Sunday, February 15, 2009

Capsicum annuum L.

English Name : Cayenne, Red pepper, Bird Pepper

Family : Solanaceae

Origin : Probably South America

It is a short-lived perennial herb but is cultivated as an annual herb. The leaves are oblong and glabrous. The flowers are solitary, rarely in pairs, pure white to bluish white, very rarely violet in colour. The berries are green, maturing into yellow, orange to red grading into brown or purple, pendent, rarely erect, very variable in size (up to 20 cm long and 10 cm in dia.), shape and pungency and sometimes lobed. The seeds are white or cream to yellow, thin, almost circular, having long placental connections.

Most tropical and subtropical countries of the globe.

Parts Used : Fruit, seed oil and an oleoresin

Herb Effects
Antirheumatic, antiseptic, diaphoretic, digestive, irritant, rubefacient, sialagogue, tonic, rubefacient, irritant, carminative, stimulates the secretion of saliva and gastric juices, stimulates peristalsis of the stomach and lowers blood cholesterol (fruit). It reduces the likelihood of developing, atherosclerosis by reducing blood cholesterol and triglyceride levels. It also reduces the platelet aggregation and increases fibrinolytic activity.

Active Ingredients
Alanine, alpha-carotene, alpha-linolenic acid, alpha-phyllandrene, alpha-pinene, alpha-terpineol, alpha-tocopherol, arginine, ascorbic acid, beta-carotene, betaine, capsaicin (a red coloring matter), caffeic acid, camphene, capsaicin, caryophyllene, chlorogenic acid, citric acid, eugenol, folacin, hesperidin, homocapsaicin, limonene, linoleic acid, lutein, myrcene, niacin, oleic acid, p-coumaric acid, pulegone, riboflavin, scopoletin, solanine, solasodine, stearic acid, stigmasterol, terpinen-4-ol, thiamin, tocopherol, tryptophan and vanillylamide decynate (fruit); fucosterol and iso-citrostadienol (seed oil); acetyl-choline, choline, (pericarp); beta-sitosterol (plant).

Medicinal Use
For atony of the intestines and stomach, indigestion, dipsomania, catarrh, relieving chronic congestion, relaxed uvula (tincture powder), as a powerful external rubefacient (without blistering), in lumbago, rheumatism and neuralgia. It is taken internally in the treatment of the cold stage of fevers, debility in convalescence or old age, varicose veins, asthma and digestive problems. Externally it is used in the treatment of sprains, unbroken chilblains, neuralgia, pleurisy etc. It is an effective sea-sickness preventative. It is useful for Bursitis, Diabetic neuropathy, Osteoarthritis, Psoriasis, Rheumatoid arthritis, Shingles (herpes zoster) and postherpetic neuralgia. Cayenne pepper exerts a number of beneficial effects on the cardiovascular system.

Gargle: 1/2 drachm of powder to 1 pint of boiling water. or 1/2 fluid oz of the tincture to 8 fluid oz of rose water. If the throat is very sensitive it can be given in pill form. which is generally made with 1 to 10 grains of powder.
Infusion: use 1/2 to 1 tsp. pepper per cup of boiling water. Take warm, 1 tbsp at a time.
Powder: for acute conditions, take 3-10 grains, for chronic conditions 1-3 grains.

Avoid use in cases of peptic ulcer disease or hyperacidity. Avoid use in cardiac palpitations, i.e. undesirable effect on the heart. Do not use if there is a burning sensation in the stomach.Avoid on open wounds, due to irritation.


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