The Cayenne chili pepper used both as a flavouring and for medicinal purposes. Named after the city of Cayenne in French Guiana, it is a cultivar of Capsicum annuum related to bell peppers, jalapenos, amongst others.

The fruits are generally dried and ground, or pulped and baked into cakes, which are then finely ground and sifted to make the famous chili powder known as cayenne pepper.

Cayenne chili powder is used in cooking spicy hot dishes or occasionally in it's whole form (such as in Szechuan cuisine) It is generally rated at 30,000 to 50,000 Scoville Units.

It is also used as a herbal supplement and the potent, hot fruit of cayenne has been used as medicine for centuries. It has been used for the following problems:
  • Gastrointestinal tract: including stomachaches, cramping pains, and gas.

  • Diseases of the circulatory system: It is still traditionally used in herbal medicine as a circulatory tonic.

  • Rheumatic and arthritic pains: Rubbed on the skin it causes a counterirritant effect. A counterirritant is something which causes irritation to the area to which it is applied. This makes it distract the nerves from the original irritation (such as joint pain in the case of arthritis).

  • Sore throat: If gargled with water it can work as an effective treatment for sore throats.

  • Styptic: Application of cayenne powder has traditionally been considered to have a powerful coagulating ability.

Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Magnoliophyta
Class: Magnoliopsida
Subclass: Asteridae
Order: Solanales
Family: Solanaceae
Genus: Capsicum
Species: C. frutescence

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