The Health Benefits of Cayenne Pepper

By Kyla Miller, R.H.N.;

Cayenne pepper comes from red, hot chilli peppers. It is also known as the African red pepper, American red pepper, Spanish pepper, bird pepper, or Guinea pepper. It's a perennial plant that grows up to three feet. The plant is covered with bright crimson colored fruits (also known as berries) that, when fresh, contain plump white seeds.
To make cayenne powder, the peppers or fruit are dried and ground, or pulped and baked into cakes, which are then finely ground and then sifted to make the powdered spice.

This powdered spice is well known to cooks and chefs the world over but its true value lies in its medicinal properties.

Cayenne Pepper Nutrition Facts

Cayenne pepper is very high in some key vitamins, namely vitamins A, the B vitamin complex, vitamin C, calcium, vitamin K, niaicin, iron, and the minerals potassium and manganese. It is highly beneficial for the heart and its high concentration of potassium is a key component of that benefit.

Cayenne pepper's bright red color indicates its high content of beta-carotene or specifically pro-vitamin A. Cayenne is highly regarded as "the anti-infection" vitamin as its high concentration of vitamin A is essential for epithelial tissues and mucous membranes. The body's first line of defence against invading pathogens is the health epithelial tissues and the mucous membranes that line the nasal passages, urinary tract, anus, lungs and intestinal tract.

Key Health Benefits of Cayenne Peppers

Besides its culinary uses, its medicinal uses are wide and varied. In fact, you will often find it used in other herbal formulas. By itself, though, it certainly is highly beneficial as well. It's been used for almost everything ill you can imagine. Here's a short list of some of its benefits and uses:
Cayenne pepper increases metabolism by immediately influencing the venous structure. Its effects on the circulatory system are amazing as it feeds the vital elements into the cell structure of capillaries, veins, arteries and helps adjust blood pressure to normal levels. Further benefits derived from improved circulation are warming of the body and healing of varicose veins.

Cayenne cleans the arteries as well, helping to rid the body of LDL cholesterol and triglycerides.

Cayenne is also great for the stomach and the intestinal tract. It stimulates the peristaltic motion of the intestines and aids in assimilation and elimination.

Cayenne peppers have antifungal properties. They have been shown in some studies to be active against phomopsis and collectotrichum -- both are fungal pathogens.

Cayenne can be used to relieve migraines. Once cayenne is in the system, it immediately goes to work.

It can stop heart attacks! Famed herbalist Dr. John Christopher said if he could get a patient to drink a glass of warm cayenne pepper water, it would literally immediately stop the heart attack. Why? Because it immediately equalizes the blood pressure and feeds the heart with the nutrients it needs to function properly.

Cayenne is useful in alleviating allergies, muscle cramps, and heartburn.

These are just a few of the amazing health benefits associated with cayenne consumption. There are many more.

Incorporating Cayenne into Your Diet

The Scoville Heat Unit (SHU) rating of the cayenne pepper you're using should be known. Most cayenne is between 30,000 to 50,000 SHUs. Some, though, like the African Birdseye cayenne pepper powder can come in anywhere from 90,000 to 140,000! Needless to say, you should be mindful of your dosages of this until your body acclimates to its heat.

The best way to incorporate cayenne into your diet is by drinking a glass of cayenne pepper water at least once a day. However, if this does not work in our routine, there is also a drink referred to by some as the “master cleanser” that can be done while fasting. It consists of 4 cups water, juice from 2lemons, 1 tbsp of honey or maple syrup, and 1/8-1/4 tsp of cayenne. Cayenne can also be taken in capsule form; however, the benefits will not be as immediate as when taking it straight. Eating whole peppers is also healthy, not only for its nutritional content but for its fibre. Finally, cayenne powder can be added to just about any recipe. (Recipe tip: try adding cayenne with recipes that contain avocado. The fatty oils of the avocado complement the hot spice of the cayenne).

In Conclusion

Please do your own research and objective thinking on this topic. If cayenne is right for you, you will no doubt reap many health benefits from including it in your diet.

Your question: How often do you eat cayenne pepper? (post your comments below)

Prescription for Nutritional Healing; Phyllis A. Balch, CNC

About the Author : Kyla Miller is the co-founder of She has overcome illness through dietary/lifestyle changes, and practicing a positive mindset daily. Kyla is a Registered Holistic Nutritionist and is currently studying to become a Reiki Master.


  1. So... how do you make cayenne water? How much per 8 ounces? A pinch? Two? A teaspoon? I should like to try this.

  2. Hi Mikelo! Thank you for your comment! Essentially it is based on your preference. start out with a pinch and if you feel that is not enough than add another until you have determined the right "taste" for you.

    ~With Love

  3. I just tweeted this article. Cayenne pepper IS truly amazing, but I don't mess with drinking it. I used to be a salt-a-holic, but have over the past 4 months switched to sprinkling cayenne pepper on everything, everyday, not just a light sprinkle either, it's pretty comparable to my old salt habit and it's hot, but it works, I no longer have intestinal issues, I have regular bowel movements, I no longer get canker sores in my mouth, my skin has cleared up and I do not have allergy symptoms or get sick, whereas before if anyone would even so much as sneeze in my direction I would catch a cold. I am a true believer in natural/herbal cures and this amazing pepper is at the top of my list of wonderful natural healers. I challenge anyone to try it for themselves, you won't be sorry you did.

  4. One amazing quality of the cayenne pepper is that it is alkaline rather than acidic like many of my favorite spices. I had to lay off spicy food after I was diagnosed with GERD and found out that cayenne would allow me to enjoy some spice in my dishes. Not only has it allowed me to enjoy spicy foods again but digestive issues and heartburn/ chest pains have decreased a lot since I have started adding it to my diet along with lots of fruit and vegetables.


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