Did you know that one of nature’s most potent medicinal herbs may be as close as your kitchen spice cabinet?
That’s right! Cayenne pepper packs some serious heat, and if you’ve ever accidentally bitten into one eating stir fry, you’ve no doubt felt the burn when the heat explodes, opening all your senses at once. Liken it to a heat bomb going off in your mouth. If you’re not ready for it (and even if you are), it can make you break into a sweat while the heat blazes a path down your throat to your stomach. Nice, eh?
- So why would anyone want to endure that? Simply put, because cayenne and other hot peppers have astounding health benefits linked to treating and preventing: strokes, heart attacks, high blood pressure, diabetes, ulcers and even cancer! This may explain why some cultures who thrive on spicey diets tend to have lower rates of cancer. In fact, the late herbalist Dr. John Christopher documented his results from successfully having a number of his stroke patients drink warm water with a teaspoon of cayenne pepper powder mixed in it. Check out the book “Left for Dead” for more detail.
Feelin’ Hot, Hot, Hot!
Cayenne and other hot peppers contain a compound called capsaicin that’s responsible for the heat factor. Even though it may feel like you’re getting third-degree burns inside your mouth and in your body, you’re really only feeling the heat sensation of the capsaicin reaching your nerve endings. And the hotter the pepper, the better. According to Dr. Christopher, for capsaicin to be therapeutic, it should carry a heat unit (HU) of at least 100,000 HU.
How Hot Peppers Heal
The heat in capsaicin causes your blood vessels and arteries to dilate fast, opening blocked passageways so blood can flow freely and deliver nutrients to your cells. Once the capsaicin enters your system, it eats through plaque, cholesterol and other gunk that can build up in the blood, increase your pressure and block vessels which can lead to a stroke or heart attack.
Studies also show hot peppers have benefits that can heal stomach ulcers by reducing the amount of acid needed to break down food. And and Australian study finds that eating hot peppers reduces your body’s insulin requirements, which can help with diabetes.
For cancer, there’s exciting new research that shows capsaicin may cause cancer cells to die while leaving healthy ones in tact. Studies indicate the capsaicin may cause apoptosis (programmed cell death) in abnormal cells.
Get Your Spice On
Convinced about the benefits of eating hot peppers? Give it try and see for yourself. I make a hot cayenne pepper powder tea as my morning elixir, since I don’t drink coffee. The increased blood flow created by the pepper gives me a major energy boost and kills any hint of fatigue.
- ¼ teaspoon of cayenne pepper powder
- 1 teaspoon of raw honey
- ½ lemon, freshly squeezed
- ½ cup of filtered or distilled hot water (make it “tea” hot, don’t boil it)
Pour your heated water in a glass jar. Add your pepper powder, raw honey to sweeten it and freshly squeezed lemon. This is ready when the flavor profile is right for you. Stir until the pepper powder dissolves fully and drink. If you experience a burn in your stomach (trust me… that’s not fun), then drink this after you eat breakfast, instead of on an empty stomach.