You know you’re enjoying cayenne peppers when your eyes are watering, your nose is running and you break out in a sweat!

On the Scoville scale of heat units, cayenne peppers come in at 30-50,000! To put that in perspective, pepperoncini comes in at just 100-500 and jalapeno peppers score 2,500-8,000. So when it comes to hot, cayenne peppers push the limits of most palates. (Though there are many peppers that are even hotter!)[1]

Cayenne pepper—one of the hottest herbs when it comes to natural remedies. Click to Tweet.

capsaicin cayenne peppers provide pain reliefBut cayenne peppers do more than spice up chili, tacos, and hot chocolate. For millennia, Native Americans have been using cayenne peppers as an effective herbal remedy for a multitude of ailments.

So, how can something so hot be so good for you? The magic ingredient is capsaicin (cap-say-ah-sin). Capsaicin is like the laser technology of herbs. Just as a laser can either cut through steel or perform the most delicate eye surgery…

Capsaicin is a fiery pepper can either inflict pain or relieve it. Click to Tweet.

The capsaicin in cayenne peppers possesses powerful pain-relieving properties when applied topically. Cayenne powder is often mixed and diluted with a mild skin cream for relief of:[2]

  • Osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and joint or muscle pain
  • Nerve pain due to shingles or neuropathy
  • Pain control following an amputation or mastectomy
  • Lower back pain
  • Psoriasis

But avoid getting cayenne pepper in the eyes, open wounds, or mucous membranes as it will sting fiercely! (Capsaicin is an ingredient commonly used in pepper spray.) Apply cayenne in very small doses and not too often, as repetitive use could cause nerve damage.[3]

Internally, cayenne serves as treatment for:[4]

  • Improving circulation
  • Boosting the immune system
  • Aiding digestion by stimulating gastric juices
  • Treating ulcers
  • Treating migraines and cluster headaches

Cayenne pepper has also been used to remedy everything from seasickness and malaria to toothaches and worms.[5] Capsaicin touts anti-bacterial, anti-carcinogenic, analgesic, anti-fungal, and anti-diabetic properties.[6]

In addition to its powerful, hot ingredient capsaicin, cayenne pepper boasts high levels of vitamins A, B-complex, C, E, and K. These fiery little herbs also pack a wallop when it comes to minerals and nutrients including: potassium, iron, copper, manganese, zinc, sodium, phosphorus, selenium, and magnesium.[7]

cold and sinus teaYou can purchase and use cayenne pepper fresh, dried, powdered and in capsule form. Due to the fact that cayenne pepper is so hot, follow recommended guidelines. Cayenne may aggravate acid reflux and the gastro-intestinal tract in some people.[8]

Treat a Cold with Cayenne

Next time you have a head cold: prepare ginger tea, add a teaspoon of lemon, a teaspoon of honey and a dash of cayenne pepper.

The cayenne does wonders for clogged sinuses! For more information and remedies for the common cold visit our Home Cures That Work website.


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Rob_FischerRob Fischer has been writing professionally for over 35 years. His experience includes writing curricula, study guides, articles, blogs, newsletters, manuals, workbooks, training courses, workshops, and books. Rob has written for numerous churches, for Burlington Northern Railroad, Kaiser Aluminum, and Barton Publishing. He has also trained managers in effective business writing. Rob holds two Master’s degrees, both focused heavily on writing. Rob has published eleven books and serves as an editor and ghostwriter for other authors.



[1] US Hot Stuff, “Just How Hot Are My Chilis?” nd,
[2] University of Maryland Medical Center, “Cayenne,” nd,
[3] Jennifer Brett, ND, “Cayenne Pepper: Herbal Remedies,” How Stuff Works, nd,
[4] Herb Wisdom, “Cayenne (Capsicum Annuum),” nd,
[5] Web MD, “Cayenne Pepper (Capsicum) Overview Information,” nd,
[6] Nutrition and You, “Cayenne Pepper Nutrition Facts,” nd,
[7] Medical News Today, “What Are the Benefits of Cayenne?” September 8, 2014,
[8] Nutrition and You.