chilli large cayenne/chilli/capsicum

Cayenne/Chilli/Capsicum | Capsicum minimum/annuum/frutescens

general characteristics

general characteristics

Common names include chilli, chili pepper, chili, chile, cayenne pepper, capsicum, hot pepper,

The original spelling began as chilli (with 2 l's) from the translation of the Aztec name for the plant. Later it has gone on to the various spellings we know today. I have always known it as chilli so that's what I call it!

We are talking about the spicy, pungent variety of chilli pepper rather than the milder or sweeter versions such as bell peppers or jalapeno etc.

Chillis are thought to be native to Central and South America where they have cultivated for thousands of years but are now grown worldwide. They belong to the Solanaceae family (the nightshade family which includes potatoes, tomatoes, tobacco etc.) and individual plant varieties cross breed freely making it difficult to pin down exact varieties. There are now 100's of different cultivars as well as some wild varieties.

They are short lived bushy perennial shrubs (often annuals in colder climates) reaching around 50cm in height typically. The fruits (berries) follow the flowers.



Organic chilli powder and tinctures are available to buy in our herbal shop.






harvesting and preparation

harvesting and preparation

The colourful fruits are the parts used in herbal medicine. Harvest them when the fruits are ripe. They can be used fresh in cooking or nibbled raw but for medicinal purposes they are best/easiest consumed in their dried powdered state, seeds removed. Chillis can also be added fresh or dried to any vegetable oil and left to infuse for several weeks before straining. This makes a useful oil to rub into painful joints, chilblains and frostbite for example.

Fresh chilli fruits are easily dried by laying on a tray and leaving them in a warm place until they are dry enough that they crumble when you rub them between your fingers. Don't forget to wash your hands thoroughly after handling either fresh or dried chillis.

Chilli seeds need warmth to germinate and can be a bit tricky but there are many websites detailing the processes involved. Make sure you are not growing a super hot variety, stick to Capsicum minimum or frutescens.


Organic chilli powder and tinctures are available to buy in our herbal shop.


therapeutic actions and uses

therapeutic actions and uses

Chilli has some incredible and invaluable actions on the heart and blood circulation in human body and has been valued around the world as both a food and medicine for hundreds of years. I think many people will be very surprised at the powerful medicine they have sitting in their kitchen cupboards!

Its many medicinal actions include circulatory stimulant, accentuator and carrier (speeds up the delivery and increases the activity of other medicinal herbs in a formula), expectorant, heart tonic, analgesic, anti-ulcer and gastro-protective, anti-cancer. Many Herbalists use small amounts of cayenne in their formulas to help increase the action of other medicinal herbs.

Fresh chillis are very rich in many nutrients such as vitamin C and A, B vitamins, manganese and potassium.

Chilli is a potent heart tonic and has an excellent reputation for stopping heart attacks when given during an attack. Dr Christopher recommended a teaspoon of chilli powder in hot water (allowed to cool to warm) for this purpose. It is suggested that chilli has a regenerating action on the heart tissue itself. Here is a link to the true story of a man who lived another 20 years or so after failed by-pass surgery by using pure chilli powder in capsule form.

It has a fascinating and apparently contradictory effect on the movement and activity of the blood....thinning it and promoting blood flow and good circulation yet at the same time also has the ability to encourage efficient clotting and stems blood flow from wounds.

It can also help stabilise the heart suffering from cardiac arrhythmias (irregular heart beat), tachycardia and palpitations.

It equalises blood pressure, useful for both high blood pressure and low blood pressure. Can also be used in dropperfuls by mouth in shock and as a preventative against fainting.

Regular consumption of chilli can help to both prevent and speed recovery from strokes and other cardiovascular incidents.

Promotes blood circulation and flow so great for poor circulation, cold extremities, Raynauds disease, chilblains, frostbite, external ulcers (especially when accompanied by poor blood flow), muscle spasms and gangrene.

Chilli encourages better blood flow through both the venous blood vessels and the arterial vessels and can prove extremely useful for conditions such as phlebitis, varicose veins, embolism, aneurysms and thrombosis when used externally and/or internally.

It encourages diaphoresis (sweating) to lower temperatures during a fever such as from influenza and colds. It also has a tonic and stimulating action on the immune system generally.

Stems blood flow from wounds both internal and external, slowing haemorrhage and bleeding. Take it internally for both internal and exterior bleeding or sprinkle chilli powder into an external bleeding wound. It can also help to promote neat scar formation.

Chilli helps to cleanse the sinuses and treat sinusitis by encouraging rapid blood flow to and from the sinus cavities and a subsequent draining of backed up sinus fluids. A tiny pinch of chilli powder can be snorted up each nostril to achieve this. Read my blog entry entitled 'snorting chilli for sinusitis' for a real success story. It can also prove valuable in the treatment of sinus and nasal polyps.

Chilli is also antifungal and can be used for conditions such as athletes foot and candida. It is also antiseptic and cleansing to wounds and external ulcers.

Chilli is showing great promise as a part of the treatment for various cancers such as pancreatic cancer, it causes prostate cancer cells to kill themselves and actually detoxifies many carcinogenic substances in the body, thus helping to prevent as well as heal.

It has a regenerating effect on the nerves of the body and can also be used in cases of paralysis such as in Bells Palsy.

Compounds in chill are known to be pain relieving and can be used externally to help with neuralgia (nerve pain), backache, lumbago, arthritic and rheumatic pains, strains and sprains, spondylosis, migraines, deep seated congestion and the pain of shingles.

Eating chillis or taking them in medicinal doses can help to lower/stabilise blood glucose so could prove useful in the management of type 2 diabetes and high blood sugar conditions.

Chilli powder can be dabbed onto a painful tooth to help relieve toothache.

Many people have a hard time believing that chilli can actually cure stomach ulcers but it really can. It also exhibits a gastro protective action on the lining of the stomach, protecting against possible ulcer formation. This is one of my all time favourite chilli stories (there are so many!).....A lady who had been attending Dr. Christopher's lectures over the years told the story of her husband who had a severe ease of stomach ulcers. The doctor recommended that part of the stomach be removed, but the man preferred to suffer the pain rather than risk such an operation. But he also ridiculed his wife's recommendations to use Cayenne and other herbs. Whenever he would see Dr. Christopher in town, he'd bellow, “Hello, Doc! Killed anybody with Cayenne today?” Naturally, Dr. Christopher tried to avoid him, but one day he came directly to the Doctor—but this time without any sarcasm, instead being very apologetic, telling this story.

He had come home from work one night, so sick he wanted to die, with stomach ulcers. His wife was not home, but he was in such pain that he decided to commit suicide. When he looked into the medicine cabinet to find some kind of medicine poisonous enough to kill him, he discovered that his wife had discarded all the old bottles of pharmaceutical medicines. All he could find were some bottles of herbs and a large container of Cayenne pepper. He figured that a large dose of that would kill him, so he took a heaping tablespoon in a glass of hot water, gulped it down, rushed into the bedroom, and covered his head with a pillow so that the neighbors couldn't hear his dying screams.

The next thing he knew, his wife was shaking him awake the next morning. He had slept all night, the first time in years, instead of waking every half hour or so for anti-acid tablets. To his amazement, all his pain was gone. He continued using the Cayenne faithfully, three times a day, and never had any more trouble with ulcers.

Chilli has also gained note as an aid to weight loss. It seems several things are at work here, chilli lessens the appetite somewhat and encourages the burning of extra calories when taken with a meal.

Chilli has antiseptic qualities and can be added to herbal preparations for sore and infected throats, pharyngitis, laryngitis, tonsillitis, glandular fever and swollen glands, mumps, quinsy, pleurisy, diphtheria and encourages the action of other expectorants to expel mucous and ease coughs.

It can also be used safely to help treat asthma, cystic fibrosis, COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease), pneumonia and poor lung function.

When added to other herbal mixtures it will ease constipation and help prevent the griping from stronger cathartic herbs. It can also help in diverticulosis/itis and generally help improve faulty digestion.

Some chilli fans report a viagra like activity, almost certainly resulting from the immense blood flow promoting actions of chilli. It may prove useful in erectile dysfunction and impotence.

Chilli can also be added to herbal formulas used for eye complaints such as styes. It will produce a burning sensation but increases blood flow to and from the eyes, increases the speed and action of the other herbs and promotes bright eyes and clear vision (after the tears have dried up!).

Components in chillis have been found to defend against cholera.

Infused oil of chilli can also be used as an external rub on the scalp to help reverse hair loss in alopecia.

Here is a link to some inspiring stories from Dr Christopher on the incredible healing successes achieved with cayenne.

And another quick video (1 minute or so) on how a little boys life was saved by cayenne after a gunshot wound.



dosage and cautions

dosage and cautions

*Take care when handling chillis in their fresh or dried form as they will produce an intense burning sensation in sensitive areas such as eyes, nose, genitals etc. It will certainly do no harm to these parts, just sting like crazy.

* whist many people have achieved good results with standard food grade shop bought chilli, most herbalists use capsicum minimum, annuum or frutescens as medicine.

*If taking any medicines for the heart, circulation, blood pressure or blood clotting mechanisms, be cautious of using chilli in medicinal doses. Start with very small doses and increase very slowly over time or stick to edible doses only.

* Be mindful that chilli increases the actions of medicinal herbs so that implies it will do the same for all medications.

* A study concluded that chilli inhibited iron absorption but the study was based on meals that were 'fortified with iron', not naturally iron rich foods.


Tincture: start with a few drops in water, herb teas or juices, up to 3 times daily. Add a few drops to any tinctured formula to speed up and increase the actions of the herbs in the formula.

Powdered chilli: start with a pinch 3 times daily in herb teas, juices or water and build up slowly over weeks. Renowned herbalist Dr Christopher recommends starting with a third of a teaspoon of cayenne powder in a little water 3 times daily, gradually increasing up to a teaspoon 3 times daily as a punchy medicinal dose for more sever and acute conditions.

Chilli oil (external use): extremely easy to make using 2 ingredients - chillies and oil. Recipe link for chilli infused oil here. Use sparingly on first application to assess its effects. It is not necessary to cook for all that time either, just put in a warm place (on a radiator, airing cupboard etc).

Chilli liniment (external use): put one heaped teaspoon of chilli powder in a pint of cider vinegar. Simmer gently for 10 minutes, do not strain but bottle it whilst still hot.

 ***Here is a really informative page on how to take chilli for maximum results, written by one of the best Herbalists around today, Richard Schulze.


Add 12 to the child’s age. Divide the child’s age by the total.
E.g. dosage for a 4 year old...... 4 {age} divided by 16 {age + 12} = . 25  or 1/4 of the adult dosage.




Child watering plants




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