Capsicum represents a wide range of tropical pepper plants that are a species of plant in the nightshade family, referred to as Solanaceae.
The fruits produced by these plants are also known as Capsicum however; it is the dried fruits that are specifically used in medications and as condiments.
Capsicums are indigenous to the United States, where they were used in food as well as to prepare medicines for centuries however, at present; these pepper plants are grown all over the world. The fruits of these plants have an assortment of names depending on the type and the place where it grows. Some of the most common types of capsicum are red pepper, cayenne pepper, paprika, chili pepper, pimiento, sweet pepper, Hungarian pepper, aji dulce and Spanish pepper.
In traditional medicinal practices, peppers were recognized for their potential to enhance blood circulation, reduce heartburn and ease the discomfort caused by arthritis. They were used both externally and internally – internally it aids to improve the blood flow and circulation whereas; externally it relieves the nerve pain.
The fruit of pepper plant restrains a chemical known as capsaicin which is a substance that arouses the circulation and modifies temperature regulation.
When used topically, capsaicin helps to desensitize nerve endings and form an excellent local anesthetic. In addition, the dried fruit doesn’t have a narcotic effect although as a highly effective local stimulant, it is effectual in dilating bloodstreams and easing chronic congestion. Also, the seed of the pepper includes capsicidins, which are believed to have anti-biotic properties.
Furthermore, when used externally as an ointment, it promotes circulation, helps to remove waste materials and improves the flow of nutrients to the cells. It is also proven to reduce muscle spasms, type 2 diabetic neuropathy, bursitis and shingles. Additionally, as an ancient remedy for cold feet, it is crushed and placed inside socks.
Capsaicin also obstructs the spread of pain from the skin to the vertebrae and prevents the painful sensation therefore; it is useful in alleviating pain-related diseases.
The fruits are further known to have antiseptic, anti-hemorrhoidal and anti-rheutmatic properties. It is also beneficial for sinusitis, stomach and digestion conditions hence in the tropics, they are used as food preservatives. Also, being a rich source of vitamin C, it assists in warding off diseases.
Apart from its good taste, capsicum possesses a lot of dietetic value. It has been effectively used as home and herbal remedies since thousands of years. Though there are numerous health benefits of capsicum some of the most common ones are:
It is used in a wide range of cuisines all over the world in various forms such as appetizers, salads, curries etc. However, having capsicum orally, in large doses, for a long period of time is not recommended.
Capsicum extracts, herbal supplements and tinctures may offer a more consistent dose of the medication. To make sure of the correct dosage, measure the liquid form with a dose measuring spoon or dropper. The pill form is typically taken with a glass of water while the topical form of capsicum is intended only for external use.
When thinking about taking it in the form of herbal supplements, seeking advice from a doctor is advisable.
Side effects when used nasally include itching, sneezing, skin irritation and burning pain. It can be particularly bothersome to the nose, eyes and throat.
When consumed orally, the side effects can comprise of stomach upset, watery eyes, sweating and running nose.
These side effects usually diminish after repeated use and consumption.
Overall, if you opt to take capsicum as a medication, use it as instructed on the covering package or as directed by your physician, pharmacist, or other health-care provider.