Cayenne pepper, also called red pepper or capsicum, bears a rather extensive range of potential health benefits.

Utilized externally and internally, cayenne pepper isn't costly and is widely available.

Here are a few of the purported benefits of this colorful spice.

1. Arthritis

It seems ironic that a spice that causes pain on the tongue might actually help pain in the body such as arthritis. But capsaicin, a chemical in cayenne pepper that accounts for its “hotness,” alleviates pain by stimulating the body's own pain-relieving mechanism – namely, endorphins. Cayenne also contains pain-relieving compounds named salicylates. (Aspirin contains a form of salicylate called acetylsalicylic acid.)

You are able to consume cayenne pepper internally in capsules or add it to foods and beverages (try tomato juice). Using cayenne on the skin at the site of pain is likewise effective – research has clearly demonstrated that capsaicin creams relieve pain when applied to arthritic joints. It seemingly blunts local pain receptors, and it also steps up blood flow to the region.

2. Ulcer prevention

The utilization of cayenne pepper to handle ulcers might seem unreasonable. But contrary to popular American belief, hot peppers don't lead to ulcers. Red pepper might, in fact, protect the stomach lining from developing an ulcer. It's been shown to protect lab animals' stomachs from high doses of aspirin that would typically lead to ulcers.

3. Colds, influenza, and sore throat

Cayenne pepper is antibacterial and promotes sweating, which means it can genuinely help battle infections in the throat and upper-respiratory region, such as colds, flu and sore throat. When blended with garlic in a broth, it's a superior early treatment for colds and influenza.

4. Circulatory benefits

Cayenne steps up circulation and makes the blood less likely to clot, according to James A. Duke, PhD. Prevention of clot formation helps deflect scenarios that may give rise to heart attacks and strokes. The aspirin-like compounds “thin” the blood like aspirin itself is reported to do.

5. Weight control

A study in England showed as much as a twenty-five percent increase in metabolic rates – i.e., how quickly you burn calories – in persons who consumed a teaspoonful each of red pepper sauce and mustard at each meal. Also, if you consume hot and spicy food you'll be likely to drink more, inducing a feeling of fullness that will help prevent overindulging. Americans, though, tend to add spicy hot pepper sauces to high-fat foods, so make sure you do not sabotage your weight loss attempt by using cayenne in high-fat, high-calorie foods.

6. Hypertension

As mentioned above, cayenne facilitates circulation. The salicylates act like aspirin, thinning the blood but without the stomach irritation that may occur with aspirin, which in turn benefits high blood pressure or hypertension.

This humble spice isn't only a lively condiment. It has numerous health benefits and is considered safe.

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