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Cayenne - More than Just a Spice

Hot red pepper is mistakenly believed to cause intestinal problems and to be harmful for your digestive system. In truth, cayenne pepper heals stomach tissues, aids in the digestive process, and is associated with a reduced risk of stomach ulcers, among a host of other benefits. Read on, and you may be surprised.

According to Ayurvedic medicine, consuming cayenne pepper increases the secretion of hydrochloric acid that helps digest food and benefits your digestive system. The capsaicin in hot peppers may also help prevent ulcers by killing bacteria and stimulating your stomach lining to secrete protective buffering juices that prevent ulcers. Cayenne is also shown to improve the elimination of waste products.

Cayenne pepper increases your blood flow and strengthens your circulatory system. It shows results within seconds after ingestion. Studies have shown that regular consumption of cayenne reduces the rate of heart attacks. My Ayurveda professor explained that if a heart attack is suspected, have the patient drink hot water with a teaspoon of cayenne pepper mixed in it, as it could save the person's life until help is reached.

Cayenne and other red chili peppers have been shown to have even more benefits for your circulatory system. Cayenne reduces blood cholesterol, triglyceride levels, and platelet aggregation, while increasing the body's ability to prevent the formation of blood clots.

Cayenne pepper has been shown to be an effective treatment for getting relief from chronic pain caused by arthritis and also headaches.

Cayenne's peppery heat stimulates secretions that help clear mucus from your stuffed-up nose or congested lungs. A tea made with hot cayenne pepper very quickly drains the mucus membranes lining the nasal passages, helping to relieve congestion and stuffiness.

The health benefits of cayenne are so numerous, ideally you'd want to have some every day. There's an easy way to accomplish this — by making yourself a fresh smoothie every day and adding some cayenne and other spices to your recipe. It can also be added to hot water (1/2 tspn) and had as tea if you're up to the challenge!

Though capsules are available as supplements, Ayurveda recommends taking cayenne in its powdered form. If you're taking it medicinally or as a supplement, it's important to locate high quality, premium organic cayenne pepper. Avoid the ones found in supermarket or Indian stores. These are usually irradiated. Irradiation damages the integrity of the spice — destroying vitamins, minerals, proteins and other beneficial micronutrients. Irradiation also creates more free radicals, just the opposite of what you are trying to accomplish by eating spices.

So go ahead....make it hot and spicy! Bring tears to your eyes and give your heart a boost!

Note: As a precaution, people who have an underlying condition of intestinal disorders should seek medical advice before taking cayenne pepper. Cayenne as ointment for pain should not be applied to an area longer than two days. Large internal doses of cayenne pepper may produce stomach pain. Cayenne should not be taken by asthma patients who are taking theophylline.

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