Benefits of Cayenne Pepper
Discover Cayenne Peppers! My Top Spicy Favorite!
The multifunctional use of cayenne peppers in both culinary and medicinal spheres may come as a surprise to many. Globally, cayenne is acclaimed for its healing properties, abundant in various vitamins, and majorly recognized for promoting heart health and enhancing circulatory activities, making it a circulatory stimulant. A diet staple for over 9,000 years, cayenne peppers have also carved a niche for themselves in diverse cuisines. During the last 30-50 years, cayenne has further garnered attention in herbal medicine.
The key to cayenne’s medicinal properties is capsaicin, which gives the peppers their heat. Rich in vitamins A and C, and the entire B complex family, cayenne is highly beneficial for the heart (not to be confused with heartburn).
Cayenne, often referred to as a catalyst herb by many herbalists, boosts the potency of other herbs. By stimulating the digestive and circulatory systems, cayenne delivers both a tonic and antiseptic effect to the body, further facilitating toxin elimination through increased perspiration.
Cayenne is regarded as an excellent treatment for colds and sinus infections, often accompanied by sore throats. It can aid in drainage and alleviate sore throats through a simple cayenne gargle:
- One glass of warm to hot water
- 1 teaspoon of cayenne powder
Stir continuously to prevent the pepper from settling at the bottom. Keep your eyes closed while gargling to avoid irritation. Within minutes, you should experience a significant improvement in your throat and sinus symptoms.
Cayenne also helps with or prevents various other health issues, including:
- Supporting the heart, kidneys, lungs, pancreas, spleen, and digestive tract
- Improving varicose veins and circulation
- Relieving colic, Crohn’s disease, and motion sickness
- Treating bleeding ulcers
- Regulating blood pressure
- Aiding in weight loss
- Alleviating topical pains such as arthritis, fibromyalgia, osteoarthritis, rheumatism, lumbago, and spasms
- Used externally for sprains, itching, psoriasis, and pleurisy
Precaution: I in no way endorse using herbal medicine without professional medical consent or as an alternative to doctor-prescribed medication.
Growing Cayenne Peppers
Cayenne peppers can be grown either in the ground or in a 5-gallon bucket, depending on your preference.
Begin your pepper seed cultivation indoors, about 8-10 weeks prior to the last frost. Ensure the seedlings remain indoors till any frost risk has passed, usually between mid-April and October. Seed starter trays offer a convenient way to begin seeding. Young plants can also be purchased from local nurseries or stores such as Home Depot or Lowe’s. Proper hardening off your plants before moving them outdoors is critical – consult the “How to Harden Your Transplants” guide for further details.
Select a location that ensures full sun and well-drained soil for your pepper plants, translating to 6-8 hours of sunlight every day. Space the plants about 14-16 inches apart to ensure ample growth room. Many often contemplate using a cage for their peppers, which is suggested for plants growing taller than a foot or two, needing some form of support system. You can find inexpensive staking systems, like the one from Walmart – individual poles based on height around 88 cents each, and adjustable connectors for around $2.00 in a four-pack, suitable for any garden layout.
Peppers require warm soil to grow properly, making raised garden beds ideal for them. As mentioned earlier, 5-gallon buckets also work well with the right soil and drainage. This video offers helpful guidance on preparing a bucket for planting peppers or tomatoes. It’s recommended to use bagged organic potting soil, particularly for those with clay-like soil. When preparing your soil mixture, use bagged organic potting soil (not the kind for houseplants or pre-fertilized), cow compost, and perlite. A typical mix consists of 50% potting soil, 50% cow compost, and 15% perlite. If you can’t find regular potting soil, you can substitute sphagnum at a 40/60 ratio (40% sphagnum, 60% cow compost).
How, What and When to feed/water your peppers:
I use Miracle-Gro for tomatoes, which can be easily attached to your water hose, as shown in this picture. The water fills it up and mixes the solution for you. There’s a button that allows you to switch between feeding the fertilizer to your plants or just watering with the hose. I feed my peppers this mix once a week while watering them as usual. My peppers are in garden boxes, so I water them every morning before the sun gets too high. Be sure to let your soil mix dry out before watering again. Garden box soil usually stays warmer than in-ground soil, making it ideal for peppers.
Peppers in containers also need frequent watering, similar to those in garden boxes. To determine when to water, insert your finger about 1 inch into the soil. If it’s dry, it’s time to water. This method works well for most plants. You’ll soon figure out whether you need to water daily or every few days based on your climate. Younger peppers typically require more nitrogen in the soil, while older plants need more phosphorus. For organic options, worm castings, fish emulsion, and seaweed extract are among the best choices I’ve found.
Pick and eat your peppers how and whenever you want. There is no waiting unless you want a hotter pepper. Peppers are ready to eat pretty much at any time and the more often you pick them, the more they produce!
I hope you’ve enjoyed this article and have learned just how good peppers can be for you. Be it in a yummy tasty dish, plain or used for medicinal purposes, Cayenne is definitely something you want to have in your garden!