It turns out that you’ve had a powerful home remedy in your spice cupboard for years. You know, the one that takes your breath away, makes your mouth turn into an inferno and your brow bead with sweat. Yup, it’s cayenne pepper!
In small amounts, this exotic spice can make food taste delicious. Cayenne pepper has been recognized and valued for thousands of years by many cultures for its ability to add an amazing dimension to curries and stir fries, and for its wide array of medicinal uses. Capsaicin, the unique compound in cayenne pepper which gives it that characteristic heat, is also responsible for imparting many of the health benefits of this spice. Read on to find out how cayenne pepper can help to heal your aches and pains, relieve digestive issues and treat infections.
1. Cayenne pepper for relief from colds and flu
Cayenne can be added to your favorite curry or hot dish. It can also be taken in the form of a “health shot” when combined with lime juice and water. Cayenne is also available in supplement form. The spice helps to stimulate blood circulation to the peripheral areas of the body. It can help to warm up your hands and feet when you’re sick so that they stay nice and toasty.
More importantly, when your body breaks down capsaicin, it promotes an elevated body temperature and the release of mucus from your respiratory passages. Elevating your body temperature when you’ve got a nasty bacterial infection or virus (i.e. cold or flu) helps your immune system to kill off the infection or virus faster, meaning your cold or flu symptoms recede in less time. What’s more, by alleviating the inflammation and mucus in your respiratory passages, cayenne helps you to breathe easier at night and get a good night’s sleep, which is a rare thing when you’re sick.
2. Cayenne pepper for toothaches
This home remedy is an oldie but goodie, but requires some serious forethought and preparation. Add a tablespoon of cayenne pepper powder to a pint of strong whisky, and stir well. Allow the mixture to steep for two weeks, giving it a good stir or shake every day. When the two weeks are up, strain the liquid through a cheesecloth into a glass bottle, cap it, and store in a cool, dark spot.
Capsaicin tricks the brain into thinking that it is experiencing pain and thereby exhausts pain receptors (more on that here). This old-school whisky concoction can dull a painful toothache and make you smile again. Added to that, the whisky sterilizes and disinfects any open cuts or abscesses, avoiding infection, while the cayenne pepper encourages blood flow and healing. The mixture can be used by either sipping a very small amount and swilling it around in your mouth for 30 seconds, or just by dapping a few drops of the mixture directly onto the affected tooth with the aid of a cotton ball.
3. Cayenne pepper for healing
If you get a minor cut or scrape, the wound is often more annoying than worrying. It gets in the way, you have to wrap it in bandages all the time, and clean it regularly — you always end up hitting it on something no matter how careful you are. If a wound is not well cared for, it can become infected, which can make the matter more serious.
Well, we have just the remedy to solve both problems: our good friend cayenne! People have been using cayenne pepper for many years due to its ability to reduce bleeding and speed up the healing process. With this in mind, simply mix one tablespoon of cayenne pepper into one tablespoon of room temperature coconut oil (i.e. in its liquid form). Let the mixture cool in the refrigerator to slightly below room temperature so that it thickens, then use a clean finger to apply it directly to your wound. If warranted, place a clean bandage around the area, and reapply the mixture once a day until you’re satisfied that it has healed sufficiently.
Keep in mind that this mixture is for minor cuts and scrapes. For serious injuries, consult a doctor immediately.
4. Cayenne pepper for digestion
Got a sore tummy? Stomach ulcers? Indigestion? Cayenne can help! When taken orally, cayenne pepper stimulates the digestive tract and encourages increased production of digestive enzymes and gastric juices. It can also lower your stomach’s production of acid, alleviate local pain and kill bad bacteria, meaning it can resolve nasty stomach conditions such as ulcers.
This remedy is an easy one, but they’re often the best, right? Stir a teaspoon of cayenne pepper powder into a small glass of warm water and add a dash of lime or lemon juice. Once the cayenne is sufficiently mixed into the water, tilt back your head and knock back the solution in one mighty gulp. It’s not overly pleasant, but it isn’t as bad as you think, either. Make sure you eat some food before or immediately afterwards, otherwise the cayenne could irritate your stomach or throat a little bit. Bon Appétit!