Herb Basics: The Many Cayenne Benefits

| July/August 2003

Cayenne (Capsicum annuum) has been used since ancient times to treat mouth sores and inflamed gums. Its key chemical constituent, capsaicin, is a powerful healer.

• Add 1 teaspoon cayenne powder to 1 tablespoon vegetable oil to make a paste. Apply topically to ease the pain of cold sores or aching joints. The capsaicin helps desensitize nerve endings. Avoid getting this mixture near your eyes or tender parts.

• Taken internally, in tincture or capsule form, cayenne helps invigorate the blood and improve circulation. It also stimulates secretion of the digestive juices, thereby aiding digestion.

• Make a sore-throat gargle by adding a pinch of the powder to a cup of warm water, but be careful — it’s hot! Start with a very small pinch.

• Cayenne oil can be used for sore muscles — it helps stimulate blood flow and warms the affected areas. Soak 1/2 cup cayenne powder in 1 cup vegetable oil for 10 days. Strain the oil and bottle for use. Rub on sore muscles.

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