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Capsicum minimum

Capsicum minimum/C. frutescens (Solanaceae)

CAYENNE, CHILLI, AFRICAN CHILLI

 

The red or yellow fruit of this hot African and West Indian chilli is one of the most popular traditional aids for ailments that involve reduced blood circulation, such as poor digestion and chilblains.

 

This hot chilli from Africa and the Caribbean is widely used in spicy foods; cayenne pepper and Tabasco are chilli-based seasonings. The existence of hot chillies was recorded by Columbus's doctor on his second voyage to the West Indies in 1494. They are hotter than the larger Indian chillies and are relatives of the sweet pepper, or capsicum, from which paprika is made. A perennial with egg-shaped leaves and small white flowers, C. minimum has distinctive, red or yellow, oblong fruit.

 

PARTS USED

Fruit.

 

ACTIVE INGREDIENTS

A phenolic compound, capsaicin; carotenoids; saponins known as capsicidins; flavonoids; volatile oil.

 

ACTIONS

Increases blood flow; induces sweating; reduces muscle tension and spasm; stimulates blood flow to the skin; relieves wind and colic; counter-irritant; antiseptic.

 

MEDICINAL USE

Widely used in conditions where reduced blood circulation is a factor, including digestive debility, flatulent colic, and reduced peripheral (local) circulation. Applied externally for joint inflammation, unbroken chilblains, and lumbago (low back pain).

 

PREPARATIONS

Tincture, cream, powder.

 

CAUTION

Use only in small doses to avoid irritating the stomach or burning the skin.   

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