Cayenne and Chili Powder Profile Also known as- Capsicum annum, Capsicum spp, Sweet Pepper, Hot Pepper, (Other varieties of cultivars include Paprika, African Bird Pepper, and Habanero) PLEASE NOTE! Cayenne and Chili are the same thing and contrary to popular myth, the difference in their names have noting to do with either heat units or origins.
Introduction The Capsicum family includes bell peppers, red peppers, paprika, and pimento, but the most famous medicinal members of the family are cayenne and chile. The tasty hot peppers have long been used in many of the world's cuisines, but their greatest use in health comes from, surprisingly, conventional medicine.
Constituents 1,8-cineole, 2-octanone, alanine, alpha-carotene, alpha-linoleic acid, alpha-phellandrene, arginine, ascorbic acid, beta-carotene, betaine, campesterol, capsaicin, capsanthin, carvone, fiber, folacin, glutamic acid, hesperidin, isoleucine, isovaleric acid, kaempferol, manganese, myrcene, p-coumaric acid, potassium, proline, quercetin, scopoletin, solanine, thiamin, thujone, tryptophan, valine, zeaxanthin, zinc.
Parts Used The fruit, fresh or dried, chopped or powdered.
Typical Preparations Widely used in cooking. Most often compounded as a cream for external use, rarely brewed into a tea for internal use.
Summary The burning sensation of hot peppers is a reaction of the central nervous system to capsaicin; unlike horseradish, wasabi, garlic, ginger, and mustard, capsaicin only causes the sensation of damage, not real damage to tissues. This sensation of pain, however, depletes a chemical called substance P, and when substance P is used up, the ongoing tissue damage of arthritis, shingles, cluster headaches, fibromyalgia, or lower back injury does not result in pain. Eating hot peppers can also deplete pain chemicals in the stomach. Peppers do not actually cause heartburn or ulcers. They merely cause the sensation of pain, depleting substance P, so other conditions cannot cause pain. Eating foods seasoned with cayenne or chile may even protect the stomach against damage by aspirin, ibuprofen, or other NSAID pain relief medications. Capsaicin creams can also reduce itching in psoriasis.
Precautions Don't touch your eyes with your hands after you have handled capsaicin cream. Excessive use internally may result in gastro-intestinal upset.