Supplements and Herbs (XX)

Health Benefits of Cayenne Pepper (Capsicum)

Including as a cancer cure? Capsaicin and cancer research.

The following information is published with addenda and copyright © 2004 & 2014 Healing Cancer Naturally

Introductory note: In addition to the numerous uses of cayenne paper listed below (even against cancer), two holistic scientists I highly respect, Grazyna Fosar and Franz Bludorf, suggest that cayenne pepper used in both sweet and salty dishes will contribute towards countering the potentially noxious effect of the virtually unavoidable exposure to massive EMFs or electrosmog by strengthening our internal environment.

A topic of great importance is Cayenne Pepper, also known as Capsicum (see Definitions).

Dr. Christopher, Master Herbalist, never left home without it. There was always an ample supply of Cayenne Pepper in his bag whenever he made a house call. This hot little herb is phenomenal. There are so many uses for this herb, hang on to your hat, or in this case, your mouse!

According to Dr. Christopher, a heaping teaspoon of Cayenne Pepper in a cup of hot water will stop a heart attack in progress. I passed this nugget of information to a friend who has a history of heart attacks. For once he listened. When he had a massive heart attack several years ago that even his nitroglycerin couldn't stop, his wife made the "hot toddy" for him, it saved his life. He made it to the hospital and survived. Neither he, nor his wife, nor I believe he would be alive today if he had not drunk that cup cayenne tea.

There's even a whole book written about this "little hot tamal". It's called Left For Dead, about a guy whose doctor promised him that he would "return to normal" after he had bypass surgery. It didn't quite happen that way for him and he had to take his health into his own hands. Capsicum DID help him return to normal. It's a really good book and easy read. [The book referred to is “Left for Dead” by Dick Quinn, please use Healing Cancer Naturally's Amazon links(US, UK, Canada, France, Spain, Brazil, Italy & Germany) to check it out if the book is of interest to you.]

Back to the facts - Capsicum is a catalyst herb. Its stimulating properties speed the absorption and effectiveness of any herbs taken in combination with it. Capsicum combined with garlic & parsley will help lower blood pressure!

Capsicum increases the power of all other herbs. It is said to be unequaled for warding off diseases and equalizing blood circulation.

Capsicum also heals ulcers. Yup. You're reading that right. Capsicum helps heal ulcers. A favorite story of mine is the one from Dr. Christopher about the husband who had endured the pain of a stomach ulcer for as long as he could stand it. This husband decided he could take no more and wanted to end his life. When he went to the medicine cabinet to get pills to do the dastardly deed, he discovered his wife had replaced all the drugs with herbs. He saw the bottle of Cayenne Pepper capsules and figured that would surely kill him, so he took a handful. Being a considerate fellow, he didn't want his screams to disturb the neighbors, so he took an extra pillow with him to bed to muffle his screams. Was he ever surprised when his wife shook him awake the next morning and told him he was late for work! Hmmm'.... .Some of you husbands might be wondering whether he actually did die and had gone to hell, but I assure you he was quite alive. What he didn't know is that capsicum stimulates the protective mucus-forming membranes of the stomach. It was the first time in years he had slept through the night.

It's a stimulant herb and a digestive aid, helping improve digestion and soothing inflammation. It helps remove toxins from the body, relieves gastrointestinal problems including bleeding ulcers, colic, dyspepsia, flatulence and even diarrhea. It helps relieve the pain of shingles, cluster headaches, and itching palms and feet of diabetes.

Capsicum has been proven beneficial for arthritis, cardiovascular disease, gastric ulcers, vascular headaches, impotence (resulting from venous insufficiency), infections, kidney problems, menstrual complaints, respiratory conditions such as asthma and pleurisy, and thyroid dysfunction.

Capsicum is high in vitamins and minerals that are needed for healing. It can also be applied directly to a wound. I'm not going to tell you that it doesn't hurt, because it hurts like hell, but it will stop the bleeding. One friend sliced her thumb to the bone while cutting veggies. Brave soul that she is, she stuck it directly into cayenne pepper. Not only did she stop the bleeding, there was no scarring. A few screams, but no scarring. (I'm joking again. Yes, it burns, but only for a few minutes. You get a lot of exercise while it's cauterizing the wound. I know this because I've done it myself. Yes, I'd do it again if I decided to cut myself again. My priority is avoiding sharp objects.)

Cayenne Pepper has a rich supply of vitamin C and alpha-tocopherol (vitamin E). Capsicum also contains carotenes. Carotenes are antioxidants known for their effects in helping prevent cancer and cardiovascular disorders and for helping to protect the body from carcinogenic and toxic chemicals. It also contains vitamin A, beta-carotene and vitamin B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B9 (folic acid), cobalt and zinc.

It has also been found to be beneficial for chronic fatigue and mild depression.

For cholesterol, Capsicum significantly lowers serum cholesterol and serum triglycerides.

By reducing blood vessel dilation, capsicum is able to help people overcome their addiction to alcohol.

Capsicum is great for energy.

A little Capsicum sprinkled in water and gargled will eliminate a sore throat.

Got a splinter? Combine Capsicum and Plantain and apply externally to draw out foreign items embedded in the skin.

Got cold feet? Sprinkle Capsicum in your socks (also helps prevent frostbite). If that's a bit strong, sprinkle it into your shoes. The heat will go through your socks.

Please note that taking one or two capsules of Capsicum is not going to do the trick. It might require seemingly large amounts (2 or 3 capsules 2 or 3 times a day) to achieve the desired results.

This information is for educational purposes only and is not meant to diagnose or treat disease. Consult your health care professional.

Dr. Mary Lee, N. D.
Doctor of Naturopathy

Source for this article:
The Little Herb Encyclopedia, by Jack Ritchason, N.D.

Addenda by Healing Cancer Naturally

Inoperable brain tumor cured via colon/liver detox and cayenne pepper tea

In a lecture, master herbalist Dr Richard Schulze shared the case of a man with an inoperable brain tumor who was given a 5% chance of survival if he submitted to chemotherapy. Instead, the patient undertook a colon/liver detox and began drinking ten cups cayenne pepper tea daily. After three months, x-rays taken by his doctor showed the tumor in his head to have dried up and died. According to Dr Schulze, this cure was due to the many important phytochemicals, vitamins, and minerals found in cayenne pepper cleaning the blood which in turn allowed hormonal signals to freely travel through the body and enabled a stronger immune response. Countries with very hot cuisines apparently have significantly lower incidences of cancer as well as heart disease.

Note: Featuring the above report is not an endorsement of the method used, For many other ways individuals have overcome brain cancer, see Testimonials of brain cancer healed thanks to flaxoil & cottage cheese and/or full Johanna Budwig protocol and the related pages.

Re megadoses of cayenne, also see the Cayenne caveat below.

Capsaicin and cancer research

Capsaicin (see Definitions) has been shown to have tumor-suppressive effects in a large number of scientific studies (many of which involve animal cancer experimentation, however, or are in-vitro). The exact molecular mechanisms and pathways involved in capsaicin's anticancer activity so far are not fully understood.

Searching the biomedical database PubMed (which publishes only scientifically validated studies) for the terms capsaicin + cancer currently (11/2015) yields 556 results such as

  • More Than Spice: Capsaicin in Hot Chili Peppers Makes Tumor Cells Commit Suicide

    Published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute in 2002, the full-length article discussing the findings of this study can be read at
  • Induction of apoptosis in prostate tumor PC-3 cells and inhibition of xenograft prostate tumor growth by the vanilloid capsaicin.

    Published in Apoptosis in 2006, the authors conclude that the data obtained show capsaicin's potential against androgen-independent prostate cancer cells which could make the compound a promising anti-tumor agent in hormone-refractory prostate cancer resistant to numerous types of chemotherapy.
  • Ion channel TRPV1-dependent activation of PTP1B suppresses EGFR-associated intestinal tumorigenesis

    Researchers at the University of California demonstrated that capsaicin in hot chili peppers produces a reaction on intestinal cell receptors that reduces the risk of colorectal cancer. Published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation, 2014.
  • The potential antitumor effects of capsaicin.

    From the abstract of this study published in Progress in Drug Research (2014): "Capsaicin ...has been ... demonstrated to induce apoptosis in many types of malignant cell lines including colon adenocarcinoma, pancreatic cancer, hepatocellular carcinoma, prostate cancer, breast cancer.... [and] shows antitumor activity in vivo by reducing the growth of many tumors induced in mice."
  • Capsaicin treatment attenuates cholangiocarcinoma carcinogenesis.

    From the abstract of this study published in PLoS One (2014): "... capsaicin can relieve inflammation and has anti-proliferative effects on various human malignancies. [In] ...cultured human cholangiocarcinoma cell lines, capsaicin effectively impaired cell proliferation, migration, invasion, epithelial to mesenchymal transition..."
    (free full article available at
  • Selective induction of apoptosis by capsaicin in transformed cells: the role of reactive oxygen species and calcium.

    From the abstract of this study which was published in Cell Death and Differentation (1999): "Capsaicin ... inhibits the plasma membrane electron transport system and induces apoptosis ... results provide evidence that the plasma membrane electron transport system may be an interesting target to design antitumoral and anti-inflammatory drugs."
    Free full text available at
  • Capsaicin induces apoptosis in human small cell lung cancer via the TRPV6 receptor and the calpain pathway.

    From the abstract of this study published in Apoptosis (2014): "Capsaicin ... displays potent anti-neoplastic activity in a wide array of human cancer cells ... [but] induced very little apoptosis in normal lung epithelial cells."
  • Capsaicin induces apoptosis and modulates MAPK signaling in human gastric cancer cells.

    "Capsaicin ... known to have tumor-suppressive effects.. induced apoptosis in vitro in a dose-dependent manner" ... suggesting that it could "serve as an anti-tumorigenic agent in human gastric cancer". (Molecular Medicine Reports [2014])
  • Capsaicin induces apoptosis in MG63 human osteosarcoma cells via the caspase cascade and the antioxidant enzyme system.

    "Capsaicin has been demonstrated to inhibit the growth of several types of cancer cells [and] exhibited an anticancer effect in osteosarcoma cells." (Molecular Medicine Reports, 2013)
    The full text of this study can be found at
  • The selective target of capsaicin on FASN expression and de novo fatty acid synthesis mediated through ROS generation triggers apoptosis in HepG2 cells.

    (PLoS One, 2014) "...results provide novel evidence that capsaicin exhibits a potent anti-cancer property..."
    Free full text at
  • Capsaicin-mediated apoptosis of human bladder cancer cells activates dendritic cells via CD91.

    "Our data ...suggest capsaicin as an attractive candidate for cancer therapy." (published in Nutrition, 2014).
  • Capsaicin, a Component of Red Peppers, Inhibits the Growth of Androgen-Independent, p53 Mutant Prostate Cancer Cells

    Dr. S. Lehmann of the Cedars-Sinai Medical Center and the University of California LA School of Medicine and team tested capsaicin effects on human prostate cancer implanted in murine test subjects. They found that the tumors in mice consuming capsaicin were 1/5 the size of those not fed this substance: 80% of the malignant cells self-destructed through the process of apoptosis. While the study is preliminary, the findings suggest that this hot pepper component may benefit human cancer patients.
    The entire study can be read at

    Note however that there is overwhelming scientific evidence that animal testing results are frequently not transferable to humans, see Cancer Research & Animal Experimentation: an Unholy Union?. On the other hand, accumulating anecdotal evidence from Kelley Eidem’s Habanero peppers plus garlic cancer treatment seems to show that capsaicin has indeed great cancer-fighting potential in humans.
  • Growth inhibition of capsaicin on HeLa cells is not mediated by intracellular calcium mobilization.

    (Life Sciences, 1999)
  • Antitumor activity of capsaicin on human colon cancer cells in vitro and colo 205 tumor xenografts in vivo.

    (Journal of agricultural and food chemistry, 2010)

Also see

  • How spicy foods can kill cancers

    Capsaicin killed lung and pancreatic cancer cells in-vitro by attacking their mitochondria and triggering apoptosis.

...and regarding rhe question how much cayenne may be healthy to take for healthy individuals:

  • The impact of capsaicin intake on risk of developing gastric cancers: a meta-analysis.

    (Journal of Gastrointestinal Cancer, 2014) "Reported associations of capsaicin with gastric cancer development have been conflicting". This meta-analysis involving a total of 6448 individuals points to "moderate" capsaicin consumption providing protective benefits.

Cayenne pepper: other uses

Cayenne pepper also is an essential ingredient in the “Master Cleanser” formula. Based on just "lemonade" (made with maple syrup), this easy-to-prepare home-made formula appears to be a particularly effective way to fast and internally cleanse while preventing and healing various complaints and ailments without incurring significant energy loss or discomfort. Details on the Master Cleanser.

Cayenne caveat: from a private comment

(sent in by a visitor of Healing Cancer Naturally)

I have chronic liver disease and found out the hard way a year or so ago that taking too much cayenne can cause problems. I was drinking it in tea, about 1/2 a tsp. twice daily for a couple weeks or so. Then I started to develop symptoms of too much heat in my body, which is better now but I have to avoid heating foods. We're all different. Some say it should not be boiled in a tea, like I did, but I think the chronic Hep C may have been the reason why I had problems with it. Someone with no liver problems may do better with it. It's said to be toxic to the liver in certain people (like me). I liked the stimulation it gave me, but I took too much or for too long (few weeks or so).

Definition of pepper, capsicum, capsaicin, and cayenne pepper

Adapted from Encyclopædia Britannica by Healing Cancer Naturally


also called GARDEN PEPPER (Capsicum), any of a great number of plants of the nightshade family, Solanaceae, notably Capsicum annuum, Capsicum frutescens, and Capsicum boccatum, extensively cultivated throughout tropical Asia and equatorial America for their edible, pungent fruits.

The genus Capsicum comprises all the varied forms of fleshy-fruited peppers grown as herbaceous annuals--the red, green, and yellow peppers rich in vitamins A and C that are used in seasoning and as a vegetable food.

Hot peppers, used as relishes, pickled, or ground into a fine powder for use as spices, derive their pungency from the compound

Capsaicin (8-methyl-N-vanillyl-6-nonenamide). Capsaicin is an alkaloid found in plants of the genus Capsicum and the "active" (hot) component of chili peppers.Characterized by acrid vapours and burning taste, this substance is located in the internal partitions of the fruit. First isolated in 1876, capsaicin stimulates gastric secretions and, if used in excess, causes inflammation. In addition to the cherry (Cerasiforme group) and red cluster (Fasciculatum), these hot varieties, which are red when mature, include the tabasco (Conoides), which is commonly ground and mixed with vinegar to produce a hot sauce, and the long "hot" chili and cayenne (Longum), often called capsicums.

Cayenne pepper, said to have originated in Cayenne in French Guiana, is one of the spices derived from these small-fruited species of Capsicum. Very pungent, cayenne pepper is produced in many parts of the world by drying and grinding these fruits.

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