CAYENNE (Capsicum Frutescens)


Cayenne, also called capsicum, benefits the heart and circulation when taken alone or added to other remedies. It is also used to stimulate the action of other herbs.

Capsaicin is the particular compound which accounts for the fiery properties in all chillies. A pharmacist, Wilbur Scoville, devised a way early in this century of scoring capsaicinoid content; hence, they are called Scoville Units. Most peppers fall into a range from 0 to 300,000 Scoville Units. Green bell peppers rate zero because they lack the necessary capsaicinoids. jalapenos measure 2,500 to 5,000, while the Tabasco peppers and Cayennes rank between 30,000 and 90,000. At the upper end of the scale are the Scotch Bonnet from the Caribbean and the Habanero from the Mexican Yucatan – both are a definite 300,000 each. These days, however, many Chilli writers use a new system, the Official Chilli Heat Scale, with a rating of 0 to 10. Bell peppers still fall to the bottom, with zero; Jalapenos come in at 5, Tabasco and Cayennes at 8, and the Scotch Bonnet and Habanero at 10.

Some recent European studies have suggested that cayenne pepper not only boosts Vitamin C levels, but can also rev up the body’s metabolism. It seems that capsaicin somehow “resets” the individual “fat thermostats” (called “brown fat”), which enables the body to bum off more fat through chemical combustion, rather than storing it in muscle tissue.

The New England Journal of Medicine reported that residents of Thailand have virtually no blood clot problems because of their frequent consumption of red pepper. No clinical studies have been undertaken in the western hemisphere to determine the therapeutic value of capsicum frutescens but its wide use and acceptance over many generations in Asia and the southern hemisphere suggests that this would be a fruitful undertaking.”


Use of OTC and herbal products in patients with cardiovascular disease.
Pharand C, Ackman ML, Jackevicius CA, Paradiso-Hardy FL, Pearson GJ; Canadian Cardiovascular Pharmacists Network.
Faculty of Pharmacy, Universite de Montreal and Hopital du Sacre-Coeur de Montreal, Montreal, Quebec, Canada.
BACKGROUND: The use of nonprescription and herbal products by the public is rising,.
OBJECTIVE: To describe the utilization patterns for nonprescription medications and herbal products in patients with cardiovascular disease across Canada . METHODS: Patients admitted to 8 teaching hospitals during the winter of 1998/1999 were interviewed by a pharmacist using a structured survey instrument.
RESULTS: Interviews were conducted with 306 patients (mean age 66 y; 60% men). The majority (74%) had coronary artery disease; however, hypertension, congestive heart failure, and arrhythmias were also common. The most common product categories used were pain relievers (51%), single-entity vitamin/mineral (38%), multivitamin/mineral (23%), antacids (21%), laxatives (17%), and herbals (17%). As compared with western (28%) and central Canada (26%), fewer patients in the Atlantic region (11%) reported daily use of multivitamin/mineral products. Overall, the usage of specific single-entity vitamin/mineral products was most commonly vitamin E (24%), vitamin C (16%), calcium (9%), and B vitamins (8%). Central Canada reported the highest rates (25%) of daily or weekly use of herbal products. The most common herbal products used were garlic (13%), cayenne pepper (2%), and ginseng (2%). More than half of the patients consulted with their pharmacist at least occasionally regarding the use of these products.
CONCLUSIONS: Canadian patients with cardiovascular disease commonly report the use of herbal products and vitamins. Health professionals need to be aware of the widespread use of these products..

Publication Types: Multicenter Study
PMID: 12773082 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]