What is Cayenne Pepper? 

There are many types of capsicum and learning what is cayenne pepper will allow you to choose which capsicum or pepper you may want to use. The Capsicum frutescens, or Cayenne Pepper is a red-skinned pepper that is listed on the Scoville scale as having a 30,000 to 50,000 heat value which is hot when compared to the Hungarian Wax Banana pepper with a Scoville rating of 300-500. The important aspect of capsicum is the chemical Capsaicin, which can dull painful conditions, help digestion complaints and tend to open blood vessels and pores.

What is Cayenne Pepper?Ground Cayenne Pepper

Anyone who consumes hot peppers knows that some will cause sweat to break out knowing what is cayenne pepper affects on the body may give credence to people who love to eat them. Cayenne Peppers have been used as a condiment for thousands of years as they are easy to grow, dry and in that form transport. All parts of the pepper fruit can be used as a condiment and in some areas the pepper itself is consumed as a food. A few people have been reported to be allergic to cayenne peppers sometimes spelled “cayenne”, however most reports are skin reactions and no deaths have been reported.

What is Cayenne Pepper Health Benefits

Cayenne peppers are used to season spicy dishes including ethnic foods in hot climate areas, such as India, Africa, Mexico and some island nations. Eating hot, spicy foods actually keeps body temperatures lower when living in hot or arid countries most likely due to the dilating affect capsaicin has on blood vessels.

Opening up blood vessels may help reduce migraine pain and researchers are studying the possibilities of including Cayenne pepper as a treatment for migraines. Herbalist and traditional ethnic practitioners have encouraged migraine sufferers to use Cayenne Pepper as a treatment for migraine pain and as a preventative.

Learning what is Cayenne Pepper includes the recent studies on capsaicin's ability to deaden nerve pain which may be beneficial to those with neuropathy a painful nerve condition that occurs in people with diabetes and active HIV. Gargling with Cayenne Pepper water may help laryngitis and many pain relieving creams and gels applied to arthritic joints, achy muscles and backs include capsaicin in their products.

Spicy dishes with high nutritional value can be made once you know what is cayenne pepper. Unlike some foods, Cayenne Pepper increases metabolism which allows calories to be burnt faster and more efficiently plus it improves the vascular capacity and function. This provides better cardiovascular health and safe, effective weight loss while improving digestion and reducing gas.

Some studies indicate that damaged stomach linings can be repaired by consuming Cayenne Pepper plus Cayenne contains anti-fungal properties. Topical application of Cayenne Pepper based creams can inhibit the fungus that causes athletes foot and adding some to the wash water may help prevent diaper rash when using cloth diapers.

Containing high amounts of Vitamin A and C, which is essential for the proper absorption of calcium and iron, Cayenne Pepper can easily be added to a wide variety of dishes, sauces and condiments.

Hot Pepper Butter

  • 30 Assorted Peppers - A good mix is 5 sweet bell peppers, 5 banana pepper, 10 cayenne peppers, 10 jalapeno peppers and 10 habanero peppers
  • 3 Large Onions
  • 1-3 Carrots if desired
  • 4 cups White Distilled Vinegar
  • 4 Tablespoons dried mustard powder
  • 1 Tablespoon turmeric
  • 1 cup Brown Sugar
  • 1-3 cups water

Remove stems from peppers chop into one to two inch pieces. Peel and remove onion skins chop. Add chopped peppers and onions, carrots to a deep pot, add water to cover and cover. Cook at medium temperatures until vegetables are thoroughly cooked.

Stir and check occasionally to prevent sticking. Allow to cool. Place in blender or put through food mill to produce a sauce. Return to pot add spices, sugar and vinegar. Bring to a low boil and remove.

Store in a glass jar or water bath can in 1/2 pint sized jars for 30 minutes.

(NOTE: If canning the pepper butter add 1 teaspoon of lemon juice per 1/2 pint jar)

Use as a condiment on sandwiches, eggs, vegetables or as a complementary sauce for tacos, burritos, nachos.

What is cayenne pepper in Asian cooking?

I love a little “spice” to some of my Asian recipes. Cayenne adds it “just right”.


  • 4 Quarts water
  • 6 Ounces uncooked thin spaghetti
  • 1 Package (16 ounces) Oriental vegetables
  • 1 Tablespoon butter
  • 1 Pound boneless chicken breasts cut in 2 inch strips
  • 3 Cloves minced garlic
  • ¼ Teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 Tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 4 Tablespoons chicken broth
  • 3 Tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 Tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 Teaspoon sugar
  • 3 Green onions chopped (Green and white parts)

Bring water to a boil in a large pot; add spaghetti and cook for 4 minutes.

Add the vegetables to the pot; cook 4 minutes longer until vegetables and spaghetti are tender.

Drain and toss with butter; set off and keep warm.

Heat oil in a large skillet; stir fry chicken with garlic and cayenne pepper until chicken is no longer pink.

Add chicken broth, lemon juice, soy sauce and sugar to skillet stirring until heated.

Add onions and spaghetti tossing to coat; serve hot.

Serves 4.


  • 1 ½ Pounds unpeeled medium size shrimp (Peeled and deveined)
  • 1/3 Cup olive oil
  • 1 Teaspoon sesame oil
  • 3 Tablespoons minced garlic
  • 2 Tablespoons chopped fresh basil
  • 1 Tablespoon chopped fresh chives
  • 1 Tablespoon dry sherry
  • 1 Teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
  • 1 Teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary
  • 1 Teaspoon salt
  • 1 Teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • ½ Teaspoon black pepper
  • Vegetable cooking spray

Combine in food processor olive oil, sesame oil, garlic, basil, chives, sherry, thyme, rosemary, salt, cayenne and black pepper.

Process until smooth stopping to scrape down the sides; place mixture in a large plastic zip lock bag.

Add shrimp to the bag and seal tightly; shake to coat shrimp and refrigerate about 3 hours.

Remove shrimp from marinade; thread shrimp onto 12 skewers.

Place skewers on hot grill rack over hot coals or under hot broiler about 3 minutes on each side until done.

Serves 4.

What is Cayenne Pepper Precautions

Capsicum peppers can be extremely hot and care should be taken when growing, picking, preparing and drying these peppers. Some peppers are so hot that they can temporarily blind people and are used in law enforcement aerosol defense sprays and others can be used to deter nail biting and thumb sucking by applying a small amount of plant juice to the fingertip or sticking thumbs in Cayenne Pepper water. Should you be overcome by Cayenne Pepper keep in mind that room temperature sugar water will help reduce the eye irritation. Flush the eyes gently by pouring a weak sugar solution over the eyes.

Now that you know what is Cayenne Pepper, providing this spicy hot condiment to your table encourages healthy eating with many benefits.