Cayenne (La Jiao)
Botanical Name: Capsicum annuum
Besides flavoring foods, cayenne is considered wonderful for treating heart and digestive issues. It is an herb that is loved or hated depending on who you talk to because of its strong flavor profile and hot spiciness.
Below is an overview of cayenne, combining and interpreting the best of Western Science, Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), Shamanism, Folklore and more. Gain a balanced and thorough understanding of the healing properties of cayenne.
Western Name: Cayenne
Also Known As: Red Pepper, African Pepper, African Chillies, Guinea Spice, Cow-horn Pepper, Bird Pepper
Organs/Systems: Heart, Skin, Circulation
Key Western Actions & Medicinal Uses: Anti-inflammatory, Stomachic, Aphrodisiac, Stimulant, Alterative, Rubefacient, Carminative, Digestive, Antiseptic, Diaphoretic.
Pin Yin: La Jiao
Also Known As: La Jiao Fan Yi, Fructus Capsici
Meridians: Heart, Spleen, Stomach
Key TCM Actions & Medicinal Uses: Promotes Yang Qi/Tonifies Spleen/Stomach: Aids poor digestion, warms the body, diarrhea, vomiting. Promotes Circulation of Qi and Blood: Moves blood and qi, opening channels and clearing obstructions. Blood Cleanser. Dissipates Cold Stagnation: Frostbite, pain due to cold, arthritis.
Parts Most Frequently Used: Whole pepper
Flavors/Temps: Hot, Spicy, Pungent
Caution: Too much can upset your stomach, but people have been known to take three tablespoons a day and be just fine. Not recommended for anyone suffering from yin deficient disharmonies.
History/Folklore: There is a considerable amount of lore dedicated to cayenne as a South and Central American herb of the Mayans and Aztecs. Considered a tonic for the heart, kidneys, lungs, pancreas, spleen and stomach. It is also said to increase fertility and delay senility. In particular, it is considered good at treating heart and circulatory problems. It is said to be a lifesaver in the event of a heart attack. A cup of cayenne tea (tsp of cayenne in cup of hot water) will help calm the heart. Cayenne stimulates the flow of stomach secretions and saliva. It is also considered to improve the effectiveness of other herbs so used as an adjunct herb in formulas. Some recommend placing cayenne inside the nose to relieve hay fever, migraine headaches and sinus infections. It is mentioned by Culpeper in his Complete Herbal of 1653 as “guinea pepper” a misnomer for “guiana pepper.” It can be grown in the garden to deter unwanted spirits and scattered around your house it will break bad spells. It is added to love potions to insure passion and make encounters “spicy.”
Cayenne makes a very good eye wash, and despite the fact that too much can upset the stomach, because it is “hot moving” herb, it is surprisingly an excellent remedy for stomach ulcers.
Research has found that capsaicin, a key constituent in Cayenne, reduces the amount of substance “P,” which is the chemical that carries pain messages to the brain. When “P” is blocked, a person experiences relief from pain. Using Cayenne in ointments and plasters takes advantage of this property for easing the pain of injuries and arthritis.
In Chinese medicine, the hot nature of Cayenne suggests it not be used for yin deficient disharmonies.
Alkaloids, Capsaicin, Capsacutin, Capsaicin, Capsantine, Capsico PABA, Fatty acids, Flavonoids, Sugars, Carotene, Volatile Oil, Vitamins A, B1 B2, B3, B5, B6, B9 and high Vitamin C levels. Potassium, Riboflavin and Manganese are also present.
King of Herbs
Considered the “King of Herbs” for its ability to heal baffling health problems. Prized for thousands of years for its healing powers.
The Capsaisin in Cayenne helps prevent ulcers, dilates blood vessels and speeds metabolism, aiding weight loss.
A French City
Cayenne is named after a French city in French Guiana.
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