May 2016
The Herb Lady

Capsicum – An American Herb with Many Beneficial Uses

I've written about cayenne (capsicum) before; but since it has been named "Herb of the Year," I’ve decided it should be my subject this month.

Cayenne/ capsicum/hot pepper is a truly American herb. According to legend, Columbus found this herb on his trips to America and took it back to Europe with him. Now its use has spread to the four corners of the Earth.

Practically any Southern garden will contain at least one variety of pepper; therefore, I’ll not waste space on growing instructions. You already know that. I’ll bet your iceboxes contain condiments made from pepper. Mine does, too.

When I was a child, Mother used a large sewing needle and a coarse thread to make a long string of dried hot pepper she hung in the kitchen. These dried peppers were later used, along with garden sage, to season delicious homemade pork sausage. This is just one of the many ways we use pepper in our diets. The list is endless.

This is good because pepper is very beneficial health wise. One reference book states that it is high in vitamins A, C, iron and calcium. It also contains vitamin G, magnesium, phosphorus, sulfa, B complex and potassium.

In addition to making an excellent topical liniment, pepper aids in the treatment of many ailments. My reference states that it is a good treatment for ulcers because it stimulates the protective mucus membranes of the stomach.

Following a heart attack, an acquaintance was told to make capsicum a regular part of his diet. His doctor agreed with the folk remedy that capsicum helps to regulate the heart functions, strengthen the pulse rate and cleanse the circulatory system. Since this herb reportedly speeds up the metabolism and circulation, probably it would aid in keeping us warmer if taken on a regular schedule. I know that a small amount sprinkled in the shoes will keep a person’s feet warmer in winter.

 

Once I cut a triangular gash on my finger with scissors. After proper cleansing, I applied a generous amount of powdered cayenne and a bandage. My wound stopped bleeding and healed rapidly.

I think this herb is an excellent choice for "Herb of the Year."

As always, I warn you to check with your physician before taking an herbal remedy. However, cayenne pepper is a common food and should easily receive your doctor’s approval.

Nadine Johnson can be reached at PO Box 7425, Spanish Fort, AL 36577, by calling 251-644-5473, or by email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..