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Health Benefits of Cayenne Pepper (Capsicum)

What is Cayenne Pepper

Cayenne is a fruit not a herb, but possesses the healing properties of herbs. Cayenne peppers belong to the nightshade family of plants like the jalapeno and bell pepper.

These all contain oleoresin capsaicin which is where the health benefits of cayenne pepper derive from.

It is used in spicy dishes as a powder or vinegar like sauce. It gets it’s hot properties from a substance called capsaicin oleoresin which affects the body’s nerves causing them to release a neurotransmitter called substance-p into the bloodstream.

This release of substance-p is what causes the burning sensation. However this neurotransmitter is rapidly depleted, temporarily blocking the nerves from transmitting pain signals to the brain. This is the basis for the health benefits of cayenne pepper.

The hot properties of cayenne are measured in scoville units, also called heat units. Cayenne peppers are usually between 30,000 and 50,000 scoville units, with some other forms of hot peppers actually exceeding 100,000 heat units.

Most commercial encapsulated cayenne powders start at around 20,000 units, which is quite adequate to get the benefits of cayenne. It can also be made as a tea or a tincture, which is more effective in getting cayenne pepper herbs into the body rapidly.

You need to be cautious using capsules of cayenne, because when they begin to dissolve in your stomach the sensation can be quite uncomfortable to downright painful.

Health Benefits of Cayenne Pepper

Some of the health benefits of cayenne pepper are:

  • Ability to stop a heart attack in progress
  • Lowering blood pressure while strengthening heart performance
  • Safe and natural stimulant action
  • Improves circulation through vasodilatation
  • Effective topical pain reliever for arthritis and joint pain
  • Useful for relieving gastrointestinal problems such as stomach aches, cramping and gas
  • Relieving headache pain
  • Thinning the blood – helping prevent blood clots
  • Relieving pain due to diabetic neuropathy, shingles, psoriasis, and fibromyalgia

The health benefits of cayenne pepper revolve around this substance-p depletion affect. Cayenne pepper and heart health are related to this as well. Cayenne aids in promoting cardiovascular health and has an all around tonic effect on the circulatory system.

 Cayenne Pepper and Heart Health

One of the most dramatic health benefits of cayenne pepper is its reported ability to stop a heart attack in its tracks! This effect comes from the ability of cayenne to act as a vasodilator and open arteries allowing critical blood flow to the heart to resume.

Cayenne helps prevent blood clots from forming due to it’s effect on blood platelet aggregation (stickiness). This anticoagulant effect is part of the relationship between cayenne pepper and heart health, and cayenne does it naturally with no toxic side effects.

In the case of heart attacks, cayenne is best given orally as a tincture or hot tea to speed its entry into the bloodstream. According to the famous herbalist Dr. John Christopher this amounts to a teaspoon of cayenne powder in a cup of hot water, about 500mg dosage.

Dr. Christopher claims that he has used this preparation a number of times to save the life of a patient who was having a heart attack. The cayenne tea was able to dilate the arteries and restore critical circulation and blood flow to the heart.

This is perhaps one of the most dramatic health benefits of cayenne pepper! 

Cayenne and Diabetes 

Health benefits of cayenne pepper extend to diabetic conditions as well. Recent research in which type I diabetes was cured in mice used capsicum extracted from cayenne pepper.The capsicum was used to deplete substance-p in the pancreas of the mice and allow the islet cells to begin working again and producing insulin.

This new development is interesting in light of the fact that cayenne has been used for many years as a “folk remedy” for diabetes. It would appear that science is finally confirming what centuries old folk medicine knew about cayenne pepper herbs.

Capsaicin Cream – Topical Pain Relief

There are now a host of topical pain relief creams based on capsaicin from cayenne peppers. These creams work by depleting substance-p from the sensory nerves in the affected area and preventing transmission of pain signals to the brain.

Capsicum based creams and lotions have become quite popular for both rheumatoid and osteoarthritis as well as other painful conditions of the muscles and joints. These creams are also extensively used in veterinary medicine on racing horses and dogs. The health benefits of cayenne also extend to animals as well as humans.

Capsicum based preparations used on horses can also be used safely on humans as they are formulated to be used on a horses skin which is more sensitive to irritation than human skin. My personal favorite is Equibloc, which can be found on the web. It is gentle on the skin while being very effective for relieving pain!

When using capsicum based creams avoid getting any on your hands and subsequently touching your eyes. You should also be aware that when it is on your skin and you shower or bathe soon after, you will likely experience a burning sensation.

Water seems to intensify the effects of oleo-resin capsicum so you will want to avoid getting the area that you applied it to wet. Eventually you will become used to the effects and the uncomfortable sensations will lessen.

Dosages and Preparations for Cayenne Pepper Healing 

Cayenne is used in several forms:

  • Capsules: 20,000 to 50,000 scoville units (usually 500-800mg capsules)
  • Tinctures: (0.3-1ml) 3 times/day
  • Topical creams: 0.025 to 75% capsaicin
  • Cayenne tea infusion

An infusion of cayenne tea would be made by combining one cup of hot water with ½ to 1 teaspoon full of cayenne powder. Let it set for ten minutes. You would then combine a teaspoon of this infusion in water and take up to three times per day.

Capsules can be taken up to three times per day before meals, and topical capsicum creams should be used 3-4 times per day until the pain subsides.

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Akilah M. El, N.D. is a Naturopathic Doctor and board-certified Master Herbalist with a private practice in Atlanta Georgia and Berlin Germany. Join Dr Akilah El on Facebook and Twitter

 

For More Health Tips Like This Check Out Our Health Tips Page

 

How To Relieve Constipation Naturally

What is Constipation?

Constipation is one of the most common digestive complaints in the United States. The normal frequency of bowel movements varies widely from person to person, from once or more a day to three times a week. In general, however, you are likely constipated if you pass a hard, dry stool less than three times a week.

Constipation can also make you feel bloated and uncomfortable and you may find yourself straining during bowel movements.

Although constipation can affect anyone, it’s more common in women and in people over age 65.  It also tends to occur during pregnancy, after childbirth or surgery, with certain medications such as opioid pain relievers, and with some conditions such as multiple sclerosis.

Natural Remedies for Constipation

1) Fiber

A diet low in fiber may play a role in constipation. Insoluble fiber, which passes through the body almost unchanged, gives stools bulk and a soft texture, making them easier to pass.

Foods that are high in insoluble fiber include whole grains, fruits, and vegetables. Try wheat bran, brown rice, or whole grain bread.

Soluble fiber dissolves in water and forms a gel-like substance in the intestines. Prunes and figs can be added to breakfast or eaten as a snack.

Another option is to sprinkle one teaspoon of ground flaxseeds over any meal. They can be found in packages at the health food store or some grocery stores. They have a mild, nutty taste.

Fiber supplements are also available, the most popular being psyllium husk supplements such as Metamucil.

Add fiber to your diet gradually to avoid bloating and gas. Also, be sure to drink enough water otherwise fiber can have the opposite effect and be constipating.

2) Fluids

Making sure you drink enough fluids such as water may help some people with constipation. Fluids make bowel movements softer and easier to pass.

Watch your consumption of alcoholic beverages and caffeinated beverages such as coffee and cola drinks, which can be dehydrating.

3) Stimulant Laxatives

Many herbal laxatives and “dieter’s teas” are called stimulant laxatives, or anthranoid laxatives. They include herbs such as:

  • Cascara sagrada
  • Rhubarb
  • Aloe
  • Senna
  • Buckthorn

Some of these herbs, such as senna, are approved as over-the-counter treatments for constipation. Although they are meant to be short-term treatments, in reality, people can become dependent on them and use them for weeks, months, or even years at a time in order to have a daily bowel movement.

They should not be used for longer than a week unless under medical supervision. Prolonged use may cause the bowels to lose the ability to move on their own, and has been linked to chronic diarrhea, potassium depletion leading to muscle weakness and potentially dangerous irregular heart rhythms, and kidney or liver impairment.

4) Probiotics

Probiotics, such as lactobacillus acidophilus, are live microbial organisms that are naturally present in the digestive tract. Some of the ways they are thought to promote health include suppressing the growth of potentially harmful bacteria, improving immune function, enhancing the protective barrier of the digestive tract, and helping to produce vitamin K.

There is some preliminary evidence that probiotic supplements may improve constipation. For example, one study looked at the effect of a probiotic beverage containing a strain of beneficial bacteria called Lactobacillus casei Shirota (65 milliliters a day) or a placebo in people with chronic constipation. The probiotic drink resulted in significant improvement in severity of constipation and stool consistency.

Another study examined the effectiveness of another strain of probiotics on constipation in children and found no effect. Eighty four children between two and 16 years of age with constipation took lactulose (a laxative) plus a probiotic supplement containing lactobacillus GG or lactulose alone. After 12 and 24 weeks, lactobacillus was not more effective than lactulose alone at treating constipation.

5) Acupressure

Acupressure is a traditional healing practice that involves the application of finger pressure to specific acupuncture points on the body.

A point that is often recommended by acupuncturists for constipation is Large Intestine 4. Although it hasn’t been studied for constipation, it is a simple home remedy that may work for some people. The point is at the highest spot of the muscle between the thumb and index finger when they are brought close together. Caution: do not use this point if you are pregnant.

With your thumb or middle finger at a 90 degree angle to the skin, apply gradually increasing pressure. Hold for three minutes. The pressure should not be painful or uncomfortable.

6) Magnesium

A deficiency of the mineral magnesium may contribute to constipation. Magnesium is found naturally in foods such as green leafy vegetables, nuts, seeds, and whole grains and in supplements.

Magnesium is needed for normal muscle function, including intestinal muscles. One recent study examined the intake of magnesium with constipation in 3835 women. Low magnesium intake was associated with constipation.

Other Tips

  • Engage in regular physical activity. Not getting enough physical activity can lead to constipation.
  • Don’t put off the urge. The longer you delay when the urge to have a bowel movement strikes, the more water gets absorbed from stool and the harder it becomes to have a bowel movement.

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Akilah M. El, N.D. is a Naturopathic Doctor and board-certified Master Herbalist with a private practice in Atlanta Georgia and Berlin Germany. Join Dr Akilah El on Facebook and Twitter

For More Health Tips Like This Check Out Our Health Tips Page

Health Remedy of The Month “Natural Treatment for Puffy Eyes”

Puffy eyes lack luster and can make you look tired or ill. Puffy or swollen eyes are one of the common beauty problems. It is caused by accumulation of fluids around the eyes.

There are other several causes of puffiness which are as follows:

  • Heredity
  • Water retention
  • Toxins build up
  • Weather changes
  • Hormones
  • Allergic reactions
  • Health issues or complications from medications

Use Potatoes To Treat Puffy Eyes

Potatoes are a South American plant, originally from Peru. They were imported to Europe in the 16th century. Made up mostly of starch, potatoes also contain citric acid and phosphoric acid.

Method

  • Peel a raw potato.
  • Grate the potato and pound it into a plaster.
  • Wrap the raw potato hash in clean cloth.
  • Lie down and apply the potato poultice to your eyes.
  • Leave in place for fifteen minutes.

Why It Works

Potato starch has anti-inflammatory properties which make it good for soothing redness and irritation. However, potatoes are not an astringent and will not reduce swelling.

Diet:

Avoid eating salty foods like pickles, chips, alcohol as they preserve fluids that settles in the eye region. Drink enough water to keep your body hydrated. It will minimize the puffiness around your eyes. Take adequate amount of essential fatty acids in your diet especially those from flaxseed oil and fish oil. Essential fatty acids help to reduce inflammation throughout the body.

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Your Servant in Health
Dr Akilah

The Health Benefits of Aloe Vera Gel and Juice

Health benefits of aloe vera gel are abundant and we can maximize our experience by supplementing this healthy, non-tasty-nectar with other healthful components.

Aloe vera is a very convenient product that is available in many topical creams, ointments, as long as it is produced from stabilized aloe vera leaf ‘s gel.

Stabilization is the process that allows aloe to keep nearly 100% of all the ingredients intact by the oxidation until the moment we consume it.

Some of the most outstanding benefits of aloe are related to cicatrization. The substance in the aloe plant is conducive to regenerating and this is particularly effective for the skin. Topical solutions that contain high-conciseness pure aloe vera gel are naturally healthful for the surface of the skin for many reasons.

Skin readily absorbs aloe because one of many aloe’s components, Lignin has the ability to penetrate all three human skin layers (epidermis, dermis, hypodermis) and convey the health benefits of aloe vera gel. As well as, composition of the plant is much like the composition of the human body. The similarities make the gels and creams containing stabilized aloe vera gel more compatible with skin and organism than many other products.

Aloe Vera Juice

Thе health benefits οf aloe vera juice hаνе long bееn known. It hаѕ bееn used historically аѕ a soothing balm, applied externally fοr cuts, scrapes аnd burns. Modern uses οf aloe vera аrе extensive.

Thе health benefits οf aloe vera taken internally include: improved circulation, regulation οf blood pressure, promotes healing οf bones аnd joints, strengthens thе immune system, defends thе body against bacteria, heals internal tissue dаmаgе, heals ulcers, improves аnd even eliminates constipation, blood sugar regulation, аnd reduces itchiness іn psoriasis helping іt tο heal.
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Drinking two tο four ounces a day іѕ аll thаt іѕ required tο gain thе many benefits οf aloe vera juice. If уου drink іt daily, aloe vera саn aid уουr digestion, improve уουr circulation аnd detoxify уουr body аnd cleanse уουr colon.
Thе detoxification properties οf aloe vera juice аlѕο act tο detoxify уουr blood stream. If уου hаνе intestinal οr stomach problems іt саn hеlр уουr digestive tract tο work smoothly.
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Aloe vera аlѕο helps tο dilate thе capillaries аnd support cell growth, thereby improving circulation.
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One οf thе mοѕt іmрοrtаnt health benefits οf aloe vera juice іѕ іtѕ operation аѕ аn anti-bacterial аnd anti-fungal agent, helping tο prevent thе onset οf disease іn thе body. Thus, taking aloe vera juice daily helps tο maintain gοοd health аnd provide a sense οf wellbeing аnd energy.

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Supplementary Nutritional Health Benefits of Aloe Vera

Supplementary nutritional qualities in the aloe plant are wondrous and we can enjoy the effects on our skin, digestive system, external appearance and our energy levels. Aloe contains over 75 nutrients, among other 20 minerals, 12 vitamins and 18 amino acids, including 7 of the 8 that our body have to take them solely from food. Aloe vera juice is ideal for maintaining a healthy digestive tract. This element is naturally detoxifying, allowing nutrients to be readily absorbed.

Topical care is another great benefit of using aloe vera skin care products. Many people use this component to relief symptoms of skin conditions like psoriasis and eczema.

The solution is ideal for the first care of burns, minor traumas, abrasions, skin irritation and it can help skin recover faster, without inelegant, ugly scars after minor surgery.

Aloe is a natural anti-infectious that has been used to relief peptic ulcers. Results are readily apparent inside and out. People take aloe vera to boost their immunity to bacteria, disease and illnesses.

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For a list of other herbs and their benefits please visit our herbal directory here – http://www.celestialhealing.net/herbal_guide.htm

Happiness and Optimistic Attitudes Important in Preventing Breast Cancer

Want to lower your risk of getting breast cancer? Recent research in Israel published in the British journal BMC Cancer has given us one more thing to take note of.

Breast Cancer Statistics

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, after non-melanoma skin cancer, cancer of the breast is the next one which most commonly afflicts American women. In 2004 alone, over 185,000 women and more than 1,800 men were diagnosed with the disease, while almost 41,000 women and 362 men actually died because of breast cancer.

Overall, in that year, breast cancer was the number five killer of American women, while being their number two cancer killer. For Hispanic women, breast cancer was also the type of cancer which caused the most deaths.

These numbers do not make for good reading at all. What actually causes breast cancer, and what can we do to stave it off?

Possible Causes of Breast Cancer

Those who are familiar with natural health and healing will know that breast cancer, like all other forms of cancer, can be prevented and even treated using powerful dietary and lifestyle choices, such as consuming enough fiber, exercising regularly, as well as getting enough sunshine and vitamin D.

What is also clear is that breast cancer, again like all forms of cancer, is a multi-factorial disease which needs to be tackled from various angles.

Recent research at the Ben-Gurion University of the Negev in Israel has given us one more piece of the jigsaw – it seems that happiness and optimistic attitudes may reduce one’s risk of contracting the disease. On the flip side, adverse life events may increase one’s susceptibility to it.

Details of the Study

For the study, 622 women aged between 25 and 45 were asked about their life experiences, and researchers then assessed their levels of optimism, happiness, anxiety and depression before diagnosis. This information was then used to draw a link between life events, psychological distress and the occurrence of breast cancer. Of the participants, 255 were breast cancer patients, while the other 367 had never had cancer.

According to Professor Ronit Peled, the leader of the study, its findings “showed a clear link between outlook and risk of breast cancer, with optimists 25 percent less likely to have developed the disease”.

On the other hand, women who had been through two or more traumatic events in their lives had a 62 percent higher risk of contracting the disease.

The Emotion-Health Connection

Generally speaking, there have been other studies which have drawn a link between positive mental and emotional states and better health. For example, some studies have shown that positive emotions cause the body to produce more immune cells, while negative ones have the effect of suppressing one’s immune system.

But exactly and specifically how attitudes contribute to health, is something which we cannot say we know very well. One theory is that the body’s immune system is influenced by brain chemistry, which is in turn affected by one’s emotional experiences.

“The mechanism in which the central nervous, hormonal and immune systems interact and how behaviour and external events modulate these three systems is not fully understood,” said Peled. “The relationship between happiness and health should be examined in future studies and relevant preventative initiatives should be developed.”

One thing we do know, though, is that emotions such as happiness, stress, anger, anxiety and fear affect the human at a biochemical level. In other words, when our emotions change, our bodies also become chemically different.

What Next For Us

One thing that must be noted about the study is that the women were in fact interviewed after their cancer diagnosis, could very well affect their recollection of their emotional state in the past. When a person is going through a crisis, it would perhaps be a natural tendency to view events in the past more negatively.

Despite this, and although the “how” is still uncertain, Peled is convinced that the link between emotional events and health exists. He feels that “we can carefully say that experiencing more than one severe and/or mild to moderate life event is a risk factor for breast cancer among young women. On the other hand, a general feeling of happiness and optimism can play a protective role”.

According to him, young women who have gone through a number of adverse life events should be identified as being ‘at-risk’ for breast cancer and then be treated as necessary.

Most of us wish to find a specific solution for every health problem. The truth is, many degenerative diseases, and most certainly cancer, have their roots in multiple causes. That being the case, many factors would contribute to one’s risk profile, and a multi-pronged approach in preventing and dealing with the disease is almost always necessary.

What we now know, being happy and optimistic forms are an important part of such an approach.

And if you have been through some tough events in life, you may want to seek some help to address unresolved issues, either through professional counseling or otherwise. Leaving these issues lingering would just be adding more ammunition to the potential cancer time bomb.

Article by: Reuben Chow

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For more tips on relieving emotional stress or depression please visit our Emotional Wellness Page or click on this link http://www.celestialhealing.net/emotional_stress_therapy.htm

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