HERBS: How to use herbs for maximum benefit. Short and sweet descriptions and uses written by our on-staff Nutritional Herbalist. Always remember that herbs should be treated as a medicine. Almost all of our modern-day medicines are derived from compounds found in herbs and plants. If you have not used a particular herb before, try a half dose at first to make sure you do not have an unfavorable reaction to it.
Cayenne Pepper Capsicum annuum:
Medicinal Properties: This little wonder contains more vitamin C and A per ounce than almost any other food. Capsaicin -the active ingredient in cayenne -has now come into the lime light as the next wonder ingredient in arthritis formulas. Cayenne does have a stimulating effect and helps to increase circulation. It also is just about the only thing that will cure Strep throat in just 1-2 doses. Dr. John Christopher ND suggests that it can stop bleeding and even nosebleeds, but I have yet to try it for this. He also suggests that cayenne can cure ulcers although I would take caution in using it if you have ulcers or severe stomach trouble. It does increase digestion and is wonderful for clearing up any kind of mucus in the throat.
How to Use: A small amount goes a long way. For strep throat, mix a pinch of cayenne in 1/2 cup warm water and gargle or (works better if you can slowly swallow small amounts by letting it trickle down your throat.) If it gives you an upset stomach, go back to gargling or take it with food. Sprinkle on foods and incorporate into more recipes for aiding circulation.
Parts Used: Ripe fruit, some peppers are more medicinal than others. It is said cayenne from Seirra Leone, Africa is the most medicinal, but over-the-counter cayenne works.
Warnings: Can cause stomach upset if too much is taken at once on an empty stomach. Do not apply full strength directly to the skin as it can burn or cause irritation.
Growing: Easy to grow in the garden or containers. It loves a sunny, warm location and doesn’t require as long as a growing period as full-sized green peppers. It does well in a pot in a very sunny window in the house and can make an attractive houseplant as such.
Some Herb Basics: Most herbs work better on an empty stomach. A few exceptions are garlic, goldenseal and cayenne due to stomach upset. Herbs work in a cumulative fashion meaning they are not a “one dose wonder.” They need to build up in the system a little, usually within 2-3 doses, before any real affect can be noticed. Fresh herbs always work better than old herbs and science is always proving the fact that a whole herb usually is more effective than one isolated compound of that herb.