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ID
  
 
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Cayenne
Solanaceae
Capsicum frutescens


Thunder
Thunder
Flower Petal # 1
Main Color    
Color 2    
Type Categories Useful Parts

Herb



Solanaceae Family

Capsicum Genus
Other Names for this Plant

African Pepper, Bird Pepper, Chili Pepper, Goat's Pod, Mexican Chilies, Paprika, Red Pepper, Tabasco Pepper, Zanzibar Pepper


Location

Probably Native to the Amazon. Cultivated throughout the world in tropic and subtropic climate zones.

Physical Description
The cayenne plant produces long red peppers and grows to a height of 2-6 ft (0.5-2 m). C. frutescens plants have a compact habit, an intermediate number of stems, and grow between 1 and 4 feet high, depending on climate and growing conditions. The leaves are ovate, smooth, and measure 2½ inches long and 2 inches wide.

The flowers have greenish-white corollas with no spots and purple anthers. The pods are borne erect and measure up to 1½ inches long and 3/8 inch wide. Immature pods are yellow or green, maturing to bright red. The frutescens species is quite hot, measuring between 30,000 and 50,000 Scoville Heat Units.
The height of the plants depends on climate, with the plants growing the largest in warmer parts of the country. The plant is particularly good for container gardening, and one of our specimens lived as a perennial for 4 years in a pot, but gradually lost vigor and produced fewer pods each year. A single plant can produce 100 or more pods.



Compare Species
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Solanaceae
Nightshade Family
Solanales
Solanales
Nightshade Order
Euasterids I
Euasterids I
Real Stars Group One
Asteridae
Asteridae
Class of Stars (Daisies)
Core Eudicots
Core Eudicots
Main, Real, Two First-Leaves (Dicots)
Eudicots
Eudicots
Real, Two First-Leaves (Dicots)
Mesangiospermae
Mesangiospermae
Half Capsule Seed Division
Magnoliophyta
Magnoliophyta
Magnolia Division
Spermatophytes
Spermatophytes
Seed Plants
Euphyllophytina
Real Land Plants
Polysporangiates
Multiple Spore Sub-Kingdom
Stomatophytes
Stomatophytes
Air Pores Sub-Kingdom
Embryophytes
Embryophytes
Multicellular Land Plants
Streptobionta
Streptobionta
Multicellular Plants
Plantae
Plantae
Plants
Eukaryota
Eukaryota
Cells with a Nucleus


General Information

The origin of this herb, now used as food and medicine in most countries of the world, is uncertain. Cayenne was not mentioned in writings from ancient Egypt (1500 BC), Greece (455 BC to 50 BC), Rome (25 BC to 150 AD), Persia (13th century), India and China, so historians claim Cayenne peppers originated from the Americas, most likely from the banks of the Amazon. It is impossible for modern botanists to say where cayenne grew in some ancient time as a wild plant, because it has been domesticated and widely cultivated for so many centuries.

Medicinal Uses: Cayenne has anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, antiseptic, diuretic, analgesic, expectorant, and diaphoretic properties. Cayenne is a well known alternative treatment to aid with stimulating circulation. It has been used as a means of stimulating the thyroid, pineal and pituitary glands, as well as an effective treatment for fatigue, endurance, colds, and flu, and to strengthen the heart beat. Cayenne sprinkled in your socks or gloves on an icy day is said to give added warmth. But with all these known uses of cayenne, the most important reason for taking this fruit remains a mystery to most people.

A folk remedy for weak digestion and loss of appetite accompanied by gas and sluggish elimination, and as a stimulant to the circulation and the powers of resistance to help ward of colds and fluís.

Cayenne is a favorite with herbalists from many countries, and in the U.S., it was the "number two" favorite remedy of Samuel Thompson of the early 1800s, who started a popular herbal multi-level marketing extravaganza with his patent formulas--sort of a 19th century Herbal Life. He used it especially for helping to ward off and even expel the contagion of serious infectious diseases. It was also a favorite of the well-known Dr. Christopher, a Mormon herbalist who traversed the country in the 1960s and 70s, helping to bring herbal medicine back into American consciousness. In the late 70s, I remember watching him in a dynamic Seattle lecture, to the amazement of onlookers, put cayenne directly into his eyes as a healing and clearing remedy (don't try this at home folks!). He was enthusiastic about its use for numerous complaints, including as a styptic to help stop the bleeding of cuts.

Today, cayenne is one of the most-often used herbal remedies and is commonly recommended by herbalists for increasing circulation in people with cold hands and feet, as a metabolic stimulant for people with sluggish metabolisms who are overweight, as a warming stimulant with other herbs such as garlic and ginger for protecting against colds and upper respiratory tract infections, and externally as a liniment or in ointments for sore muscles, arthritis, rheumatism, low back pain, strains, sprains, bruises and neuralgia.

Indian Ayurvedic, Chinese, Japanese, and Korean medicines use cayenne to treat many different conditions. One Ayurvedic remedy for pain combines cayenne and mustard seeds into a paste to be applied to the affected area. Ayurvedic medicine also utilizes cayenne to treat gas and poor digestion. Chinese medicine employs cayenne for digestive ailments. An ointment or tincture made from cayenne is used in China and Japan to heal frostbite and myalgia (muscle pains). The German Commission E has approved cayenne in the treatment of painful muscle spasms, arthritis, rheumatism, neuralgia, lumbago, and chilblains.

Food Uses: In the food industry, cayenne is used in numerous foods and beverages besides hot sauces and condiments, including alcoholic beverages, meat products, candy, baked goods, puddings, and frozen dairy desserts (cayenne ice-cream anyone?).

The next time you enjoy a spicy Thai dinner, think of all the additional benefits from Mother Nature's food pharmacy that accompany the warm glow of a satisfying meal.

Use in salsa judiciously, season bouillabaisse, fish soups, stews. Add about a third of a dried pepper to salad dressings for zest and warming quality. Simply slice the pepper, remove seeds and place in soup, cook. Remove when degree of heat desired is reached (taste frequently). Keep your pepper handling fingers away from your eyes. Hot pepper spiced foods are good cold and flu prevention. They increase body heat, stimulate immune function, prepare and assist digestion and improve circulation to extremities.

Cultivation: The plant prefers light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and requires well-drained soil. The plant prefers acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils and can grow in very acid and very alkaline soils. It cannot grow in the shade. It requires moist soil.

Propagation: Seed - sow late winter to early spring in a warm greenhouse[138]. The seed usually germinates in 3 - 4 weeks at 20°c. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots of reasonably rich soil and grow them on fast. If trying them outdoors, then plant them out after the last expected frosts and give them the protection of a cloche or frame at least until they are established and growing away well.

Cultivation: The plant prefers light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and requires well-drained soil. The plant prefers acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils and can grow in very acid and very alkaline soils. It cannot grow in the shade. It requires moist soil.

Propagation: Seed - sow late winter to early spring in a warm greenhouse[138]. The seed usually germinates in 3 - 4 weeks at 20°c. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots of reasonably rich soil and grow them on fast. If trying them outdoors, then plant them out after the last expected frosts and give them the protection of a cloche or frame at least until they are established and growing away well.

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Warning: Generally considered safe when used according to instruction, but some people may experience side effects. People who are allergic to latex, bananas, kiwi, chestnuts, and avocado may also have an allergy to peppers.



Cayeene


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