Hot for Your Heart: Cayenne

Nature's Miracle Medicine
February 13, 2015 Updated: February 19, 2020

By Michael Edwards, Organic Lifestyle Magazine

In other parts of the world, and increasingly in the states, the medicinal benefits of cayenne are well known. In fact, there are over three thousand studies on the health benefits of capsaicin (cayenne’s active ingredient) and cayenne pepper, according to Dr. Patrick Quillin.

It regulates blood pressure, strengthens the pulse, feeds the heart, lowers cholesterol, thins the blood, cleans the circulatory system, heals ulcers, slows hemorrhaging, speeds healing of wounds, rebuilds damaged tissue, eases congestion, aids digestion, regulates elimination, relieves arthritis and rheumatism, prevents the spread of infection, numbs pain, and more.

If I were allowed only one emergency herbal medicine, it would be cayenne tincture because it stimulates circulation throughout the entire body. Cayenne helps the capillaries, veins, and arteries regain their elasticity of youth. Moreover, when the venous structure becomes filled with mucus, the blood “thickens” and has a harder time circulating. Cayenne moves blood like no other herb. Cayenne tincture should be in everyone’s medicine cabinet. In fact, any holistic health advisor or practicing naturopath should have cayenne as a major component in many of their healing protocols.

While cayenne is amazing by itself, when it is combined with another herb, the results are worth more than the sum of its parts. Capsaicin helps every other herb function better because it stimulates the circulation of blood, which helps get the beneficial bio-chemicals and nutrition to the cells.

Cayenne is an extremely effective treatment for heart and blood circulation problems, palpitations, and cardiac arrhythmia (irregular heart beat). It’s a miracle for congestive heart failure and is beneficial for someone who has any type of circulatory problems, such as high or low blood pressure, elevated cholesterol, high triglycerides, and even varicose veins.

Two teaspoons of cayenne pepper, ground or dried, has 11 calories, an almost none-existent glycemic index, 8.3% of your USRDA of highly bio-available vitamin A. You also get 7.1% of the USRDA of vitamin E, 5.2% of Vitamin B-6, 3.9% of fiber, 3.6% of vitamin C, 3.5% of manganese, and 3.2% of vitamin K.

Daily Cayenne for Prevention and Maintenance

A daily maintenance dosage is 3 teaspoons of cayenne tincture (one teaspoon three times a day). The best benefits of cayenne are realized when taken straight in a liquid form or eating a whole pepper, but for obvious reasons most people will need to build up to this over time. Other alternatives include mixing the powder into food as a seasoning, and drinking cayenne teas. You can also take cayenne capsules.

Paul Abbitt/Hemera/Thinkstock
(Paul Abbitt/Hemera/Thinkstock)

Recipes for Cayenne Use

Obviously you can put cayenne into any food that calls for hot spice, but there are many other ways to realize the health benefits of cayenne.

Super Vitality Morning Juice Drink

Juice ¼ a cup of ginger, and ¼ a cup of lemon.  Add ¼ a cup of pure cranberry and ¾ a cup of spring water or distilled water. Add cayenne to taste. Drink up!

You can also sweeten it up with stevia.

Lemon, Ginger, Cayenne Tea

Bring 1 cup of water to a boil and add 3 tablespoons of ginger (grated, or  finely chopped, and you can also use a garlic press) and ¼ a cup of lemon juice and boil for 30 seconds. Then add the cayenne. Let it steep for five to ten minutes until the ginger is strong and aromatic.

Topical Cayenne Cream

This is amazing for pain relief such as sprains, arthritis, tendonitis, etc. It is also a very effective hair regrowth balm.

In 3 cups of olive oil, mix together 4 tablespoons of ground cayenne, 4 tablespoons of turmeric, and 4 tablespoons of ground ginger.  Stir until the ingredients are thoroughly mixed and then cook over low heat (or use a double broiler with medium heat) for approximately 10 minutes. Add 1/2 cup of beeswax and stir until the beeswax has melted. Remove from heat as soon as the ingredients are blended well (Optional, but highly recommended: add 4 ounces of DMSO). You may also use coconut oil instead of beeswax.  Chill in the refrigerator for 10 minutes and then whisk the concoction thoroughly, Finally, refrigerate for another 20 minutes. If not already in glass, transfer cream to a glass jar with a sealed lid and store in the refrigerator. The cream stays potent for about 3 weeks. Apply as needed for pain, but with this cream, rub in as much as you can and then let it dry before rinsing off. Warning: The turmeric stains badly! You can make this recipe without the turmeric and it still works very well (it’s just more powerful with turmeric).

Tincture

This recipe is one part cayenne to two parts alcohol. The stronger the alcohol is the better it is for the tincture. Vodka works, but Everclear is better. Add ingredients to a jar with a lid and place in a dark place. Shake or stir every other day. The tincture will be ready in four weeks. Once your tincture is ready, strain through cheesecloth (a coffee filter works, too) into a dark colored jar. If you do not have a dark jar, store in a dark place.

Deep Tissue Repair Oil

This formula offers pain relief and speeds up the healing process for muscles, ligaments, and tendons. It is very beneficial, too, for arthritis patients, torn ligaments, pulled muscles, headaches, sore muscles, and maladjusted vertebrae. It works better than anything I’ve ever used as a massage oil; it completely relaxes the body and has a wonderful compounding effect with a good massage. It will often get rid of, or at least reduce, a headache almost instantly if you put a drop on both of your temples and rub it in (or if the headache is near the back, rub into the upper trapezoid close to the base of your skull). Used in conjunction with the Bone, Flesh, and Cartilage Formula for serious injuries and the healing benefits are remarkable. Mix ingredients together in dark colored glass jar:

  • 8 oz. Wintergreen Oil
  • 4 oz. Cold Pressed Organic Virgin Olive Oil
  • 3 oz. Menthol Crystals
  • 2 oz. DMSO
  • 1/2 cup Arnica Flowers (Dry)
  • 1/2 cup Calendula (Marigold Flowers)
  • 1/4 cup Ginger Root
  • 4 tablespoons of Cayenne (or even better, the hottest you can find)

Leave for three weeks and then strain with a cheesecloth and store in a dark colored bottle. To use, apply directly to skin. It doesn’t typically take much; this recipe is potent.

You can also purchase our Deep Tissue Repair Oil here.

Shillington’s Herbal Snuff

For sinus infections, toothaches, gum disease, and migraines, this recipe works wonders. All ingredients should be ground and dried. Mix seven parts goldenseal root powder with seven parts bayberry bark powder, one part cayenne pepper powder, and one part garlic powder. Apply directly to infected tooth, gum infection, or sniff hard for sinus infections, deep infections within the jaw, or migraines. Now hold on for dear life.

Poultice

Mix equal parts cayenne pepper (powder), mullein leaves, and slippery elm powder. Add apple cider vinegar to dampen the mixture.

Capsules, Liquid, or Powder

It depends on the application. Powdered cayenne pepper is simple to use and has a great amount of vitamins, minerals and other nutrients. Liquid cayenne can have increased potency due to the nature of tinctures, and in emergency situations liquid cayenne can be much easier to administer. Capsules are great for getting many of the benefits of cayenne without the taste, but do be careful. Too many capsules of cayenne on an empty stomach can cause nausea just like taking it in another form. The only difference is a ten minute delay.

What Type of Cayenne To Use

The spiciness of peppers is measured in Scoville Heat Units (S.H.U). While this article mentions cayenne almost every time it refers to the spicy peppers, any hot pepper with a high Scoville heat unit has the awesome health benefits we’re discussing within the article.

Most cayenne sold in stores is about 35,000 S.H.U. This is not strong enough to get the best results for injury applications, pain relief, or heart and stroke conditions. But it’s fine for daily use to help prevent health issues and promote vitality.

For amazing results using cayenne, or for emergency treatments, or injury pain relief and healing, go with 100,000 S.H.U. or more. Habanero peppers that you can find in most grocery stores are about 350,000 S.H.U. And tinctures sold on Green Lifestyle Market are over 100,000 SHU.

The more potent your cayenne tincture, the less you will need to use. This is important because it may not be possible to get a person in the middle of a stroke or a heart attack to drink a full cup of cayenne tea.

Epoch Times Photo
(Shutterstock)

Natural Remedies with Cayenne

The list of ailments cayenne can help with are staggering, but there are caveats to be aware of, aside from the burn. Be sure to check out the warnings at the end of the article.

Shingles

For relief from shingles, cayenne may be ingested and applied as a cream. Capsaicin compounds block pain signals from nerves just under the skin. Apply to blisters several times a day. We advise you first test the cream on a small area of skin to insure there is no adverse reaction.

Diabetes

Diabetes wreaks havoc on the circulatory system. Neuropathy and tissue death of the extremities may result. Current research suggests capsaicin encourages regeneration of damaged nerves and improves circulation, which helps prevent infections such as foot ulcers that may lead to complications and subsequent amputations.

Animal trials of capsaicin injections (for animals with Type 1 diabetes) show decreases in blood sugar levels, restoration of normal insulin, and when neuropeptides are added, an elimination of symptoms for several months.

Metabolism/ Weight Loss/Fat Oxidation

Cayenne pepper is an appetite suppressant that also boosts metabolism.

In a 3-month study published in the British Journal of Nutrition in 2003, participants who were given 135 grams of capsaicin a day burned more body fat than those participants who were given a placebo.

While it can be taken in capsule form, other research has shown that eating it with food–actually tasting it, is most beneficial for weight loss.  Tasting it also resulted in fewer food cravings.

It is important to note that long term use may decrease cayenne’s effectiveness in weight loss, as the study conducted showed that the greatest benefit was seen in those who did not regularly eat spicy foods.

Psoriasis

Capsaicin helps relieve the pain and itching of psoriasis by blocking the communication system of sensory nerves. Studies have also shown that capsaicin cream, used for a week or more, can result in healing the skin–no more psoriasis plaques. Be sure to avoid mucous membranes and the eyes.

Colds and Allergies

Cayenne pepper has anti-inflammatory properties and is rich in quercetin, a bioflavonoid that prevents the release of histamines and other inflammatory chemicals that cause allergy symptoms. It also helps break up and loosen mucous, eases the pain of a sore throat, clears sinuses, and helps kill infection including viruses.

High Cholesterol

According to an Australian research team published in the British Journal of Nutrition, cayenne pepper dilates blood vessels and can lower cholesterol. Capsaicin causes LDL to resist oxidation for a longer period, which reduces the risks of heart attacks, high blood pressure, and stroke. Capsaicin also cleans the arteries, helping to flush excess LDL cholesterol and fatty triglycerides.

Blood Pressure

Cayenne is a popular home treatment for mild high blood pressure. Due to its ability to improve circulation and dilate blood vessels, cayenne works very quickly to bring down blood pressure in people who are not using drugs (like smoking tobacco) that raise the blood pressure. For the same reason, ingesting cayenne can help those who suffer from cold hands and feet.

Arthritis

Ointments applied topically offer temporary relief and some long-term benefits for those suffering from the pain of arthritis. Taking it internally offers benefits as well and is better for long-term results, but the effects are not as noticeable or as fast.  Capsaicin triggers the release of endorphins in the brain, which has a pain relieving effect similar to that of morphine. Check out the cayenne cream recipe above for immediate arthritis relief or try the Deep Tissue Repair Oil.

Cancer

Multiple clinical studies in conducted in Japan, England, and the United States has shown capsaicin forces cancer cells to self-terminate. Ingest regularly and also, for skin cancer, apply topically. Along with a detox, a healthy diet full of fresh organic raw produce and a few other natural cancer cures, cancer is rarely something that anyone need fear. Check out our issue that we dedicated to natural cancer remedies for more information.

Ulcers and Digestive Issues

Due to the fact that cayenne pepper is spicy, many people were under the impression that it causes ulcers. This was due to the fact that most people who eat conventionally get their spicy food in the form of junk food that causes ulcerities. Avoiding junk food is imperative to anyone who wants to heal their digestive system, and capsaicin actually heals stomach and intestinal ulcers. Capsaicin improves digestion by stimulating the peristaltic movement of the intestines, helps to regulate stomach secretions, works as a pain reliever to relieve ulcer caused pains, and can reduce the amount of acid your stomach produces. Capsaicin also kills the bacteria that cause ulcers including H. pylori.  More than just a treatment for ulcers, it treats health issues such as abdominal cramps, acidity, gas and bloating. It also helps with urine elimination and bowel evacuation.

Heartburn

The spice can relieve heartburn and indigestion, but apple cider vinegar works faster and is much easier to take. For a serious case of indigestion, try 4 ounces of apple cider vinegar with a pinch of cayenne.

Headaches & Migraines

Cayenne tea in the morning (or cayenne in any food) can prevent headaches, including migraines. But if you need to get rid of an existing migraine, or you need to stop one that is just getting started, snorting cayenne, while “hardcore” and not for the faint of heart, is one of the few migraines remedies that has been shown to provide immediate relief for most people.

Hemorrhaging, and Open Wounds, Cuts

During the civil war, where shrapnel injuries were common, amputations were performed regularly. Some of the doctors would apply ground cayenne to the open wounds gushing with blood. But do not ingest cayenne when bleeding badly, as this is not the best time to utilize its blood thinning properties. But when used externally, cayenne pepper is a vasoconstrictor, which means it tightens the blood vessels.

On an open wound, slap copious amounts of cayenne pepper and hold it down with pressure for one minute. Within the first 10 seconds, the smaller veins and arteries will stop bleeding, and in about 60 seconds, larger arteries will slow or stop bleeding as well.

With cases of severe menstrual issues or post childbirth, women can develop uncontrolled bleeding. An old remedy was to mix one cup of warm water with 6 tablespoons of cayenne pepper. Use a turkey baster to inject the cayenne mixture into the vagina hold it in for as long as the person can stand it.

Capsaicin has other healing properties as well,and should be used to speed the healing. It reduces the likelihood of infection in small cuts. Again, it’s a great topical pain reliever.

Fainting

When a person is feeling faint, light headed, and about to pass out, or just need a wake-me-up, taking cayenne orally in liquid or powdered form will snap the person to attention, and can even revive one who has completely fainted and is unconscious.

Circulation – Cardiovascular

Cayenne helps arteries, veins, and capillaries regain elasticity. It also helps regulate the flow of blood in the whole body from head to feet. Cayenne strengthens the pulse and boosts the overall health of the entire cardiovascular system. For increased energy, better detoxification, reduction of cold hands and feet, and to promote overall healing, better blood circulation is a requirement.

Heart Attack & Stroke

A heaping tablespoon of cayenne tincture (or extract) in a glass of warm water, or 10 dropperfuls (half oz.)is the treatment/dosage needed for someone having a heart attack or a stroke. If drinking a glass of fluid is not possible, apply cayenne drops directly into the mouth. This is where a more powerful extract like habanero could come in handy. The higher Scoville units of around 100,000 to 400,000 are ideal.

It’s best to know if the person suffering is on blood thinning medications before using cayenne, but with a very serious stroke or a heart attack, it really is worth the risk. See below for precautions to be aware of.

Hair Regrowth

The most common cause of alopecia is poor blood circulation. Cayenne pepper, when applied topically, increases blood circulation. Start with ¼ a cup of fresh onion juice, ¼ a cup of fresh ginger juice, and 1/4 a cup of olive oil or coconut oil (may need to melt at a low heat in order to mix). Add two tablespoons of cayenne powder or a liquid cayenne. Mix well, and apply directly to scalp. If hair is long, take the time to message into scalp. This remedy works amazingly well, but it takes a few months to see the results. It’s also really good for your hair! Refrigerate when not in use, but try to use it all up within a day, as the fresher the juice, the more potent the formula.

Skin Conditions

Cayenne prevents and treats acne by increasing blood flow to the skin and by killing pimple causing fungi and bacteria. Cayenne pepper is rich in vitamin C, vitamin Em and several anti-oxidants that help to heal the epidermis. Apply topically, and ingest as well, because ingesting cayenne pepper has shown to result in a considerable decrease in acne on the skin.

Hemorrhoids

Hemorrhoids are inflammation of the veins in the anus and rectum. Cayenne pepper is a powerful anti-inflammatory. You can apply directly to the affected area for best results. This will burn. It will itch. It is not pleasant. But it works faster than ingesting cayenne. We recommend doing both if you can handle it (and if possible).

Sinus Infection

Cayenne pepper is an excellent home remedy for a sinus infection. It helps to break and flush out mucus. Take a few pinches of cayenne pepper powder and dab inside your infected nostril. It’s better if you apply this remedy at night just before going to the bed.

Sore Throat

A very effective remedy for sore throats is to gargle with apple cider vinegar, a pinch of unrefined sea salt, and cayenne. This will not only help kill the bacteria, fungi, or virus causing the sore throat, but it will also attract blood to the tonsils to help healing.

Toothaches

Toothaches are caused by an infection. Kill the infection and attract blood flow to the area with a remedy that is pretty tough to take, but it works amazingly well! Take a pinch of cayenne, a few drops of clove oil, a crushed clove of garlic, and some oil of oregano, and mush and mix it all together. Apply directly to the pain, and smear around it as well. Breathe through your mouth and hold it as long as you can, but no more than 5 minutes. It’s painful, but not nearly as painful as a bad toothache, and it will provide immediate relief. Do this three times a day and your toothache will be a thing of the past.

Side Effects and Warnings

You need to stop taking cayenne (and garlic, and any other foods that thin the blood) 7 days before surgery due to the blood thinning properties.

If you are allergic to latex, bananas, kiwi, chestnuts, or avocados, you may also be allergic to cayenne.

Anyone taking blood thinner medications should avoid cayenne and other peppers with high levels of capsicum due to increased the risk of blood vessels rupturing, which may lead to uncontrolled hemorrhaging.

If large amounts of cayenne are ingested after a heart attack or stroke, there is the possibility of an increased risk of an injury known as reperfusion. When blood supply is cut off from tissues long enough, tissue death can occur due to lack of oxygen. When the blood supply is then restored, this leads to inflammation and tissue destruction in part from oxidative damage from the increase of blood and oxygen back to the tissues. It has not been proven, but in theory one could increase the damage from reperfusion injuries by increasing blood flow to the dead tissues. In our opinion the risks are worth the benefits, but the theory is sound and we would be remiss if we didn’t mention it.

*Image of “chili” via Shutterstock