The herb cayenne is a great example of how your kitchen cabinet can also double as your natural medicine cabinet. Cayenne is a food and medicine that has a seven thousand-year-old history of spicing up food and igniting good health….
To gain further appreciation of its health benefits, it is possible to study cayenne (as well as other herbs) through the lens of herbal astrology. From this point of view we can gain a new understanding as to why this botanical remedy may serve to protect health and well-being.
Cayenne Is Ruled by Mars
Cayenne is associated with the planet Mars, which rules, or is linked to, Aries, and co-rules Scorpio. In mythology, Mars was the Roman god of war, a courageous warrior esteemed for his bravery and strength. The energy of the planet Mars is fiery, giving you energy to express your will and desire. In medical astrology, Mars is associated with the circulatory system and the muscles, as well as the physiological processes of inflammation, irritations and fever.
Cayenne’s physical characteristics are very Martian (Mars-like). It has a fiery red color and a hot and pungent flavor. Its name is derived from a Greek word that means “to bite,” an action that can be associated with an unrestrained Mars temperament. While cayenne consists of a variety of phytochemicals, researchers believe that its constituent, capsaicin, provides cayenne with a lot of its unique healing properties.
Cayenne and Pain
One of cayenne’s premiere uses is as a pain reliever. Pain can be very debilitating, threatening our self-expression. Cayenne, with its Martian warrior qualities, combats pain to protect our stamina for living. Cayenne is generally used for pain relief in a topical cream form, directly applied to the skin near the affected area. Coincidentally, the skin is associated with Capricorn, the sign in which Mars is exalted.
The capsaicin in cayenne is thought to reduce pain through a variety of mechanisms. It modulates levels of Substance P, a neurotransmitter related to the body’s ability to sense pain. It stimulates nerves to release Substance P, which subsequently leads to its depletion. With lowered levels of Substance P, there is a reduction in the amount of pain perceived. In addition to its effects on Substance P, capsaicin stimulates the production of endorphins, the body’s natural painkillers.
Clinical research has shown capsaicin to be effective in a variety of conditions in which pain is a hallmark feature. Several double-blind studies have shown it to ameliorate pain in post-herpetic neuralgia (shingles), diabetic neuropathy and post-surgery.
Capsaicin has also been found to alleviate joint pain associated with osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Both of these conditions involve inflammation, a physiological process associated with Mars.
Cayenne as a Temperature Regulator
While cayenne is known for its Martian-like heat, it seems to use its fire to bring about temperature balance. In this respect, cayenne’s temperature-harmonizing effects exhibit qualities of Libra, the sign opposite Mars-ruled Aries.
Cayenne cools the body when it is exposed to excess heat, and warms it when it is exposed to excess cold. Cayenne is a very popular spice with tropical climate cultures, used to “beat the heat.” It seems to have this effect because it stimulates the cooling center in the hypothalmus, which leads to a reduction in body temperature. Alternatively, due to its ability to stimulate the circulatory system, cayenne is also prized for its heat by people in cold climates. Mountaineers, skiers and snowboarders are among those who apply cayenne cream to their hands and feet before going out in the cold.
How to Use Cayenne
Cayenne is available in a variety of forms, including capsules and tinctures. If you don’t want to take a cayenne supplement, you can still benefit from it by including fresh cayenne as a spice in your recipes.
Cayenne cream for topical use typically contains between 0.025 percent–0.075 percent capsaicin. At first, you may experience burning sensations, but with continued use, they should decrease. Make sure to wash your hands after applying cayenne cream to ensure that you don’t get the cream in your eyes, nose or mouth. Instead of using a prepared cayenne cream, some people make their own by mixing enough fresh cayenne with a white-colored body cream to turn it a pink color.
It is important to always consult a licensed healthcare provider if you are thinking of using cayenne or other dietary supplements to treat any health condition. Additionally, you should tell your healthcare provider about all of the dietary supplements that you are taking so that s/he can evaluate any potential drug-supplement interactions.