THE HERBAL CORNER - * Cayenne (Red Pepper)

The fiery taste and bright color of CAYENNE make it one of the world's most noticeable and widely used spices. Recently, this herb has become as hot in healing as it is on the tongue. Cayenne - also known as red pepper, capsicum, chili pepper, and several other names - is a perennial plant in its native tropical America but is annual when cultivated outside tropical zones. It grows to a height of three feet and only its fruit is used for its culinary and medicinal value.

Cayenne extract has proven remarkably effective at relieving certain types of severe, chronic pain. It may also aid digestion, stimulate the appetite, fight colds, relieve diarrhea, reduce cholesterol, and prevent heart disease. Herbalists regard cayenne as a powerful tonic. The fruit stimulates the heart and promotes circulation while boosting energy. Like other species of hot garden pepper, Cayenne contains the stimulant known as "capsaicin."

Although considered relatively safe, cayenne usage does come with precautions. Pregnant women and patients with ulcers, gastritis, or bowel diseases should avoid cayenne or use only under the supervision of a healthcare practitioner. Large doses can cause stomach pain or vomiting. Prolonged application of Cayenne on the skin can cause dermatitis or blistering. Cayenne is readily available in powder form, in capsule or tablet herbal formulations, as tincture, dried herb, tea, or essential oil. An oil preparation can be rubbed on sprains, swelling, sore muscles, and joints to ease pain. Cayenne can be combined with myrrh and used as a gargle or antiseptic wash to treat laryngitis.

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Please note: the information contained herein has been compiled from various sources. The above statements have not been evaluated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. We make no claims, either expressed or implied, that any treatments mentioned in this newsletter will cure disease, replace prescription medication, or supersede sound medical advice.


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