blood pressure and hemorrhoids.  Dr. Christopher told him if he took it faithfully every day it would, IF he was brave enough to follow through with it.  The man started taking it and within a year both of his problems had cleared up entirely and his doctors were stumped as to how it happened.

Cayenne mixed with plantain and used as a poultice is said to draw out any object embedded in the skin.

Cayenne is a nutritive herb.  It is a good source of iron, B Complex vitamins, phosphorus and calcium.  It also contains more vitamin C than oranges.  It is a catalyst to most herbal formulas and enhances how the other herbs are used by the body.

Cayenne is safe for everyone-including infants-but as with all things use it in very small amounts.  It is best taken as an infusion, tincture, or capsule or used in a salve.  Never decoct cayenne as it destroys the medicinal components of the herb.

As is customary with my posts I am including some links below for your benefit.  Use them as you see fit.  Stay strong and healthy!

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