From the noteworthy words of the father of Western Medicine, Hippocrates, ” Let food be your medicine and medicine be your food”, garlic is one of the helpful plants that has proven this quote. It’s not only used for culinary but also medicinal purposes. We learn the uses of garlic in our previous article and how we can easily grow it in our own home or garden.
For this article, we are going to talk about another helpful plant that has the ability to prove what Hippocrates was telling us: Cayenne Pepper.
How People Started Using Cayenne Pepper
Cayenne pepper (Capsicum annuum) originated in Central and South American. It was brought by Christopher Columbus to Europe in the 15th century. It is named after the french Guiana city of Cayenne. Cayenne pepper can grow up to 4 feet tall. They start growing with green colors and as they ripen, they turn red and are ready to harvest. Sometimes, its pods are in orange or yellow shades which will grow up to six inches long.
Cayenne peppers belong to the same family as jalapeño and bell peppers. It is commonly used in savory foods in most of the country’s cuisine. Not only is it used for dishes, but it is also helpful in traditional Chinese and Ayurvedic medicine due to its help in circulatory problems.
Other names of cayenne pepper are:
- guinea spice
- cow horn peppers
- aleva or bird peppers
- red pepper (when it is dried)
Awesome Health Benefits of Cayenne Peppers
- Cayenne has properties that can boost your immune system. Capsaicin and medium-chain triglyceride oil can help burn more calories by increasing the amount of heat in your body. In a study, 1 gram of red cayenne pepper burned 10 more calories in about 5 hours compared to those who didn’t take cayenne pepper.
- Cayenne peppers can reduce hunger. Capsaicin in cayenne peppers helps you want to eat more and you can feel fuller for a longer time. A study showed that taking capsaicin supplements from cayenne peppers can make you eat 10%, and those who drank a beverage containing capsaicin ate 16% less.
- Cayenne peppers can help those with high blood pressure. Animal studies have shown that capsaicin has the effect of lowering blood pressure.
- Cayenne peppers can help improve your digestive health and prevent you from stomach ulcers. Just like other dietary spices, cayenne peppers have the ability to aid your digestive health. It can:
- boost the defense mechanism of the stomach from infections
- increase the production of digestive fluid
- help deliver enzymes to the stomach
- helps digestion
- Cayenne peppers can alleviate pain. Capsaicin that can be found in cayenne pepper has potent pain-relieving properties. Skin cream with capsaicin is widely available, and is used to alleviate the following:
- Pain after surgery
- Pain from nerve conditions like shingles
- Lower back pain
- Joint and muscle pain
But it’s not advisable to apply the capsaicin cream on an open wound or broken skin.
- Cayenne peppers can help people with psoriasis. Presently, there’s no cure for psoriasis. Thanks to capsaicin creams, there is at least some way of alleviating the itching and improve the appearance of affected areas.
- Cayenne peppers can lessen the risk of cancer. The capsaicin in cayenne peppers can slow the growth of cancer cells, according to animal studies. It has a promising effect on skin, pancreatic and prostate cancer.
Just like garlic, cayenne pepper is easy to include in your diet in the form of supplements, spice, or whole food. You can just add an amount of it to your favorite foods. Just take note that cayenne peppers are very spicy so make sure you can handle the heat. Many people like to begin with a small amount, and work up to more and hotter servings, as they become used to it.
How to Grow Cayenne Peppers
Just like garlic, cayenne peppers can be easily grown in your garden or even inside your house on a pot. When growing cayenne peppers, just remember that they need a significant amount of heat. Let’s learn how to grow cayenne peppers.
- Choose the location where you will plant cayenne peppers. If you opt to plant them in a container, make sure it has drainage holes, but if you are in a place with a hot climate, it’s better to grow them outside.
- If the temperature outside is not 75-85 degrees Fahrenheit or 24-29 degrees Celsius, plant the seeds in a growing pack. First, soak the seeds in water overnight. Then, place 3-4 seeds, evenly spaced, in each cell of the growing pack. After, moisten the soil and cover it with plastic wrap. You can place it on a sunny windowsill to germinate. Regularly sprinkle with water over the next 1-6 weeks.
- Once the seedlings sprout, you can plant them in a container or in a garden, 2-3 inches apart. It is best to use organic materials and fertilizers but don’t use something that has a high nitrogen feed. Just make sure the location gets at least 8 hours of sunlight daily.
Cayenne peppers have a beneficial effect on our health due to their active component which is capsaicin. This helpful plant can easily be grown either indoors or outdoor just like our next plant to discuss – Echinacea. Herbalists recognise Echinacea as one of the best blood purifiers and an effective antibiotic. Find more about it in our next blog.
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