The cayenne pepper is the hot chili pepper of the *Capsicum annuum *plant – a native to northern South America and southern North America. A nightshade fruit that is related to the bell pepper, jalapeno and paprika, cayenne peppers are often dried and ground into a powder and then used to prepare spicy meals. Many cultures also like to add them to cakes, chocolates and even beverages.
Apart from their various uses in the kitchen, cayenne pepper has significant healing properties too:
- Natural Painkillers – Being rich in the active compound capsaicin makes cayenne pepper a great natural painkiller. The hotter a chili, the more capsaicin it contains, and therefore greater its painkilling capacities.
- *Cardiovascular Support *– The capsaicin in cayenne peppers also makes it a vasodilator, substance that causes blood vessels to dilate. This helps to reduce plaque build-up in the arteries, thus decreasing the risk of high blood pressure and heart disease.
- Increases Metabolism and Reduces Blood Sugar – Studies have shown cayenne pepper as a good food for diabetics or anyone wanting to avoid excess blood sugar, and also as a metabolism enhancer (which can lead to weight-loss in individuals).
- Boosts Immunity and Vision – Just one teaspoon of cayenne pepper contains our daily recommended intake of vitamin A, an essential antioxidant that provides our immune system first line defense against pathogens. Vitamin A-rich foods like cayenne pepper can also prevent age-related macular degeneration and are even known to reverse deteriorating eyesight.