Cayenne as Medicine
While any of the chilies can be used as herbal medicine, the one most frequently cited is cayenne (Capsicum annuum, although sometimes attributed to C. frutescens). Cayenne has been used historically as a respiratory decongestant, a circulatory stimulant, and a diaphoretic to encourage sweating to break a fever. In has some gastroprotective properties such as inhibiting HCl production and relieving gas, nausea, and diarrhea, but in excess it can become a gastric irritant and should not be used by those with GERD, gastritis, SIBO, or other conditions with irritated GI mucosa.
As a circulatory stimulant cayenne enhances circulation to the extremities, making it a great treatment for Raynaud’s Syndrome. It also increases circulation to the skin and surrounding area, which, along with its analgesic properties, makes it a helpful therapy for arthritis around the joints and as a liniment for achy muscles.
Cayenne Massage Oil for Achy Joints and Muscles
2 ounces of fresh cayenne peppers chopped finely.
1 cup olive oil
Simmer at lowest heat for an hour. Strain through cheesecloth. Dilute with more olive oil if needed.
Do you ever wonder why cayenne and chilies seem so hot? Stay tuned for a post on capsaicin.