Cayenne Pepper (Lal Mirch or Capsicum annuum)
Cayenne Pepper is commonly called “Lal Mirchi”, or Indian Pepper. Cayenne Pepper is belonging to the Capsicum family and is having moderate heat on scoville scale (used to measure the pungency of pepper). It is named after the town Cayenne in France Guiana. They are grown extensively in South and Central America. The favorable climatic conditions for cultivation of Cayenne pepper are warm atmosphere and warm, moisture rich soil. It takes approximately 100 days to get matured and edible. It grows green on plants, and when plucked, may or may not turn red. It is usually eaten red, but the peppers are edible even when green.
Where to Use Cayenne Pepper
Cayenne pepper is usually used to prepare spicy dishes. It can be used in an array of ways, which makes it more convenient to use:
- Dried and ground in powdered form
- Direct from plants, in fresh form
- Caked up
- Dried flakes
- Dried fruit form
Cayenne pepper is used extensively to flavor and spice up dishes. It can also be had in pickled form, in a thin coating of vinegar sauce. Traditionally in India, the pepper is marinated with mustard oil and other spices. This spicy concoction is served as a supplementary with other Indian dishes. The pepper is also used as a key ingredient of various spicy sauces and various sandwich spreads. The pepper is widely used in form of marinations for chicken and turkey dishes. It is also sometimes used as a beverage in form of energy drinks or certain special cocktails. The extract of the pepper called capsaicin is the principal ingredient which s used for such beverages. Thus, there is a variety of applications for Cayenne Pepper or Mirchi.
Many nutritional properties are associated to Cayenne pepper. They have rich vitamin components like vitamin E, C, K, B complex and carotenoids. Other minerals and fibers are also majorly present in pepper. All these components have increased the health benefits by Cayenne Pepper.
Health Benefits of Cayenne Pepper
However, there are many credits for using Cayenne Pepper, but the most popular and known ones are enlisted below:
Rheumatic pain or Arthritis
The pepper is having a calming effect on the affected area. Owing to its pungency, the tropical application of the herb in paste form or the intake in capsule form distracts the pain causing nerves from the inflamed and painful joints.
Improvement of Blood Circulation
In case of affected blood flow or clots, the medicinal intake of pepper may help dissolve the clot and ensure that the blood flow is improved. It also ensures that nutritional flow through blood is also smooth and that the blood wastes are removed effectively.
All-in-one treatments for sore throat, indigestion, headaches, congestion
Ayurveda has named pepper as the over the counter drug for relieving the upset stomach, gas, cramps, indigestion, sore throat, headaches etc. to name a few. In case of congestion due to cold, or sinus, cayenne pepper helps by clearing up the sinuses. The pepper also has certain antioxidant values. They are also playing major role in improving the immunity of the body against infections and pathogens.
Heals Respiratory Problems and Heart Diseases
Pepper is known to heal respiratory symptoms of Asthma. It is also known that the heart patients are orally administered Cayenne extracts. The spicy extract reduces the cholesterol formation and dissolves fibrin, which is the principal constituent of blood clots.
Cayenne is a cardiac stimulant, so it boosts heart functions.
Pepper accelerates the digestion process and kills extra appetite. It also helps the body to be flushed out frequently as it increases intake of water.
Side Effects of Cayenne Pepper
The usage of the herb should he highly moderate. Excessive consumption may lead to burning and blisters in the gastrointestinal tract and throat.
Capsicum extract may cause other problems such as sweating, runny nose, stomach upset, burning sensation and stomach irritation. Therefore, a large dose of cayenne pepper or capsicum is not recommended.
Capsicum is reported to have interaction with following medicines.
ACE (Angiotensin-converting enzyme) inhibitors are used for hypertension, heart failure and diabetic kidney disease. Capsicum increases the absorption of ACE inhibitors, so it may precipitate the development of cough and raise the chances of severe side effects of these drugs.
Theophylline is used for breathing troubles and it is the main medicine for asthma. Cayenne pepper increases the bioavailability and absorption of theophylline, which may help to decrease the dosage of theophylline. However, on the contrary, it can also result in symptoms of theophylline overdose if the health condition is not regularly monitored.
Sedatives & Antidepressants
Indian pepper increases the absorption of sedatives and antidepressant medicine, so it may ensure the development of severe side effects of these medicines. Therefore, if you are using capsicum in your diet, consult your doctor for monitoring the dosage of your sedatives and antidepressant medications.
If cayenne pepper is taken along with sedatives and antidepressant medicines, it may cause drowsiness and sleepiness, but it is due to the increased absorption of the sedatives or antidepressant medicines because of interaction with capsicum.