Latin:  Capsicum annuum

Family:   Solanaceae

Parts Used:  Fruits

Taste/Energetics:  Hot, Spicy

Properties:  Expectorant, diaphoretic, analgesic, stimulant

Actions:   Traditionally used by Native Americans for 10,000 years, cayenne is one of the most commonly recognized herbs due to its extremely hot flavor.  Used as an ingredient in many Hispanic and Asian dishes, it strongly flavors dishes and generally causes the person to sweat.  Though the immediate effect is heating, this actually helps cool down the individual which could be quite helpful in hot climates where cayenne grows.  The main constituent capsaicin gives the peppers the hot flavor.    Cayenne is commonly used internally and externally in liniments for sprains, neuralgic pain and arthritis.  Internally, cayenne is stimulating, helping improve circulation and digestive function.

In terms of mental health, cayenne is quite helpful for those who run cold, are sluggish and tight, internally frustrated and depressed.   It is also helpful as a liniment for folks who feel sad and frustrated due to neuralgic cramping pain.

Dose:  Internally it is best prepared in meals.   The dose is pretty subjective.  You’ll know when you’ve reached your limit.   It can be taken in capsules but the salivary glands don’t get the “hit” from tasting the pepper.  Externally, it can be prepared as a liniment or salve.  

Contraindications:  Hmmm…have you ever eaten too many cayenne peppers?

Further Reading:

Cayenne monograph   by Rosalee de la Foret