A powerful ingredient with a host of health and beauty benefits, cayenne pepper has been used within Chinese medicines for hundreds of years. It’s common knowledge that cayenne pepper is used to add a little heat to dishes, but how about its anti-inflammatory, anti-fungal and anti-irritant properties? Here are a few reasons why cayenne pepper is known as the Prince of Spices…
Supports natural detoxification
Made famous by pop-icon Beyoncé, the lemon detox diet known as Master Cleanse is based around a powerful mixture of lemon, honey and cayenne pepper. Derived in the 1960’s by Stanley Burroughs, this natural detoxing beverage harnesses the rumoured ‘fat-burning’ properties of cayenne pepper… Hello beach body!
Warning: While the concoction itself is safe for most people in moderation, taking cayenne pepper while eliminating or severely restricting solid foods poses a serious risk to your health. Consult with your doctor before beginning any type of detox diet.
Thanks to its capsaicin content, cayenne pepper is said to be one of the best natural spices for weight loss, helping to reduce appetite and boost metabolism by giving the body a thermogenic boost (the process which begins when your body starts to burn up stored fat).
Historically used as a cure for the common cold
Not only do colds make us feel rubbish, but they also have the knack of showing up at the most inconvenient of times. If Lemsip isn’t your thing, then why not try a more traditional alternative, a cup of warm lemon and cayenne pepper?
Cayenne pepper is a powerful natural remedy for both fevers and blocked noses. By stimulating sweat glands and cooling the hypothalamus, cayenne pepper can help relieve fever and lower your body temperature. And for that blocked nose, the spice stimulates the mucous membranes of the nose and sinuses, helping to relieve the build-up… sounds gross but it works.
Encourages hair growth
The main cause of baldness is poor circulation in the scalp, so it’s good to hear that cayenne pepper, in particular the capsaicin content, is great at encouraging healthy blood circulation! A simple mix of cayenne pepper and olive oil applied to the hair for one hour once a week can promote luscious, strong and shiny hair. Voila!
Promotes clear skin
As well as encouraging blood flow to the skin, cayenne pepper is rich in Vitamin C, Vitamin E and several anti-oxidants which increase the health of the epidermis and the skin. If you suffer with acne, try adding cayenne pepper to your food twice a day… it won’t take long to see an improvement.
Acts as natural pain relief
Capsaicin is a powerful pain reliever. It works by blocking the neurotransmitter which is responsible for sending pain signals to our brain. This is why the anti-inflammatory capsaicin is common ingredient in arthritic pain relief creams.
Promotes healthy digestion
Ironically, I wouldn’t suggest reading this benefit whilst eating… but cayenne pepper has been used for hundreds of years to improve digestion. By stimulating the digestive tract, increasing the flow of enzymes and production of gastric juices, cayenne pepper aids the digestive process and even helps relieve intestinal gas. See I told you…
…and it’s easy to add to your diet!
A pinch of cayenne pepper can be added to pretty much any dish where a kick of spice is needed. Here are a couple of our favourite recipes using cayenne pepper. Enjoy!
Romesco sauce recipe
1 1-inch thick slice of crusty bread, crust removed and cut into 1-inch cubes
1 large tomato
5 cloves garlic
1/2 cup almonds
2 medium red bell peppers
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
1 tablespoon smoked paprika
1 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Preheat oven to 180°C and line a baking tin with aluminium foil.
Place almond, garlic, bread and tomato on baking sheet and place in the oven, about 10 minutes.
Remove almonds and bread and continue roasting garlic until soft and tomato until tender, about 20 minutes more.
Remove from oven, let cool slightly and remove skin from tomato and peel garlic.
While other ingredients are roasting in the oven, roast peppers on a grill until the skins are blackened. Place in a bowl and cover with plastic wrap and let sit until cool enough to handle. Remove charred skin, seeds and cores.
Place bread, tomato, almonds, peppers, olive oil, vinegar, paprika, salt, and pepper in the bowl of a food processor. Purée until smooth. Taste and season with additional salt and cayenne pepper.
Place in an airtight container and place in the fridge until cool. Store refrigerated up to 5 days.
Smokey baked chickpeas recipe
Preheat the oven to 220°C
Spoon the ghee into a roasting tray and warm in the oven for 1-2 minutes until melted.
Pat the drained, rinsed chickpeas dry using kitchen paper and discard any of the loose skins.
Mix all of the remaining ingredients together with the ghee in the bottom of the roasted tray until fragrant and well combined. Add the chickpeas and shake to coat them evenly in the spiced oil.
Bake for 30-35 minutes, shaking the tray regularly to prevent the chickpeas from sticking to the bottom. The chickpeas are ready when they are golden-brown and crunchy.
Disclaimer: Whilst every effort has been made to source the most up to date and accurate information, we cannot guarantee that remedies in our articles are effective, when in doubt, consult your GP or a qualified Medicinal Herbalist. Remember also that herbal remedies can be dangerous under certain circumstances therefore you should always seek medical advice before self-treating with a homemade remedy, especially if you are pregnant, breast feeding or suffer from any known illness which could be adversely affected by self-treatment.
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