How Hot is Hot?
Chilli peppers originated in Bolivia and Paraguay and have been used by humans for at least 9000 years. Although many blame the seeds for harboring the heat, capsaicin is actually more concentrated in the white membranes of the fruit. The brain responds to this burning sensation by producing endorphins, natural painkillers that can produce a feeling of euphoria, sending chilli lovers in search of a hotter "high".
Peppers are rated according to their capsaicin (or capsaicinoid) content, using a scale developed in 1912 by a pharmacist named Scoville. A general rule when selecting chilies - the smaller the pepper, the more intense the heat.
In the garden:
• Red / chilli pepper - The herb (and spice) cayenne is the ripe fruits (called peppers) of a blend of varieties of Capsicum annuum var. minimum and small-fruited varieties of C.
• fructescens from the nightshade family.
• Shrubby annuals, Frost Sensitive.
• Height: ±80 cm; Spread: ±60 cm.
• Full sun; Well drained, composted soil,
• Ideal for container gardening as they look very decorative when in full fruit.
• Pick fruit from Green colour to mature Orange and Red,
• The heat intensity is at its highest when the fruit colours to red,
• Only pick mature fruit if you are planning to dry it for later use.
Use ripe or unripe, fresh or dried Chilies with:
• Vegetables, Grilled vegetables,
• Curries, Pickles, Chutneys, Soups, Stews, Stir-fry,
• All kinds of meat dishes,
• Make a Basic Hot Sauce,
• Drink milk if the burning sensation is out of control, the milk protein casein washes away capsaicin.
Cayenne may be beneficial in the following cases:
• Hot, spicy food may actually benefit your health if it contains liberal amounts of cayenne. A meal rich in cayenne will have a mildly stimulating effect on the body.
• Cayenne is also rich in carotenoids (orange and red coloring compounds), which are receiving current interest for their cancer-protective and strong anti-oxidant properties,
• The pepper is rich in vitamin A, C and E, iron, calcium, magnesium, phosphorous, and B-complex vitamins, beta-carotene, folic-acid,
• Use as a gargle for a sore-throat, Mouth sores and Inflamed gums,
• Debility in convalescence or old age.
• Tonic, Stimulate metabolism, helping the body get rid of excess fat.
• Externally as a liniment or in ointments for neuralgia, neuropathy, pain relief,
• Neural dysfunction in the form of cluster headaches, migraine and phantom limb pain,
• Vasomotor rhinitis,
• Mood Elevation: Enhances production of endorphins, the mood elevating brain chemicals.
• Encourages the adrenal glands to produce corticosteroids.
• Topical: Help ease the terrible burning pain of shingles (herpes zoster), psoriasis and pruritis, for pain relief.
• Improve resistance to help ward of colds and flues,
• Antiseptic, Antimicrobial.
• Colds, Stuffy nose or tight cough, Asthma.
• Stimulates circulation, Stimulant, Varicose veins,
• People with cold hands and feet,
• Hypertension, high cholesterol, blood clots, anti-clotting properties.
• Stimulate release of digestive juices in stomach and intestine,
• Weak digestion and loss of appetite accompanied by gas and sluggish elimination,
• Cayenne can help heal ulcers rather than aggravate them, it has an antibiotic effect effect against Helicobacter pylori , which causes many ulcers,
• It helps to protect the stomach and duodenal wall against bleeding from high doses of aspirin.
Musculo / Skeletal System
• Serves as a local counter-irritant for rheumatism, osteoarthritis and arthritis, Carpal tunnel syndrome,
• Reduce muscle soreness. Studies show that capsaicin may block the feeling of pain by depleting and then blocking the production of "substance P," which is thought to be the main
• chemical messenger of pain from the peripheral sensory nerves to the brain. It may also be involved with the release of inflammatory substances in affected joints of arthritis.
• Speed healing of strains and sprains,
Preparation and dosage:
• Tincture, or ointments or salves that contain it are often effective for relieving mild to moderate muscle aches or pains. The preparations should be applied consistently at least 3 or 4 times daily (up to 5 or 6 times) for up to 2 weeks, or even a month before they are effective. After 4 or 5 months of pain relief, up to 50% of the people who use a capsaicin product may not experience further pain. For those that do, treatment can be continued.
• Redness and a burning sensation sometimes accompany the application, but this usually disappears after two or three weeks. After control of the pain is achieved, the cayenne preparation has to be used continuously for continued relief to occur. Watch for any irritation or redness of the skin locally, which might indicate an individual sensitivity to cayenne, and make sure to keep all cayenne and capsaicin preparations away from the eyes. Unlike mustard, which can blister and burn the skin, cayenne, even in its most powerful forms will not cause these undesirable side effects.
• A cup of tea can be taken for stomach cramps or a cold daily. The strength depends on individual preference.
• 1/4 to 1 ml in water, three times a day or when needed,
• 1-2 drops with other herbal formulations will enhance the action of most herbal agents.
• Avoid therapeutic doses during pregnancy.