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Cayenne Purchase & Information

Alternative Names

African Bird Pepper, African Chillies, African Pepper, Aji, Bird Pepper, Capsaicin, Capsaïcine, Capsicum Fruit, Cayenne, Cayenne Fruit, Cayenne Pepper, Chili, Chili Pepper, Chilli, Chillies, Cis-capsaicin, Civamide, Garden Pepper, Goat's Pod, Grains of Paradise, Green Chili Pepper, Green Pepper, Hot Pepper, Hungarian Pepper, Ici Fructus, Katuvira, Lal Mirchi, Louisiana Long Pepper, Louisiana Sport Pepper, Mexican Chilies, Mirchi, Oleoresin Capsicum, Paprika, Paprika de Hongrie, Pili-pili, Piment de Cayenne, Piment Enragé, Piment Fort, Piment-oiseau, Pimento, Poivre de Cayenne, Poivre de Zanzibar, Poivre Rouge, Red Pepper, Sweet Pepper, Tabasco Pepper, Trans-capsaicin, Zanzibar Pepper, Zucapsaicin, Zucapsaïcine CAUTION: Please refer to separate listings for Grains of Paradise, Indian Long Pepper, and Raspberry Ketone

Scientific Name

Capsicum Annum Frutescens

Why Do People Use Cayenne?

Orally, cayenne is used for dyspepsia, flatulence, colic, diarrhea, cramps, toothache, poor circulation, excessive blood clotting, seasickness, swallowing dysfunction, alcoholism, malaria, fever, hyperlipidemia, and preventing heart disease. Topically, cayenne is used for the pain of shingles, osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, post-herpetic neuralgia, trigeminal neuralgia, diabetic neuropathy, back pain, and post-surgical neuralgias. It is also used topically for prurigo nodularis, HIV-associated neuropathy, and fibromyalgia. Cayenne is also used to relieve muscle spasms, as a gargle for laryngitis, and as a deterrent to thumb-sucking or nail biting. Intranasally, cayenne is used for allergic rhinitis, perennial rhinitis, migraine headache, cluster headache, sinonasal polyposis, and sinusitis.

Is It Safe To Use?

Likely Safe - When used orally in amounts typically found in food. capsicum has Generally Recognized As Safe (GRAS) status in the US. ...when used topically and appropriately. The active capsicum constituent capsaicin used in topical preparations is an FDA-approved over-the-counter product. Possibly Safe - When used orally and appropriately, short-term in medicinal amounts. ...when used topically and appropriately. ...when used intranasally and appropriately, short-term. Capsicum-containing nasal sprays, suspensions, and swabs seem to be safe when applied daily or every other day for up to 14 days. No serious side effects have been reported in clinical trials, however, application of capsicum-containing products intranasally can be very painful. Possibly Unsafe - When used orally, long-term or in high doses. There is concern that long-term use or use of excessive doses might be linked to hepatic or renal damage. Pregnancy and Lactation - Likely safe when used topically and appropriately.

How Effective Is Cayenne?

Several clinical studies show that applying 0.25% to 0.75% capsaicin cream topically temporarily relieves chronic pain from rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, psoriasis, and neuralgias including shingles and diabetic neuropathy. The active capsicum constituent capsaicin, used in topical preparations, is FDA-approved for these uses. For neuropathic pain, the number needed to treat using capsaicin 0.075% for eight weeks is 5.7. For musculoskeletal pain, for every 8.1 patients treated with 0.025% capsaicin, one would achieve at least a 50% reduction in pain. In a study using 0.05% capsaicin (Finalgon CPD Warmecreme) applied three times daily for 21 days, there was a 49% reduction in pain compared to placebo in patients with chronic soft tissue pain. Some evidence shows that applying a cayenne-containing plaster to back can significantly reduce low-back pain compared to placebo.

How Cayenne Works?

The applicable part of capsicum is the fruit. Capsicum contains the constituent capsaicin, which makes it taste hot. Naturally-occurring capsaicin exists only in the trans-stereoisomer form. However, the cis-isomer, known as civamide, also has pharmacological activity. Some evidence suggests that civamide is more potent and causes less irritation than naturally occurring capsaicin. When used topically, capsaicin binds to nociceptors in the skin, initially causing neuronal excitation and heightened sensitivity. This is felt as itching, pricking, or burning. Capsaicin also causes cutaneous vasodilation. The mechanism for these effects is thought to be the result of selective stimulation of afferent C fibers, which act as thermoreceptors and nociceptors, and release of substance P, a sensory neurotransmitter that mediates pain. This is followed by a refractory period with reduced sensitivity. After repeated applications, persistent desensitization occurs, possibly the result of substance P depletion. Pain relief may also be caused by degeneration of epidermal nerve fibers. Capsaicin also stimulates the unmyelinated slow C-fibers of the sensory nervous system, which can induce cough, dyspnea, nasal congestion, and eye irritation after inhalation. Some research with inhaled capsaicin suggests that severity of ACE inhibitor cough correlates with sensitivity to inhaled capsaicin. In people with swallowing dysfunction, capsaicin is thought to provide sensory stimulation that increases the swallowing reflex. For allergic and perennial rhinitis, it is not clear how capsaicin nasal spray might work. Like for pain syndromes, capsaicin likely depletes substance P, resulting in desensitization of the nasal mucosa to antigens. Some research suggests that capsaicin does not cause significant changes in nasal neuronal tissue. Capsaicin is thought to possibly have anti-inflammatory effects. But some research suggests that capsaicin does not affect inflammatory cell density in the nasal mucosa or concentrations of inflammatory mediators such as leukotrienes or prostaglandins. Other research in animal models of nasal hypersensitivity suggests that intranasal capsaicin decreases substance P and tyrosine hydroxylase-like immunoreactive nerve fibers. For migraine and other headaches, capsaicin is thought to cause a desensitizing effect by relieving both peripheral and central pain by decreasing release of neuropeptides, such as substance P, from nerve terminals. When applied intranasally, capsaicin is also thought to decrease intranasal and central blood vessel neurotransmitters, cause vasodilation, and histamine or serotonin release. In animal models, intranasal capsaicin also seems to deplete nerve fibers that are immunoreactive to the neuropeptides substance P or calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP). Some researchers theorize that the capsaicin constituent might also have gastroprotective effects. Preliminary evidence suggests that capsicum protects against alcohol and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) damage to the GI mucosa. This has also led to the hypothesis that capsaicin might decrease the risk of peptic ulcer disease. However, with heavy ingestion, capsaicin has been associated with necrosis, ulceration, and carcinogenesis.

What Are The Side Effects /Adverse Reactions of Cayenne?

Orally, capsicum can cause upper abdominal discomfort including fullness, gas, bloating, nausea, epigastric pain and burning, diarrhea, and belching. Sweating and flushing of the head and neck, lacrimation, headache, faintness, and rhinorrhea have also been reported. Excessive amounts of capsaicin can lead to gastroenteritis and hepatic necrosis. There are also reports of dermatitis in breast-fed infants whose mothers' food is heavily spiced with capsicum. Capsicum can also decrease blood coagulation. Topically, capsicum can cause burning, stinging, and erythema. About one in 10 patients who use capsaicin topically discontinue treatment because of adverse effects. Side effects tend to diminish with continued use. Exacerbation of ACE-inhibitor cough has been reported in patients using topical capsaicin and taking ACE-inhibitors. Skin contact with fresh capsicum fruit can cause irritation or contact dermatitis. Intranasally, capsaicin can cause nasal burning and pain in most patients. It also often causes lacrimation, sneezing, and excessive nasal secretion; however, these side effects appear to diminish with repeat applications. In some cases, the burning sensation disappears after 5-8 applications. In some cases, patients are pretreated with intranasal lidocaine to decrease the pain of intranasal capsaicin treatment. However, even with lidocaine pretreatment, patients seem to experience significant pain. Inhalation of capsicum can cause cough, dyspnea, nasal congestion, eye irritation, and allergic alveolitis. Capsicum can be extremely irritating to the eyes and mucous membranes. Capsicum oleoresin, an oily extract in pepper self-defense sprays, causes intense eye pain. It can also cause erythema, blepharospasm, tearing, shortness of breath, and blurred vision. In rare cases, corneal abrasions have occurred.

How Cayenne Interacts With Other Herbs and Supplements?

Concomitant use of herbs and supplements that affect platelet aggregation could theoretically increase the risk of bleeding in some people. Some of these herbs include angelica, clove, danshen, garlic, ginger, ginkgo, Panax ginseng, and others. Theoretically, concomitant use of cayenne (including exposure to the cayenne in pepper spray) and coca might increase the effects and risk of adverse effects of the cocaine in coca.

How Cayenne Interacts With Drugs?

There is one case report of a topically applied cream containing capsaicin contributing to the cough reflex in a patient using an ACE-inhibitor. But it is unclear if this interaction is clinically significant.

How Cayenne Interacts With Foods?

None known.

How Cayenne Interacts With Lab Tests?

Capsicum has led to increased fibrinolytic activity and may lead to prolonged times in coagulation studies.

How Cayenne Interacts With Diseases and Conditions?

Capsicum is contraindicated in situations involving injured skin. Do not apply capsicum if the skin is open.

What Should Be the Dose/Administration of Cayenne?

ORAL - For swallowing dysfunction in the elderly, 1 lozenge containing 1.5 mcg of capsaicin is dissolved in the mouth before each meal. TOPICAL - For pain syndromes, including rheumatoid and osteoarthritis, neuropathy, and fibromyalgia, creams contain the active capsicum constituent capsaicin and are typically applied 3-4 times daily. It can take up to 14 days for the full analgesic effect. Most creams contain 0.025% to 0.075% capsaicin concentrations. Higher potency preparations may be used for diabetic neuropathy. For back pain, capsicum-containing plasters providing 11 mg capsaicin/plaster or 22 mcg/cm2 of plaster applied have been used. The plaster is applied once daily in the morning and left in place for 4-8 hours.


In nature, capsaicin occurs only as a trans-stereoisomer. However, the cis-isomer called civamide also has activity. Some evidence suggests that civamide is more potent and causes less irritation than trans-capsaicin. Civamide is currently an investigational drug for migraine, osteoarthritis, and other pain-related conditions. Products labeled cayenne sometimes include nonivamide which is an adulterant or pelargonic acid vanillylamide, referred to as "synthetic capsaicin".

General Certificate of Analysis (COA)

Specification sheet links below are a standard copy of the COA less the batch or lot number and manufactures dates. Specification sheet can be dated and should only be considered as a general information. Please contact and request an up to date COA if needed for specific updated information before placing order by filling out the contact form with product name and SKU number. If ordering quantities of twenty five kilos or more contact for availability.

Specification Sheets

Cayenne Powder


These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

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