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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

 

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The Health Benefits of Peppermint Tea

The Health Benefits of Peppermint TeaPeppermint tea is abundantly found as a wild herb in many parts of Europe. It is widely used for the manufacture of a variety of things like candies, ice cream, chewing gum, soaps and shampoos. But it is most commonly used for making peppermint tea. This tea is made by bringing natural spring water or distilled water, boil it and pour it over fresh peppermint leaves. This is then allowed to steep for about seven minutes. The strong minty flavor and aroma of this tea is because of high concentration of menthol present the peppermint plant. Peppermint tea is very beneficial to the health of its users. The benefits include:

1.Helps to cure problems of the stomach.
Peppermint is considered as a stomach healer. Intake of peppermint tea helps to cure problems of the stomach like frequent diarrhea, constipation, irritable bowel syndrome, stomach aches and nausea. Peppermint tea is preferred over other forms of peppermint and is mostly used to relieve stomach related problems.

2.Helps to enhance body immunity.
Peppermint tea helps to relieve symptoms of common cold and flu. It contains healthy vitamins, such as Vitamin B, and minerals like potassium Peppermint Tice Tea -  Health Benefitsand calcium. Ma combination of all these nutrients in peppermint tea helps improve the general immunity and resistance of the body. Intake of this tea helps to control mild attack of respiratory diseases like asthma and prevent future illnesses due to viral or bacterial attacks.

3.Helps to reduce levels of stress.
The aroma and flavor of peppermint helps to relieve mental stress. Conditions of mental stress hamper good sleep during the night. Intake of peppermint tea helps to improve such conditions and results in better sleep.

4.Treats problems of bad breath.
People suffering from problems of bad breath can benefit form peppermint tea. Experience of many people has proved that regular and continuous use of peppermint tea can remove the problem of bad breath permanently.

5.Helps in weight loss.
Regular intake of peppermint tea helps to reduce appetite. Crave for food intake is thus reduced helping in weight loss.

6.Helps to alleviate many other common ailments.
Intake of peppermint tea helps to treat muscle aches, chronic pain, controls flatulence and helps to treat diverticular disorders.

Peppermint tea is easily available at all stores and is affordable for all. So the next time you prepare your grocery, remember the many health benefits of peppermint tea and add it to you list.

 How Prepare Peppermint Tea

Preparing peppermint tea using dried peppermint leaves (if you have your own peppermint plant, lay the leaves on a tray and let them dry in the sun for 24-48 hours until they become crunchy):

  • add 2 tablespoons of dried leaves to a cup of hot water
  • cover
  • steep for 10-20 minutes
  • strain

To enjoy the health benefits of peppermint tea even more, add a little honey or freshly squeezed lemon juice to your tea.

To store fresh peppermint, wrap the leaves in a damp paper towel, place in a plastic bag and keep in the refrigerator. This will keep it fresh for a few days.

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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

7 Secrets of Slim People

Ever notice how some women seem to stay slim without ever stressing about missed workouts or counting a single calorie? It seems unfair—and frustrating!—but those ladies might have some secrets the rest of us can steal. Turns out, you don’t have to completely overhaul your diet or exercise regimen to see fast and impressive results on the scale. (Though if you want a great, easy-to-follow plan, register for the Drop 10 Challenge on Self.com to lose 10 pounds in just five weeks.) In fact, recent research shows that sometimes it’s little, practically effortless changes to everyday habits that make the pounds fall off fast and forever. Try incorporating some of these simple, science-backed steps into your day-to-day life—it’s your turn to become one of those “naturally” slim lucky few!

Make time for tea
Women with the highest intake of catechins, antioxidants in tea that may accelerate fat burn, gained less weight over 14 years than those who sipped less, a study in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition reveals. White and green brews have the most catechins. Get brewing!

Move your workouts to the morning
Breaking a sweat before you sit down to breakfast can help you trim down faster, a study in The Journal of Physiology finds. Exercising on an empty stomach in the A.M. improves glucose tolerance, which spurs your body to shed fat.

Join the breakfast club
If you don’t already have regular morning meals, it’s time to start: Lifelong early eaters have a waistline about 2 inches smaller than that of breakfast skippers, The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition reveals. An A.M. meal may rev metabolism; plus, it may cause you to make less of an enzyme that raises cholesterol.

Savor your food
Eating slowly and steadily can help you stay slim. People who took 30 minutes to eat a bowl of ice cream created more fullness hormones than did those who ate faster, a study in The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism notes. Whenever you can, ditch distractions like the television while you’re dining so you can concentrate on enjoying the yummy food in front of you.

Become a creature of habit
Eating at the same times every day and could help you drop pounds. When mice ate at scheduled mealtimes and fasted for 12 hours at night, their liver turned on genes that burned more sugar and fat, say scientists at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies in La Jolla, California. No, we’re not mice, but if something as simple as sitting down to dinner at 7 P.M. every night helps speed weight loss, why not give it a shot?

Start with water
Downing two cups of H2O before meals helped people lose about 5 pounds more than those who said no to water, research from Virginia Tech reveals. Water is filling, so sippers ate 75 to 90 calories less. Enjoy a few cups of water while you prep a meal or before your entrée arrives at a restaurant to effortlessly keep calories in check.

Step on the scale

Dieters who weighed themselves at least weekly lost more weight than those who didn’t, according to research from the Minneapolis Heart Institute Foundation. Plus, the habit helped nondieters stay at a stable weight. Spotting scale swings early allows you to tweak your eating and exercise routine before pounds can pile up. 

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Natural Cures for Indigestion and Heartburn

When I think of Indigestion, Heartburn and nausea, the popular ad
campaign for Pepto Bismol with the dancing symptoms starts playing
in my head. Then the pink chalky residue comes to mind, ew. So what
is a natural health girl to do when she has a stomach ache? Consult
the herbalists and Alternative Medicine gurus, of course.

The main symptoms of Indigestion include abdominal pain, a burning
feeling in the upper abdomen, nausea, Heartburn, Bloating, Belching,
vomiting and Flatulence. Sounds like a good time, eh? Please do
consult with your Alternative Medicine practitioner if you have a
chronic problem, but if it is just the occasional malady, here are a
few Natural Remedies that may help:

Indigestion Prevention – Drink a mixture of one teaspoon Ginger and
two tablespoons baking soda in cold water before eating to avoid
Indigestion altogether.

Bananas – Ripe bananas are actually natural antacids that help to
soothe the lining of your stomach. I guess that is why pediatricians
often recommend them when the little ones are not feeling well.
Cider Vinegar or Lemon Juice – Add either of these to hot water and
drink to alkalize the acid in your stomach if you do not have a
banana handy.

Tea – The following Teas are excellent for indigestion: Ginger,
Peppermint, Fennel, Lemon Balm, Cinnamon, Slippery Elm powder.
Why water=bad with a meal – Yes, the glass is on the table at
dinner, but you shouldn’t drink while eating according to experts.
Water can dilute the gastric acid in your stomach which causes
Indigestion.

For a list of  Natural Remedies for various illnesses go to our website http://www.celestialhealing.net/herbal_guide2.htm