By Anastacia Sampson
Conveniently it sits on a rack or shelf. Taking up little space and yet it can add a great punch to our lives. Spices, the stuff that spurred on the spice trade by ship many years ago. It still holds its stand within our kitchens. Cayenne pepper is one of many gloriously famous spices that should be stored away from direct sunlight, in a cool dry place within a sealable container. Cayenne pepper can be enjoyed by bringing a hot flavouring to anything! It gives a kick to a meal or even a cocktail drink.
Cayenne pepper promotes protein digestion, by stimulating stomach secretion. This effect may aggravate cases of excess stomach acidity. Cayenne pepper’s heating effect may promote the body’s fuel consumption, by lifting up metabolism. Eating cayenne pepper may be touted by some to use when we want to reduce weight (at present there is no sufficient number of studies to verify) and tend to feel cold and sluggish. Clears up mucous! Great for clogged nasal tracts and that spicy zing should help clear up a foggy head. It’s been incorporated into weight-loss capsules and sinus decongestion medication among others. It promotes sweating; obviously by inducing a heating effect the body must let it off by the cooling process of sweating. This heating effect makes cayenne pepper relevant for some of us when we tend to feel a chill more than others.
Topically applied, in cream form, it can alleviate cold hands and feet by actually stimulating surface area blood circulation. By reducing inflammation, it has been shown medicinally to help with pain! That makes it applicable for conditions such as skin inflammation, arthritis and headaches. Studies have been done to show it to benefit cases of psoriasis (skin inflammation with scaling and itching). This spice is made from chilli peppers and has immigrated from Central and South America. Its beta-carotene content gives it its orange hue. As we know, beta-carotene is a natural pigment, antioxidant and can be converted to vitamin A. The main active component, to date, is capsaicin. Capsaicin seems to be the ‘hot thing’ that gives us so many health effects. The hotter a pepper, the greater is its content of capsaicin.
Cayenne is not for everyone as we’re not all after the ‘hot’ foods. Savoury dishes, usually the choice for those without a sweet tooth, are lovely and cayenne is often an ingredient in savoury muffins. The health effects should never be sought from excessive consumption to the point of making a dish as hot as you or another can stand! It’s better employed to enhance meal flavours and the quality of your lifestyle. Many spices are used and can keep for many months. It’s worth checking what’s available to spice things up, to you liking.
Anastacia Sampson is a freelance journalist and Nutritional Medicine Practitioner. She writes for regional newspapers and lives in East London, in the Eastern Cape of South Africa. She is also an iridologist and has written healthy lifestyle columns for several regional newspapers. She is qualified from the Plaskett International College and provides health advise through her website at www.healthyliving.za.org.