Capsicum: The Herb You Should Master


In the early 1970s, NSP founder Gene Hughes was plagued with a nagging stomach condition. On the advice of a friend, he started taking cayenne pepper (also called red pepper). This was before herbs were capsulized.capsicum

Imagine your options if you are also suffering from a stomach condition. You can slice up the actual pepper and add it to every meal you eat. You can sprinkle it on / mix it with foods or your drink.  Or, you can find an easier way to ingest the herb. At the suggestion of his wife, Kristine, Gene started putting the capsicum powder into capsules. Capsicum is the beginning of the Nature’s Sunshine story.

If you slice open a pepper you will notice the seeds. The white area that those seeds are attached to is called the placental region. That area of the pepper is where you will find the bulk of the pepper’s capsaicin – notice the slight variation of capsicum and capsaicin. Capsicum is the fruit.  Capsaicin – a chemical inside the capsicum fruit– can cause a great amount of pain if it happens to get in your eyes or a cut/crack on the skin. That is why capsaicin is used in pepper spray.

Capsicum provides digestive and circulatory support and may help improve overall circulation. There are a variety of ways you can add capsicum to your diet. You can sprinkle capsicum powder on foods or mix it with drinks. If you’re mixing it with a beverage (hot or cold), start with 1/8 teaspoon for each 8 ounces and then increase or decrease the amount based off of your taste preference. It’s suggested to not use more than one teaspoon per serving.  You can also eat the fruit by itself – fresh or dried. If you are going to dry your peppers – through sun drying, oven baking, air drying, or whichever option you choose – don’t remove the placental region while you are scraping out the seeds.

In addition to providing digestive and circulatory support, capsicum may also be effective topically as a pain reliever. It may be for all of these reasons that medical herbalist, Dr. Richard Schulze said:

“If you master only one herb in your life, master cayenne pepper. It is more powerful than any other.”

There are many DIY capsicum cream recipes online that include only a few ingredients: capsicum powder, beeswax, and oil. While these recipes may provide some relief, it’s important to remember that it will stain anything it touches so make sure that it’s rubbed into your skin well before you put on clothing.  Also, capsicum provides your body with plenty of heat so avoid hot baths for a time after you’ve rubbed it on. If you aren’t sure how your body will react, test the cream on a small portion of your skin before applying everywhere.

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