The Natural Way

Friday, March 22, 2002

Nothing beats cayenne as an ingredient in your cleansing program. This is no hot flash for anyone who has been introduced to the not-so-subtle benefits of the hot red chili pepper. It does a lot more than just help stimulate the elimination of wastes.

Cayenne (capsicum annuum) is the common name for the hot red chili peppers which grow easily right here in Arkansas and throughout much of the world. As a spice it is used to flavor food and to preserve meat, as an herb it functions mainly as a stimulant, as it stimulates nearly every organ and system of the body.

Nutritionally, science knows of at least 40 plus vitamins, minerals, aminos and trace elements. It is a virtual treasure trove of nutrition. There are at least as many chemical constituents. Some of the standouts are alpha-linoleic acid, glucosamine, glycyrrhetic acid and scopoletin. The list seems endless and the use of the herb in the past reflects the complex nature of the pod which is what is usually ground into a powder or used whole.

The old ones have used this fiery fruit as an antibiotic, anti-inflammatory, anti-spasmodic, for arthritis, rheumatism, as a blood clot breaker, blood purifier, to stop bleeding, and lower blood pressure, as well as for increasing blood flow to tissues. In the old days it was used in heart failure and in acute heart attack. It is great for digestion and in clearing the digestive system as anyone knows who has eaten this the night before knows.

As a topical it reduces the pain of neuropathy caused by diabetes or shingles, as well as the pain from arthritis. It is also used to decrease cold symptoms including soothing coughs and expectoration.

Cayenne is graded into different heat units (HU) as different chilis vary in hotness. Grocery store chili in the spice section is typically 20 HU. Whole chilis in the produce section can vary greatly in heat units. Heat units can go quite high but most of us can't tolerate anything above 200. Most people I know don't go above 40, at least more than once.

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