Cayenne Pepper Health Benefits: Unlocking Capsaicin's Power

Modified on Jan 15, 2024 | Written by Deirdre Layne

Cayenne pepper.

Cayenne pepper, renowned for its fiery heat and distinctive flavor, is more than just a culinary delight. It's a powerhouse of health benefits, largely attributed to its active ingredient, capsaicin. This article explores how cayenne pepper can enhance well-being, from its role in pain management and cardiovascular health to boosting metabolism and digestive health.

We'll dive into the scientific research and traditional uses that underscore the remarkable therapeutic potential of cayenne pepper, offering practical tips on how to harness its benefits in your daily life. Whether you're looking to spice up your diet or seeking natural remedies, cayenne pepper is a versatile and effective choice for improving your overall health.

1. Relieves Pain

Capsaicin in cayenne pepper acts as a natural analgesic, blocking pain signals to the brain. Topical applications effectively alleviate arthritis, shingles, neuropathy, and similar conditions.1

2. Cardiovascular Health

Cayenne pepper contributes to heart health by reducing cholesterol levels and blood pressure, mitigating heart disease risks.

3. Boosts Metabolism

Cayenne pepper elevates the body's metabolic rate, aiding calorie burning and weight loss.

4. Digestive Health

It enhances digestion by stimulating digestive enzyme production, relieving indigestion and heartburn.

5. Anti-Inflammatory Effects

Capsaicin exhibits anti-inflammatory properties, combatting chronic inflammation linked to various health issues like arthritis, heart disease, and cancer.

6.  Detoxification Support

Cayenne pepper aids in detoxification by improving blood circulation and stimulating the lymphatic system.

7. Potential Anti-Cancer Properties

Preliminary evidence suggests capsaicin may possess anti-cancer abilities.

8. Headache Relief

Capsaicin's pain-relieving properties extend to mitigating migraines.

9. Skin Health Improvement

The antimicrobial properties of cayenne pepper protect against skin infections, while its anti-inflammatory effects aid in wound healing.

10. Immune System Boost

Rich in vitamin C and beta-carotene, cayenne pepper strengthens the immune system and may shorten cold and flu durations.

11. Respiratory Function Enhancement

Capsaicin improves respiratory health by reducing airway inflammation.

12. Sexual Health Benefits

Recognized for its aphrodisiac qualities, cayenne pepper improves blood flow and sexual function.

Additional Uses

  • Cayenne pepper can alleviate various conditions, including arthritis, sore throat, sinus infections, tonsillitis, and laryngitis.
  • It can be used internally in small doses, with some preferring to mix it with orange juice or take it in capsule form.
  • Choosing high-quality cayenne pepper from health food stores is advisable for better potency.

Internal Use of Cayenne Pepper

Cayenne pepper's health benefits aren't limited to external applications; it's also effective when consumed. However, starting with a small dose and increasing it gradually as needed is essential. Even a minimal amount, such as 1/8 teaspoon, can be sufficient for some health conditions. Many enjoy adding a cayenne pepper shaker to their dining table as a flavorful and healthful seasoning.

For easier ingestion, some people mix cayenne pepper with orange juice. This method can help in acclimatizing the digestive system to the spice. Conversely, taking cayenne pepper in capsule form might lead to digestive discomfort if the capsule dissolves in the stomach. When cayenne is tasted first on the tongue, it pre-alerts the stomach, preparing it for digestion. To further aid digestion, some cayenne pepper capsules include ginger, known for its stomach-soothing properties.

Cayenne Quality

It is important to note that not all cayenne peppers are of the same quality. Generally, health food stores carry higher quality and more potent cayenne pepper than average grocery stores.

Cayenne pepper can have a wide range of heat levels. Some brands have a heat rating of 30,000, which is still quite spicy, while others may have as much as 190,000 heat units. Only individuals accustomed to strong spices will be able to tolerate higher amounts.

However, with regular use, your body will adjust to the potency of cayenne pepper. Starting with a small amount and gradually increasing the dose can help your body tolerate larger amounts over time.

Topical Use of Cayenne Pepper

  • Cayenne salves, leveraging capsaicin's properties, reduce pain and enhance circulation.
  • Homemade cayenne salves can be made with cayenne pepper powder, olive oil, castor oil, and beeswax.

Making a Cayenne Salve: Step-by-Step Guide


  • 1 tablespoon cayenne pepper powder
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 cup castor oil (substitute with 1 cup olive oil if unavailable, but castor oil is preferred for its pain-relieving properties)
  • 3 tablespoons beeswax (increase to 4 tablespoons for a firmer salve)


  1. In a glass jar, mix the cayenne pepper powder with olive and castor oils.
  2. Let the jar sit undisturbed for 1 to 2 weeks.
  3. After the infusion period, strain the mixture using sterile cheesecloth to remove the cayenne powder.
  4. Melt the beeswax by heating the infused oil in a double boiler.
  5. Once the beeswax is fully melted, pour the mixture into a jar or tin.
  6. Allow the salve to cool and solidify before use.

Cayenne Pepper Gargle for Throat Health

With its antiviral and antibacterial properties, Cayenne pepper is excellent for a throat gargle. It can alleviate pain and combat infections, including tough ones like strep throat.

How to Use:

Mix 1/4 teaspoon of cayenne pepper with 1/4 cup warm water.
Gargle several times a day as needed. Apply lip balm beforehand to protect your lips from the spice.

Cayenne Pepper Tooth Powder for Oral Health

This homemade tooth powder can boost oral health by fighting infection and enhancing circulation.


  • 1 Tablespoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper

How to Use:

  • Sprinkle the mixture on your toothbrush and brush gently.

Cayenne Pepper's Role in Emergency Scenarios

Cayenne pepper can be crucial in emergency situations, particularly for stopping bleeding or assisting during heart attacks.

Bleeding Control:

In the event of a wound, apply cayenne pepper directly to the affected area and cover with a clean cloth, applying pressure. It's important to allow the resulting scab to heal and fall off naturally.

Heart Attack Assistance:

For heart attack emergencies, herbalist Dr. John Christopher recommends a mixture of a teaspoon of cayenne pepper in a cup of hot water. Additionally, midwives have utilized this method to control bleeding during childbirth. The capsaicin in cayenne pepper not only helps relieve pain when applied topically but may also help reduce the death of heart cells during a heart attack.

These uses of cayenne pepper highlight its versatility and potential effectiveness in both everyday health and critical emergency situations.

Where to Buy

Here are a few sample links to high-heat units of cayenne powder and tincture on Amazon:

150,000 Heat Units - African Bird Pepper

Plum Dragon African Bird Pepper, Cayenne Pepper Powder - Capsaicin Herb - Peri Peri Bird's Eye Chili Pepper | Pure and High Quality Medicinal Grade Chinese Herb - 1 Pound- $25

100,000 Heat Units - Cayenne Pepper


Solaray Extra Hot Cool Cayenne 100,000 HU | Healthy Digestion, Metabolism & Cardiovascular Support | 90 VegCaps - $9.12


1-Pound 100K HU Premium Ground Cayenne Pepper Powder (100,000 Heat Units) - $17.99

90,000 Heat Units - Cayenne Pepper

Frontier Chili Peppers Ground, Cayenne 90,000 Hu, 16 Ounce Bags - $11.12

Cayenne Tincture 2 FL OZ Alcohol-Free Extract, 90 000 HU Organic Cayenne Pepper (Capsicum annuum) - $13.85

Share Your Feedback!

Read on to learn the benefits hundreds of Earth Clinic readers have experienced with Cayenne over the past 15 years. Be sure to share your experiences with us!

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