About Cayenne Peppers


From the Chili Pepper Institute, New Mexico State University


The cayenne pepper belongs to the Capsicum family, more commonly known as chile peppers.


Health Benefits


Fight Inflammation

All chile peppers, including cayenne, contain capsaicin, which in addition to giving cayenne its characteristic heat, is a potent inhibitor of substance P, a neuropeptide associated with inflammatory processes. Capsaicin is being studied as an effective treatment for sensory nerve fiber disorders, including pain associated with arthritis, psoriasis, and diabetic neuropathy. There are several scientific research studies on this subject.


Natural Pain Relief

Topical capsaicin has been shown in studies to be an effective treatment for cluster headaches and osteoarthritis pain. Several review studies of pain management for diabetic neuropathy have listed the benefits of topical capsaicin to alleviate disabling pain associated with this condition.


Nutrient

Amount

DV (%)

Vitamin A

1470.24 IU

29.4

Vitamin C

2.72 mg

4.5

Manganese

0.08 mg

4.0

Vitamin B6 (pyridoxine)

0.08 mg

4.0

Dietary fiber

0.96 g

3.8

Vitamin K

2.89 mcg

3.6

Folate

3.76 mcg

.94

Calcium

5.28 mg

.53

Magnesium

5.36 mg

1.34

Phosphorous

10.4 mg

1.4

Potassium

71.2 mg

1.7

In a double-blind placebo controlled trial, nearly 200 patients with psoriasis were given topical preparations containing either capsaicin or placebo. Patients who were given capsaicin reported significant improvement based on a severity score which traced symptoms associated with psoriasis. The side effect reported with topical capsaicin cream is a burning sensation at the area of application.


Cardiovascular Benefits

In ongoing scientific studies cayenne and other red chile peppers have been shown to reduce blood cholesterol, triglyceride levels, and platelet aggregation, while increasing the body's ability to dissolve fibrin, a substance integral to the formation of blood clots. Cultures in which hot chile peppers, like cayenne, are used in everyday cooking and culinary use have a much lower rate of heart attack, stroke and pulmonary embolism.


Cayenne pepper is an excellent source of vitamin A. It is also a good source of vitamin B6, vitamin C, vitamin K, manganese and dietary fiber.


References:

How Chile Peppers Help Your Body, Educational Poster, Chile Pepper Institute, 2007.

The Healing Powers of Peppers, DeWitt, 2007.

The Worlds Healthiest Foods, George Mateljon Foundation, 2007.

Source: Chile Pepper Institute - New Mexico State University, Las Cruces, NM


Interesting Chile Facts


  • A teaspoon of red chile powder meets the RDA for Vitamin A.
  • The heat from chile peppers (called capsaicin) is used in making many arthritis medications.
  • Chili peppers are also a good source of Iron, Potassium, Fiber, Vitamin A, and Vitamin C.
  • Green chile peppers have as much Vitamin C as six oranges.
  • In some Chilean cultures people put dry chili powder in their shoes to help keep their feet warm.
  • Chili peppers aid in the healing of many skin conditions such as psoriasis, itching and bruising.

Chile Pepper Terminology


ADOBO SAUCE
Tomato based sauce used to can chilies.


CHILI
A culinary dish consisting of chile powder, beans, tomato and ground beef.

MOLÉ
A spicy sauce made of chiles and unsweetened chocolate.


AJI
South American term for chile.


CHILE PASADO
Dehydrated green chiles that can be reconstituted for cooking.

PAPRIKA
Any non-pungent, red at maturity chile that is used as a spice or for color.

ANAHEIM
A cultivar of the New Mexican pod type.


CHILI RELLEÑOS
Culinary dish of stuffed fresh New Mexican chiles.


POBLANO
In U.S. produce markets, a green ancho or mulato.


ANCHO
A pre-Columbian pod type from Mexico maturing to red campanulate - shaped like a bell

CHIPOTLÉ
A smoke-dried red jalapeño.



POD TYPE
A horticultural division of a species, i.e. jalapeņo, bell, yellow wax, New Mexican, etc.

CAPSICUM
Genus name for chiles.



HPLC
High Performance Liquid Chromatography used to machine-analyze pungency.

PUNGENCY
The heat of chiles.



CAPSAICIN
One of the alkaloids in chile that makes it hot.

HYBRID
The offspring of two genetically different plants.

RISTRA
A long string of New Mexican chiles used for storage and decoration.

CAPSAICINOIDS
One of the groups of alkaloids in chiles that make them hot.



LONG GREEN
The New Mexican pod type also called Anaheim. Cultivars include NuMex Big Jim, NuMex Joe E. Parker, and Sandia.

SCOVILLE HEAT UNIT (SHU)
A measure of chile pungency named after William Scoville based on the dilution of chile samples until heat is no longer detected by a 'taste'.

CHILE
Anything consisting of the Capsicum plant or the fruit from the plant.