The potent, hot fruit of cayenne has been used medicinally for centuries for the following physical ailments:
- Gastrointestinal tract: including stomach aches, cramping pains, and gas.
- Diseases of the circulatory system: Still traditionally used in herbal medicine as a circulatory tonic.
- Rheumatic and arthritic pains: When rubbed on the skin it causes a counter-irritant effect. A counter-irritant is something which causes irritation to the area to which it is applied. This makes it distract the nerves from the original irritation (such as joint pain in the case of arthritis).
- Sore throat: If gargled with water it can work as an effective treatment for sore throats.
- Styptic: Applying cayenne powder to bleeding wounds has traditionally been considered to have a powerful coagulating ability.
- Thermogenic: Cayenne pepper is used both internally and externally in colder climates to protect against frostbite. It can be used crushed or powdered in socks or taken internally in a tea to increase body temperature and circulation to hands, arms, feet and legs.