11 Amazing Benefits of Cayenne Pepper or Mirchi

by Meenakshi Nagdeve last updated -

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The health benefits of cayenne pepper, also known as mirchi, include weight loss, good digestion, strong immunity, good blood circulation. Additionally, it may provide relief from heart diseases, dyspepsia, inflammation, headaches, and throat congestion.

What is Cayenne Pepper?

Cayenne pepper belongs to the Capsicum family and its botanical name is Capsicum annuum. It is the red or green chili pepper that is used to add spicy flavor to foods throughout the world. Cayenne contains vitamin E, vitamin C, vitamin K, carotenoids, and vitamin B complex. It is also a source of calcium, potassium, manganese, and dietary fiber.

Cayenne pepper is an integral part of many recipes in India. This herb, which came to India in the 16th century, has become so popular that many people in the villages eat bhakri (bread made of cereals) with a paste of cayenne pepper. Though this is not good for long-term health, it is a staple food for many people in rural India.

Nutrition Facts

Spices, pepper, red or cayenne
Serving Size :
NutrientValue
Water [g]8.05
Energy [kcal]318
Protein [g]12.01
Total lipid (fat) [g]17.27
Carbohydrate, by difference [g]56.63
Fiber, total dietary [g]27.2
Sugars, total [g]10.34
Calcium, Ca [mg]148
Iron, Fe [mg]7.8
Magnesium, Mg [mg]152
Phosphorus, P [mg]293
Potassium, K [mg]2014
Sodium, Na [mg]30
Zinc, Zn [mg]2.48
Vitamin C, total ascorbic acid [mg]76.4
Thiamin [mg]0.33
Riboflavin [mg]0.92
Niacin [mg]8.7
Vitamin B-6 [mg]2.45
Folate, DFE [µg]106
Vitamin B-12 [µg]0
Vitamin A, RAE [µg]2081
Vitamin A, IU [IU]41610
Vitamin E (alpha-tocopherol) [mg]29.83
Vitamin D (D2 + D3) [µg]0
Vitamin D [IU]0
Vitamin K (phylloquinone) [µg]80.3
Fatty acids, total saturated [g]3.26
Fatty acids, total monounsaturated [g]2.75
Fatty acids, total polyunsaturated [g]8.37
Cholesterol [mg]0
Caffeine [mg]0
Sources include : USDA

Health Benefits of Cayenne Pepper

The medicinal or health benefits of the Cayenne pepper include the following.

Reduces Arthritic Pain

The topical application of cayenne pepper causes irritation in the applied area, thus helping to distract the nerves from joint pains due to arthritis.

Boosts Digestion

A diet containing cayenne pepper helps to avoid stomach aches, gas, and cramps. Ayurvedic and Chinese medicine recommends mirchi for proper digestion as it stimulates the flow of stomach secretions and saliva.

Heals Sore Throat

It is said that water mixed with cayenne pepper powder can be used to gargle when you have a sore throat. However, many people prefer not to use it as it is very spicy.

Improves Blood Circulation

When any body part is sick, the blood flow to that area is usually affected. Cayenne helps to remove that entire blotch, stimulates the blood flow, makes sure that the vitamins are properly delivered to all areas, and guarantees that waste is removed.

Relief from Congestion

Capsaicin in cayenne pepper powder stimulates secretions, which helps to clear the mucus from the nose and lungs by clearing the sinuses and causing sweating. Often, in villages in India, if a person is congested in the nose or chest/lungs, some extra mirchi is added to their regular vegetables to make them extra spicy. Tea mixed with cayenne pepper powder is believed to be good against conditions of cold and flu.

Lowers Cholesterol Levels

There has been some research that proves that giving cayenne extract orally to a patient can help to avoid heart attacks. Cayenne helps to reduce cholesterol levels in the blood and helps to dissolve fibrin, which causes the formation of blood clots. It also reduces triglyceride levels.

Relieves Headache

Smelling cayenne or having it in a drink may help relieve headaches.

Alleviates Respiratory Issues

Cayenne pepper powder is a source of beta-carotene, which is considered to be helpful in reducing symptoms of asthma.

Boosts Immunity

Vitamin A, also known as beta-carotene, in cayenne pepper gives protection against invading pathogens. It does this by helping the development of healthy mucous membranes in the nasal passage, lungs, and urinary tracts, thereby providing immunity against infections.

Weight Loss

Cayenne added to food helps you lose weight with proper digestion. Therefore, it also reduces excess appetite due to inefficient absorption of nutrients. On another note, when you eat food that has some extra spicy mirchi, you tend to drink more water, which can definitely help you lose a bit of weight, and flush your system out!

Anticancer Potential

Capsaicin present in cayenne pepper is an important bioactive phytochemical that acts as a cancer preventive agent. An animal study published in 2011 in Cancer Research journal suggests that capsaicin acts as a carcinogen.

Another review study published in Anticancer Research suggests that capsaicin exerts chemopreventive effects, induces apoptosis, and helps prevent further cancer cell growth.

A 2003 human case study suggests that intake of capsaicin may be linked to increased risk of gastric cancer. Therefore, further research would be required to confirm the benefits of cayenne pepper against cancer.

Word of Caution: Like all other foods or herbs, we must be careful when using this herb. Excess consumption may cause burning sensations in the throat, stomach, or rectum.

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About the Author

Meenakshi Nagdeve, Co-Founder, Organic Facts is a health and wellness enthusiast and is responsible for managing it. She has completed the Nutrition And Healthy Living Cornell Certificate Program, Cornell University, US. She holds a Post Graduate Diploma in Management from IIM Bangalore and B. Tech in Metallurgical Engineering and Materials Science from IIT Bombay. Prior to this, she worked for a few years in IT and Financial services. An ardent follower of naturopathy, she believes in healing with foods. In her free time, she loves to travel and taste different types of teas.

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