Ayurvedic Spice Cabinet: Cayenne for Pain Relief, Immunity & Heart Health
Pungent, aromatic and flavorful, cayenne is a vibrant spice that adds a burst of flavor to any dish. Also known as Capsicum annuum, cayenne is rich in Vitamins A and C, flavonoids, potassium, iron, magnesium and other nutrients, which endow it with potent anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.
In Ayurvedic tradition, cayenne is used as a natural painkiller, detoxifier and overall immunity-booster. It is a rajasic food, meaning it amplifies the Rajas guna, which governs motion, energy and chaos (those with a Rajas imbalance should try to regulate their consumption of cayenne and other spicy, heavy foods). While cayenne pacifies Vata and Kapha, it aggravates Pitta, exacerbating Pitta’s fiery inclinations. Ayurveda considers cayenne to be pungent, dry and light to digest, which aligns with its potent detoxifying effects.
Here’s a breakdown of some of the benefits of this nutrient-rich spice.
Benefits of Cayenne
It relieves pain
Cayenne contains capsaicin, which is the source of many of its health benefits. One of capsaicin’s benefits is its role as an analgesic; as research has shown, capsaicin is effective in relieving pain across a wide variety of conditions, including cancer treatment-related pain, osteoarthritis, burns and scars. It can also be used to treat headaches. Capable of treating both internal and external ailments, cayenne is a pain-relieving superstar.
It promotes detoxification
Cayenne stimulates circulation, which in turn promotes blood cleansing and detoxification. Consuming cayenne can also raise one’s internal body temperature and cause one to sweat, both of which boost the body’s natural processes of detoxification.
It boosts immunity
In addition to capsaicin, cayenne is rich with Vitamins A, B6, C and K, all of which help boost overall immune health. The Vitamin C, flavonoids and carotenoids found in cayene also help combat free radical damage caused by oxidative stress, which can cause disease and premature aging. Furthermore, several studies have shown that cayenne can reduce risk of death from all causes. While it’s important to note that cayenne alone won’t have a transformative effect on one’s health, it provides an extra boost of immunity to a balanced diet and lifestyle.
It promotes radiant, even skin
Also thanks to its ability to boost circulation, cayenne promotes a more radiant complexion. In addition, its anti-inflammatory properties enable it to reduce redness and inflammation, boosting overall evenness and brightness. Its anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties also help it to combat the onset of infection and to alleviate skin conditions like psoriasis.
It helps treat cardiovascular disordersOne of cayenne’s potent immunity-boosting benefits include the promotion of overall heart health. As research has demonstrated, antioxidant-rich foods (like cayenne) help to combat and protect against conditions like heart disease. Cayenne can also lower heart rate and blood pressure levels and improve blood vessel function; in doing so, it helps to protect against cardiovascular disease.
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