The African bird pepper (Capsicum Baccatum), from the W. Indies and So. America, is considered the purest and best stimulant known. CAPSICUM ANNUM is extensively cultivated in this country, and although a large quantity is imported from the West Indies, it is considered official in the U.S.
When perfectly ripe and dry, the fruit is ground into powder and brought into market under the name of red or cayenne pepper. The odor is peculiar and somewhat aromatic, stronger in the fresh than the dried fruit. The taste is bitter and produces a fiery sensation in the mouth, which continues for a long time.
It is much employed as a condiment by the natives of tropical climates, who live chiefly on vegetables, to correct the flatulent tendency of certain vegetables and to bring them within the digestive powers of the stomach. In the East Indies, it has been used from time immemorial and has also been known to the Romans.
In this country, it is used as a condiment in many dishes such as salads, dressings, sauces, fish, cheese, eggs, and curries. It is very nutritious and is pip-e vitamin C, and contains calcium, phosphorus, iron, and also vitamins A, Bi, and G.
As a medicine, it is useful in all cases requiring a stimulant.
Cayenne pepper is a powerful stimulant and produces, when swallowed, a sense of heat in the stomach and a general warmth over the whole body, without any narcotic effect.
The fruit is the most positive and persistent heart stimulant known and is exceedingly prompt in its effect. By equalizing the circulation, it influences the whole body; the heart first, next the arteries, the capillaries, and then the nerves.
It is useful in failing and sluggish circulation, sinking spells, dysentery, bilious colic, cholera and cholera infantum, paralysis, pleurisy, aphonia, gastric catarrh, gangrene, typhoid fever, palsy, yellow fever, shock from injury, and where there are cold and clammy sweats.
The Negroes of the West Indies soak the pods in water, add sugar and the juice of sour oranges, and drink freely in fevers.
In cases of apoplexy, it is known to give good results when the feet are placed into a hot bath with mustard and M t. cayenne added. The pressure is removed from the brain, and the circulation equalized.
In cramps, pain in the stomach and bowels, and in constipation, it will create heat and cause peristaltic action. Use small doses of the warm infusion of 1/2 to 1 1. to 1 C. boiling water.
Cayenne is very useful in inflammations.
In typhoid fever, add a little golden seal and an hepatic to sustain the portal circulation and to increase the value of the hepatic.
In colds, relaxed throat, cold conditions of the stomach, enfeebled and languid stomach, dyspepsia, and atonic gout, particularly with flatulence occurring in persons of intemperate habits, spasms, palpitation, particularly in the acute stages, take a warm infusion in small repeated doses about 2 t. every % hour or more frequently, if required.
For cold feet, sprinkle a LITTLE capsicum inside your shoes or socks. When exposed to cold and damp for any length of time, take pills or capsules of pure cayenne.
In hemorrhage from the lungs, use a vapor bath and an infusion of cayenne; pressure will be taken from the ruptured blood vessels.
In quinsy and diphtheria, wet a cloth with the infusion or tincture of cayenne, place around the neck, and cover with flannel or wool. Drink the infusion at the same time and gargle, or spray, the inside of the throat with an atomizer.
Its most important application is in the treatment of malignant sore throat and scarlet fever, in which it is used both internally and as a gargle. No other remedy can claim equal credit in these conditions.
The following is a formula originated in the West Indies where it is used to great advantage in malignant scarlatina: Infuse 2 T. powdered cayenne with 1 t. common salt for 1 hr. in 1 pt. boiling liquid composed of equal parts of water and vinegar; strain; take 1 T. every 1/2 hr. This is also used as a gargle. In milder cases with inflamed or ulcerated throat, take a more diluted dose.
For sprains, bruises, rheumatism, and neuralgia, a liniment is more effective if cayenne is added, or cayenne may be applied externally as a plaster.
The powder or tincture brought into contact with a relaxed uvula is often very beneficial.
Cayenne reduces dilated blood vessels in those addicted to alcohol.
In cases of severe congestion’s, cayenne may be added to the bath water.
Internally capsicum may be taken in infusions, in syrups, in fluid extract, in water, or the oil may be mixed in sugar. Take small doses frequently and wait for the cumulative results.
The dose of the powder is from 5 to 10 grains in pill form. An infusion can be prepared by adding 2 dr. to 34 pt. boiling water; the dose is about 1/2 fl. oz.
Increase the dose of cayenne as vitality decreases.
If the application of capsicum gives much burning sensation, use some lard or other oil over the surface.