The many pepper benefits have been known for centuries. Pepper, also known as chili and paprika, was the most sought-after spice, both the sweet and the hot varieties, by the Maya people. It was one of the first plants the Spanish carried to Europe after the discovery. The consumption of pepper soon spread all over Europe.
Pepper Scientific Facts
- Scientific Name – Capsicum frutescens L.
- Other Names – Paprika, chili, cayenne.
- French – Piment, poivron.
- Spanish – Pimiento, chile, guindilla.
- Environment – Cultivated as vegetable or spice in almost all tropical and warm countries.
- Description – Plant of the Solanaceae family, with 50-odd varieties. The fruit is red, green, or yellow and spiked if it is a hot pepper.
- Parts of the plant used medicinally – The fruits.
All pepper varieties contain an alkaloid called capsaicin (hot peppers contain a higher amount) and carotene and vitamins (especially vitamin C). Hot pepper of chili increases the production of gastric and intestinal juices, thus activating all digestive organs. Peppers are recommended for those suffering from bloated stomach or slow digestion, gastric ptosis (fallen stomach), and lack of appetite. Nonetheless, the dose should be small since the capsaicin peppers can cause gastritis and enteritis.
In external applications, hot chili peppers have rubefacient (irritate the skin and the mucous membrane) and revulsive properties. It attracts the blood towards the skin, thus reducing the congestion of the internal organs and tissues. Therefore, peppers treat rheumatism, lumbago, stiff neck, and muscular aches.
A well-known herbalist of the mid-20th century, Dr. Christopher, said that if he could only use two herbs, he would prefer cayenne and charcoal. This herb possesses a potent ability to attract blood to specific body parts. This quality is vital because it is the blood that brings about healing. Cayenne can stimulate the action of other herbs when combined. It can stop heart attacks and is used to treat lack of vitality, indigestion, colds, and cases of flu.
It can treat and is highly effective as a fomentation against wounds, sores, pleurisy, inflammation, and rheumatism. In addition, it is suitable for treating the kidneys, pancreas, and spleen.
Cayenne is helpful in cases of arthritis, arteriosclerosis, ulcers, jaundice, infections, indigestion, coughs, convulsions, colds, chills, bronchitis, high or low blood pressure, bleeding, varicose veins, and asthma.
The herb can treat painful joints, frostbite, varicose veins, and swellings in external preparations. It can be rubbed to alleviate inflammation and toothaches and stop bleeding when sprinkled on cuts and wounds.
Warning! Overuse of cayenne can lead to gastroenteritis, pleurisy, and kidney damage. Prolonged use on the skin can raise blisters and cause dermatitis. It becomes an irritant when cooked. For best results, use this herb as a medicine and in minimal amounts as a food additive. Apply with gloves.
Infusion – one teaspoon to one cup boiling water, taken in ½ fluid ounce doses. Pour water over cayenne. Tincture – Take five to fifteen drops three times daily. Fluid Extract – Take ten to fifteen drops three times daily. Oil – For toothache, clean the cavity and place cotton saturated with the oil into it; use sparingly because it is potent. Powder (internal) – Take one to two #0 capsules (1 to 10 grains) three times daily. Powder (external) – The powder can be placed directly on the wound for external bleeding.
Sweet pepper or paprika (capsicum annuum L.) has anti-flatulent and laxative properties when eaten raw or roasted. As with hot peppers, sweet peppers increase the production of gastric juices. They are difficult to digest if fried. Sweet peppers contain carotene (provitamin A). Due to their low content of carbohydrates and fats, they are especially recommended for diabetic and obese people.
People suffering from gastritis, gastric and duodenal ulcers, colitis, or hemorrhoids, must abstain from eating hot peppers. Since the capsaicin, to which the hotness of chili peppers is due, is eliminated through the urine and irritates the mucous membrane covering the urinary tract, men suffering from prostate disorders and women suffering from cystitis must also abstain from hot chili peppers. They can cause urinary retention and inflammation of the urinary bladder.
How to use Pepper Benefits
- As a vegetable, in any cooking recipe.
- Pepper powder when dry (paprika).
- Poultices with hot chili peppers are applied to the painful area, then covered with a wool cloth.
- George D. Pamplona-Roger, M.D. “Encyclopedia of Medicinal Plants.” George D. Pamplona-Roger, M.D. Encyclopedia of Medicinal Plants. Ed. Francesc X. Gelabert. Vols. 1 San Fernando de Henares: Editorial Safeliz, 2000. 354. Print. [pepper benefits]
- Vance Ferrell Harold M. Cherne, M.D. The Natural Remedies Encyclopedia [Book]. – Altamont, TN: Harvestime Books, 2010. – Vol. Seventh Edition: 7: pp. 150.