Jackie Brockmeyer is a graduate of Bastyr University and founder of Herbal Persuasions. Her natural herbal salves and lotions are available at Harmony Massage & Boutique.
In several of my salve formulas I utilize the herb Capsicum annuum, or cayenne pepper. This often surprises people, as most donʼt view this culinary spice as a healing herb.
In fact Cayenne is quite versatile. Native to South and Central America, this pungent fruit is very warming, and while tasty when added to a dish; it can also be useful in the kitchen if one should happen to cut themselves. It can help to stop the bleeding, acting as a styptic, as well as cleaning the wound. It will, however, temporarily burn much like when applying alcohol or hydrogen peroxide to a wound.
Though small, this plant is highly stimulating, even when used externally such as in salves.
Used topically it can help to relieve inﬂammation and pain in bruises, sore muscles, and achy joints. It can also help to relieve pressure from bruises by increasing the blood circulation.
It is high is essential oils and capsaicin which provide for much of itʼs useful actions in the healing sense.
The essential oils provide anti-inﬂammatory properties as well as anti-microbial effects, which can help stave off infections of small cuts and scrapes.
One of the more useful aspects is the capsaicin, which is responsible for the heat of the peppers. The constituent capsaicin, has been found to help relieve pain, acting as an analgesic, speciﬁcally in cases of neuralgia. Capsaicin acts as a local pain reliever by depleting supplies of a neurotransmitter that transmits the signal of pain to the central nervous system.