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Cayenne - Herbal Wisdom Wednesday

capsicum annuum cayenne herbalwisdomwednesday

Cayenne (Capsicum annuum) is quite an extraordinary herb.  Not only is it a flavorful, spicy addition to a meal, it also contains tons of vitamins and has a myriad of medicinal uses both internally and applied externally.  Since August is the traditional time of harvest for this capital capsicum, we thought it was the perfect time to share its wonderful qualities with you!


Cayenne peppers (along with the related bell and jalapeño peppers) originated in Central and South America, though the name "Cayenne" comes from the capital city of Cayenne in French Guiana. It aids digestion, is anti-inflammatory, and helps reduce pain among its many gifts. 

Cayenne is high in vitamins A, B, C, calcium, iron, and phosphorus. Consuming small amounts of cayenne can increase salivary secretions and improve digestive secretions. Cayenne has a warming effect which can be beneficial for those who tend to feel cold. It can help to increase blood flow to the extremities and is useful for individuals who suffer from cold hands and feet when consumed in small amounts internally. It can also be used in small quantities in a formula context, as a catalyst or activator to boost the effects of the other herbs. It will increase blood circulation and it acts as a carrier, which aids in directing the other herbs in a formula to their respective locations.

**Caution: Keep cayenne out reach or away from children and pets. Avoid touching the eyes or other sensitive areas after handling cayenne. Avoid using cayenne directly on the skin without dilution of some kind.**

Method and Dosage:

How:  tea, powder, capsules, oil, food, minor wounds

How much: Start off with one eighth or less of a teaspoon a few times a day until you and your system are used to it.  Increase to one teaspoon divided over 2 to 3 doses daily.  Some sources recommend one teaspoon three times a daily to address specific health issues as a short term method.  As with any herb or spice for health purposes, I suggest you purchase organic cayenne pepper from a reliable source.

Tea:  Start with a quarter of a teaspoon (or less) in a small amount of warm water (a quarter to half a cup) and use a straw to get it down quickly.  The straw does help bypass much of the mouth.  If you prefer, you can add more warm water – it doesn’t have to be hot – and sip it as a tea.  Eventually, try to work up to a half a teaspoon daily.  If you have a few issues such as a headache, high blood pressure, a cold coming on or even hemorrhoids increase to a few times daily.

If it is too much heat for you, after ingesting, hold a small amount of yoghurt or milk in your mouth.  Almost instant relief.

Capsules:  If you want an instant effect taking it orally in liquid form is the best way as its action begins to enter the body through the membrane of the mouth.  Capsules may dissolve in the stomach or later in the intestine.  This is not a recommended way to take cayenne as it will not be evenly distributed and absorbed a little at a time.

Oil:  Some people find that buying (or making) cayenne oil and taking it dropper wise is easier for them.  Others carry a small dropper bottle with them in case of emergency such as heart attack. or even emergency care for wounds as it staunches the blood.


Basic Cayenne Salve
1/2 cup Olive Oil
2 Tbs (15g) Cayenne powder
1/2 oz Beeswax
Double Boiler (A heat-safe bowl in a pot filled 1/4 with water works too)
Cheesecloth (or loose-weave Muslin cloth)

Infuse cayenne into olive oil in double boiler. (Heat oil and cayenne until warm. Let it set for about 20 minutes, then turn heat again.  Do this for 1-2 hours depending on desired strength). Once infused, strain through cheesecloth. Reserve infused oil.  Heat beeswax in double boiler until melted.  Stir in infused oil until beeswax and oil have thoroughly combined.  Immediately pour into jars or tins (makes roughly 4oz).  Let it cool and label.

*We also have a wonderful pain relieving Arnica liniment containing cayenne here.

Sore Throat Gargle:
1/2 cup Apple Cider Vinegar
1 cup Sage tea (made strong)
2-3 teaspoons salt
Pinch of Cayenne

This Rosemary Gladstar-inspired recipe may not be the tastiest but is quite effective to ease sore throat and laryngitis symptoms.  Combine all ingredients and  gargle frequently throughout the day.

Fire Cider:
1 part Garlic gloves (chopped or minced)
1 part Horseradish Root (grated)
1 part Onion (chopped)
1/2 part fresh Ginger Root (grated)
1-2 pinches Cayenne powder or 3-5 chopped fresh peppers
Honey (to taste)
Apple Cider Vinegar.

Combine all ingredients to fill a jar 1/4 - 1/2 way full.  Cover with vinegar.  Allow to infuse for 2-3 weeks, then strain and add honey to taste!

A Pinch-full of Cayenne to stop Bleeding!

Apply a very small amount of  cayenne powder to minor cuts to staunch bleeding.  Can be combined with Goldenseal Root powder for an anti-bacterial effect.

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