Cayenne is a shrub that originated in Central and South America and now grows in subtropical and tropical climates. Its hollow fruit grows into long pods that turn red, orange or yellow when they ripen. The pepper also contains vitamin C, vitamin B6, vitamin E, potassium, manganese and flavonoids which provides its powerful antioxidant properties.
When cayenne pepper hits your stomach your brain starts to release endorphins, which are our body's natural painkillers. Applying topical applications of cayenne pepper can reduce muscle and joint pain and inflammation significantly. This is because cayenne has counter-irritant effect: if you rub cayenne on the affected area, it will cause a mild irritation to the tissue to which it was applied, thus distracting from the original more severe joint pain. The active ingredient in cayenne is a substance known as capsaicin. This chemical relieves pain by acting on the sensory nerves by hindering the transmission of a neurotransmitter responsible for transmitted pain signals to your brain.
The capsaicin in cayenne pepper is known to increase metabolism by increasing the internal heat of the body. To increase heat, energy is needed, and thus cayenne pepper contributes to increased metabolism. Another theory by a South Korean research suggests that capsaicin might raise the metabolism by positively affecting proteins that help break down fat.
Cayenne has been used to improve blood circulation in traditional Asian medicine as well as in the Indian medicine of Ayurveda. To improve blood circulation, some herbalists suggest taking a quarter-teaspoon three times a day or placing a poultice made with cayenne to boost circulation in a troublesome area. Eating spicy foods, which contain capsaicin from hot peppers increases blood flow throughout the body, and therefore many people become flushed when they eat certain spicy foods.
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