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How Does Cayenne Pepper Help in Digestion?

author image Karl Gruber
Karl Gruber is a runner and triathlete who is a practicing Law of Attraction Life Coach. He is also the author of a book about marathon running, a sport he also coaches and competes in. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in communications from Ohio State University.
How Does Cayenne Pepper Help in Digestion?
A large bowl with a scoop of cayenne pepper. Photo Credit: vovashevchuk/iStock/Getty Images

Cayenne is a powdered spice that made from red hot chili peppers, and you would most likely think that it would too hot to put in your mouth and stomach. Also known as capsicum, cayenne has been called the king of medicinal herbs, and while it does have some fire to it, ingesting it can offer you multiple healthful benefits. One particular area that will receive the benefits is your digestive system.

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Circulation Aid

Once your stomach digests food and sends it to the intestine, the food enzymes loaded with essential glucose and nutrients are transported to the body by the blood. John Christopher's definitive book on cayenne pepper, "Capsicum," states that it has the capability of boosting circulation and increasing heart action. This means that cayenne can improve the efficiency and speed of your digestive process.

Stomach Ailments

Christopher's book also points out that if you have a peptic stomach ulcer, consuming cayenne pepper actually will not only act as a local anesthetic on the ulcer, but control bleeding, too. This information seems to go against the advice of doctors who advise ulcer patients to stay away from spicy foods, yet cayenne pepper has been shown to help regenerate stomach tissue.

How to Consume suggests that any worries about cayenne pepper are offset by the vast health benefits. You can make a drink of cayenne powder mixed with the juice of one lemon, then topped with warm, purified or distilled water. A tablespoon of maple syrup can be used as a sweetener. It is also suggested that you should only use 1/8 tsp. cayenne to start with, and gradually build to 1/2 tsp.


Cayenne--hot, spicy and healthful.
Cayenne--hot, spicy and healthful.

Most of the medicinal actions of cayenne come from the alkaloid or glucose content of the herb. These attributes stimulate increased blood flow, which in the case of your digestive system, can help relieve indigestion. According to "What Is Capsaicin?" by D. Walls, the main compound in cayenne is called capsaicin, an alkaloid, and seems to be responsible for the healthful benefits. The hotter the pepper is, the more capsaicin content.

Nutritional Components

John Christopher's book details the actual nutritional breakdown of capsicum or cayenne pepper: fats, 9 to 17 percent; proteins, 12 to 15 percent; vitamin A; red carotenoids; ascorbic acid or vitamin C; B-complex vitamins; potassium, 2014 mg per 100 edible grams; rutin; flavonoid; and PABA, an amino acid. Cayenne's Scovil Unit measurement, used to rank the heat of chilis and peppers, ranks at 40,000 units.

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