Cayenne Peppers! (One of my favorites!)
Who would have thought Cayenne peppers were used for medicinal purposes as well as culinary? Known as a cure-all across the globe and very rich in multiple vitamins, cayenne is mostly known for its circulatory stimulate and is said to promote heart and blood vessels. Consumed by people for over 9,000 years now, cayenne peppers are also used in many different cuisines and over the last 30-50 years, have really been brought to attention as an herbal medicine.
Digging deeper into how this plant can actually help you is easy. We all know about capsaicin, (the stuff that makes em really, really hot) this is where the medicinal properties come in. High in vitamin A and C, cayenne is also high in the complete B complex family which is the reason it is great for the heart. (not to be confused with heart burn)
Known also as a catalyst herb by many herbalists, cayenne is probably one of the most useful herbs in the herb kingdom. Cayenne, when combined with other herbs, increases their effectiveness. It has the ability to stimulate the digestive and circulatory systems, and creates a tonic and antiseptic effect as well. It increases sweating through the skin which helps eliminate toxins from the body.
It is also considered a wonderful treatment for colds and sinus infections. Often times, sinus infections are accompanied by a sore throat. Cayenne helps with the drainage.
Here is a wonderful Cayenne gargle that is guaranteed to take away the sore throat in a matter of minutes and clears up that sinus infection:
- One standard glass of warm to hot water
- 1 teaspoon of cayenne powder
Yup, that’s all there is to it! Make sure to stir it continuously though, because the pepper likes to settle to the bottom. (Also, keep your eyes shut while gargling or you might be in pain if you splash by accident)! I know it sounds gross and scary, because you might think your mouth will be on fire, but its really not that bad. When I have used this, the only part that stung a little was on my lips because they were cracked, but a quick rinse of fresh water put a stop to that. However, you don’t want to rinse out your mouth because the cayenne elixir coats the throat while it helps cure it.
Within a few minutes of gargling, your throat should feel a dramatic improvement, along with clearing up your sinus. Keep gargling every 15 minutes or so for about an hour and take small sips every time you gargle. The next morning, you should feel a ton better. Now, if it doesn’t clear up in a day or so I would definitely go see your doctor, but trying a cayenne gargle only costs a fraction of the doctor’s visit so is worth it to me!
I can also testify to this, I have been putting a little cayenne in my family’s food for years and my children rarely, if ever get any sort of colds or sinus infections. In fact, they are pretty darn healthy!!
Moving on: Here is a list of other illnesses and medical issues that cayenne helps with or helps to prevent:
- Aids in support of the heart, kidneys, lungs, pancreas, spleen and digestive track
- Recommended for the improvement of varicose veins and circulation
- crohns disease
- motion sickness
- bleeding ulcers
- regulating blood pressure
- weight loss
- Various forms of topical pains such as arthritis, fibromyalgia,osteoarthritis, rheumatism, lumbago and spasms.
- Used externally for sprains, itching, psoriasis, pleurisy
Warning: In no way am I suggesting you use herbal medicine without your doctor’s consent or to replace any medications prescribed by your doctor.
You can grow cayenne peppers in the ground or in a 5 gallon bucket, whichever is easiest for you.
If you are starting from seeds, you will want to begin indoors in 8-10 weeks before the final frost. You will want to keep them indoors until the threat of frost passes and then transplant them out doors. That is usually mid-April until October. I usually buy the seed starter trays as they seem to be the easiest way to start your seeds. When I start them from seeds, (which is almost never) I usually buy the plants at a local nursery or place like home depot or Lowes. Before transplanting your seeds outdoors you will want to harden off your plants. See ” How to Harden your transplants”
You want to pick a place where your peppers will get full sun and well-drained soil. That’s 6-8 hours of sunlight a day and you will want to space them about 14-16 inches apart. I do about 16 inches so they have room to bush out some. Many people wonder if they need a cage around their peppers. I always put some sort of support system around any of my producing plants that grow more than a foot or two tall. Here is a picture of the staking system I use for my peppers. I purchased these at Walmart for very cheap. You can buy individual size polls according to height for about .88 cents a piece and then you buy the connectors in a package of four for around $2.00 a package. The connectors are adjustable and slide or snap on. You can slide them up and down the polls to grow with your plants or add more at the top. I think my favorite thing about these polls is the fact you fit them to how your garden is planted. Not fit your garden around the size of a pre-made cage.
Peppers need warm soil to grow properly. That is why raised garden beds are perfect for peppers. As stated up there, 5 gallon buckets work just as well with the right soil and drainage. This video is great on how to make your bucket ready for planting peppers or tomatoes. I use bagged organic potting soil because our soil is clay like and I just prefer buying potting soil to mix up on my own . When I mix up my soil, I use the bagged organic potting soil (not the kind for house flowers or pre-fertilized) and cow compost. I usually mix it 50/50 and throw in about 15% perlite. If you can’t find any regular potting soil, you can use sphagnum instead only at a 40/60 ratio. (40% sphagnum 60% cow compost)
I use Miracle Grow for tomatoes. As you see in this picture, you can buy it to attach to your water hose; the water fills it up and mixes the solution for you. There is a button on there that you can turn to feed the fertilizer to your plants or just water from the hose. I feed my peppers this mix once a week by watering as I normally would. My peppers are in garden boxes, so I tend to water them every morning before the sun is high in the sky. You do want to let your soil mix dry out before you water again. For us, that is daily and garden box soil tends to stay warmer than in the ground which makes them PERFECT for peppers.
Container peppers also need to be watered frequently like garden boxes do. To know when to water, stick your finger into the soil about 1 inch and if it is dry you need to water. (its the method for pretty much all plants). You will know soon, whether or not you need to water daily or every few days based on your climate. When peppers are younger, they tend to need more nitrogen in the soil, but as the get bigger they need more phosphorus. Organically speaking, worm casting, fish emulsion and seaweed extract seem to be the three best things I have 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!!
Keepin it Spicy,