Medicinal Use & Health Benefit of Cayenne Pepper (Capsicum)
Shirley's Wellness Cafe
"If you master only one herb in your life, master cayenne pepper. It is
more powerful than any other." Dr. Schulze

"In 35 years of practice, and working with the people and teaching, I
have never on house calls lost one heart attack patient and the reason
is, whenever I go in--if they are still breathing--I pour down them a cup
of cayenne tea (a teaspoon of cayenne in a cup of hot water, and within
minutes they are up and around)." Dr. Christopher

"Cayenne pepper - prized for thousands of years for its healing power.
Folklore from around the world recounts amazing results using cayenne
pepper in simple healing and in baffling health problems. But cayenne
pepper is not just a healer from ancient history. Recent clinical studies
have been conducted on many of the old-time health applications for this
miracle herb. Again and again, the therapeutic value of cayenne pepper
has been medically validated."Dr. Patrick Quillin  The Healing Power of
Cayenne Pepper.
In a recent letter to the editors of the New England Journal of Medicine,
three Italian doctors describe how they were able to reduce patients'
reported dyspepsia symptoms by more than half -  by prescribing red
pepper powder. In a study of 30 patients with  functional dyspepsia, half
of the participants received a placebo, while the other half took 2.5
grams of red pepper powder each day (divided into capsules taken before
each of three meals). Both groups took their respective treatments for
five weeks, and rated their symptoms each day on a scale of zero  to
three (higher scores indicated more severe symptoms). By the third week,
the red pepper group showed a significant advantage over the control
group. And by week five, the pepper group's symptoms had declined 60
percent from their baseline scores - while the control group's scores had
only decreased about half as much. The symptom scores included ratings
for pain, a feeling of fullness, nausea, and an overall score. The red
pepper powder produced significant gains in all four areas.

Many herbalists believe that Cayenne is the most useful and valuable herb
in the herb kingdom, not only for the entire digestive system, but also
for the heart and circulatory system. It acts as a catalyst and increases
the effectiveness of other herbs when used with them. Cayenne is a medicinal and nutritional herb.  It is a very high source of Vitamins A & C, has the complete B complexes, and is very rich in organic calcium and potassium, which is one of the reasons it is good for the heart.


Cayenne can rebuild the tissue in the stomach and the peristaltic action
in the intestines.  It aids elimination and assimilation, and helps the
body to create hydrochloric acid, which is so necessary for good
digestion and assimilation, especially of proteins.  All this becomes
very significant when we realize that the digestive system plays the most
important role in mental, emotional and physical health, as it is through
the digestive  system that the brain, glands, muscles and every other
part of the body are fed. 


Cayenne has been known to stop heart attacks within 30 seconds.  For
example, when a 90-year-old man in Oregon had a severe heart attack, his
daughter was able to get Cayenne extract into his mouth.  He was
pronounced dead by the medics, but within a few minutes, he regained
consciousness.  On the way to the hospital, he remained in a
semi-conscious state, but the daughter kept giving him the Cayenne
extract.  By the time they got  to the hospital, he had fully recovered
and wanted to go home and mow the lawn.  The doctor asked what she had given him, as he said it was the closest thing to a miracle he had ever

If a heart attack should occur, it is suggested that a teaspoon of extract be given every 15 minutes or a teaspoon of Cayenne in a glass of hot water be taken until the crisis has passed.  Dr. Anderson also knew of a  doctor who rushed out into the parking lot and put cayenne tincture
into the mouth of a man who had died of a heart attack while he was
parking his car.  Within a few minutes, the man's heart starting beating

According to Dr. Richard Anderson, using cayenne and hawthorn berries
together has a most incredible effect upon the heart.  He believes that a
regimen of cayenne and hawthorn berries for several months will greatly
strengthen the heart, and possibly prevent heart attacks.  He states
further that if an attack were to occur in someone who had followed this
regimen, chances are very good that no damage would occur.  He tells the
following story about his mother: 

"I had her taking hawthorn berries and cayenne when she had a heart
attack at the age of 79.  Her diet had not been the best, and she was in
an extremely stressful situation. While in the hospital, they found three
blocked arteries and wanted to operate immediately.  They did not think
that she could survive for more than a few weeks if they didn't operate.
(How many have heard that story!)  The doctors thought it would be very
risky to operate, but they had her there, and there was a lot of money to
be made.  So they decided to take some tests in the hopes that they could
find an excuse to operate.  In spite of the fact that she had  been taking lots of aspirin for her arthritis, smoked like she was the reincarnation of a boiler factory, and had just had a heart attack, they found that her heart was incredibly strong.  In fact, they felt that her heart  was stronger than most people in their 30's!  The good news was that not only did she survive the operation, but also she stopped smoking!  Well worth the operation, don't you think? In my opinion, that was the best thing the doctors ever did for her.  Well, that is what hawthorn and cayenne can do for the heart, and every good herbalist knows it; every good doctor should also know it, but very few do." 


It is a good idea to always have some Cayenne extract on hand for
emergencies.  Dr. Anderson carries capsules of cayenne with him in the
car and whenever he goes hiking, backpacking or mountain climbing.  He
says, "You never know when you may find someone having a heart attack or some other emergency."

The following stories demonstrate only a few of the remarkable emergency
uses of cayenne.

If a hemorrhage occurs in the lungs, stomach, uterus or nose, it is
suggested that a teaspoon of extract (or a teaspoon of cayenne powder in
a cup of hot water) be given every 15 minutes until the crisis has passed. The bleeding should stop in 10-30 seconds.  The reason for this is that rather than the blood pressure being centralized, it is equalized by the Cayenne, and the clotting action of the blood becomes more rapid. For external bleeding, take cayenne internally and pour cayenne directly
on the wound. 

Dr. Anderson, author of Cleanse and Purify Thyself,  tells of one time
when he was on the beach and a man began passing a kidney stone .  The
man took some cayenne, which relieved his pain almost immediately.

A person known to Dr. Anderson had a severe toothache in the middle of
the night on a weekend.  He tried many  things to relieve the pain.
Cayenne was the only thing that helped.

One of the youngest persons to take cayenne was a six-week old baby who was born with chronic asthma.  Dr. John Christopher administered the cayenne using an eyedropper, and it then became possible for the baby to breathe normally.

Dr. Christopher has used cayenne to eliminate allergies, varicose veins,
cramps, constipation, and to increase energy.

Dr. Anderson recommends cayenne to help cleanse the body, increase body heat, improve circulation, and strengthen the eyes.  But above all, Dr. Anderson feels that cayenne is exceptionally beneficial for the heart.

Rich Anderson published the first Cleanse and Purify Thyself in 1988. It
became one of the most popular books on cleansing ever written. With
almost no advertising, this book spread around the world and was
translated into several languages. 

Dr. Richard Schulze - "If you take cayenne pepper in capsules, you may be
wasting your time and never getting the cures I got with my patients."

Historical or traditional use

The potent, hot fruit of cayenne has been used as medicine for centuries.
It was considered helpful for various conditions of the gastrointestinal
tract, including stomachaches, cramping pains, and gas. Cayenne was
frequently used to treat diseases of the circulatory system. It is still
traditionally used in herbal medicine as a circulatory tonic (a substance
believed to improve circulation). Rubbed on the skin, cayenne is a
traditional, as well as modern, remedy for rheumatic pains and arthritis
due to what is termed a counterirritant effect. A counterirritant is
something which causes irritation to a tissue to which it is applied,
thus distracting from the original irritation (such as joint pain in the
case of arthritis).

What is the Scientific Evidence for Cayenne? Bibliography


In a double-blind study, 30 individuals with dyspepsia were given either
2.5 grams daily of red pepper powder (divided up and taken prior to
meals) or placebo for 5 weeks. By the third week of treatment,
individuals taking red pepper were experiencing significant improvements
in pain, bloating, and nausea as compared to placebo, and these relative
improvement lasted through the end of the study. 

A placebo-controlled crossover study failed to find benefit, but it only
enrolled 11 participants, far too few to have much chance of identifying
a treatment effect.

All double-blind studies of topical capsaicin (or cayenne) suffer from
one drawback: it isn't really possible to hide the burning sensation that
occurs during initial use of the treatment. For this reason, such studies
probably aren't truly double-blind. It has been suggested that instead of
an inactive placebo, researchers should use some other substance (such as camphor) that causes at least mild burning. However, such treatments
might also have therapeutic benefits; they have a long history of use for
pain as well. 

Because of these complications, the evidence for topical treatments cited
below is less meaningful than it might at first appear. 


Capsaicin cream is well established as a modestly helpful pain-relieving
treatment for post-herpetic neuropathy (the pain that lingers after an
attack of shingles) peripheral neuropathy (nerve pain that occurs most
commonly as a side effect of diabetes, but may occur with HIV as well as
other conditions), nerve pain after cancer surgery and arthritis.

Capsaicin instilled into the nose may be helpful for cluster headache.
(The fact that this has even been considered a viable treatment option
shows how painful cluster headaches can be!) 

Actual cayenne rather than capsaicin has been tested for pain as well. A
3-week, double-blind trial of 154 individuals with back pain found that
cayenne applied topically as a plaster improved pain to a greater extent
than placebo.

Skin Conditions

A double-blind, placebo-controlled trial of almost 200 individuals found
that use of topical capsaicin can improve itching as well as overall
severity of psoriasis. Benefits were also seen in a smaller double-blind
study of topical capsaicin for psoriasis.

Topical capsaicin is thought to be helpful for various itchy skin conditions, such as prurigo nodularis, but double-blind studies are