(NaturalNews) Cayenne pepper is a popular spice that adds flavor and heat to many dishes. Originally grown in South and Central America, cayenne derived its name from the capital city of French Guiana of the same name. This type of chili pepper is closely related to others types of peppers, including jalapenos. In fact, both types of chili peppers belong to the same genus.
While many people rely on cayenne pepper to add more flavor and spice to their favorite dishes, they often do not realize that they are also probably improving their health when they use this popular spice. Like many spices, though, there are some side effects that should be noted when using them. What follows is a breakdown of the top four health benefits that can be experienced when using cayenne as well as some of the side effects that people should be aware of.
1. Pain reliever
According to a study published in the British Medical Journal, cayenne can have a soothing effect on those people who suffer from chronic pain. Another study, cited in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, found that, when it is used in a topical formula, the active ingredient in cayenne that gives the spice its heat, capsaicin, offered relief to study participants. Those suffering from cancer stated that they felt pain relief when they used it after they underwent surgical procedures.
2. Suppress the appetite and burn calories
Purdue University completed a study that was published in Physiology Today which showed that eating just half of a teaspoon of cayenne pepper can help reduce the appetite and burn calories. Researchers found that study participants who mixed cayenne pepper with their meals burned 10 more calories within four hours than participants who did not add cayenne.
3. Treat cluster headaches
A study published in Cephalalgia evidenced that the capsaicin in cayenne can help reduce the pain of cluster headaches. It does so by desensitizing the neurons by depleting their terminals of a substance that is associated with pain and inflammation.
4. Treat psoriasis
Using a topical cream containing capsaicin was the focus of a study that sought to provide relief for people who suffer from psoriasis. According to data published in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, a double-blind study showed that participants experienced some relief from their symptoms of psoriasis. This included a significant improvement in itching as well as other common symptoms of this condition.
Some precautions when using cayenne
Due to the warmth associated with cayenne, those people who use it are advised to wash their hands thoroughly after using any products that contain the spice. This is especially true before they touch their face, eyes or other sensitive body areas in order to avoid an unpleasant burning sensation.