News on Health & Science

Chili Pepper Ingredient Helps With Weight Loss

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Capsaicin, the stuff that gives chili peppers their kick, may cause weight loss and fight fat buildup by triggering certain beneficial protein changes in the body, according to a new study on the topic.
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Jong Won Yun and colleagues point out that obesity is a major public health threat worldwide, linked to diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, and other health problems. Laboratory studies have hinted that capsaicin may help fight obesity by decreasing calorie intake, shrinking fat tissue, and lowering fat levels in the blood. Nobody, however, knows exactly how capsaicin might trigger such beneficial effects.

In an effort to find out, the scientists fed high-fat diets with or without capsaicin to lab rats used to study obesity. The capsaicin-treated rats lost 8 percent of their body weight and showed changes in levels of at least 20 key proteins found in fat. The altered proteins work to break down fats. “These changes provide valuable new molecular insights into the mechanism of the anti obesity effects of capsaicin,” the scientists say.

Source: Elements4Health. July 21.2010

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News on Health & Science

‘Hot’ Substance in Chilli Peppers Key to Reduce Pain

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Studying chilli peppers is helping scientists create a new type of painkiller which could stop pain at its source.
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Capsaicin causes the burning sensation in chilli peppers

A team at the University of Texas says a substance similar to capsaicin, which makes chilli peppers hot, is found in the human body at sites of pain.

And blocking the production of this substance can stop chronic pain, the team found.

They report their findings in the Journal of Clinical Investigation.

Capsaicin is the primary ingredient in hot chilli peppers which causes a burning sensation.

It does this by binding to receptors present on the cells inside the body.

Similarly, when the body is injured, it releases capsaicin-like substances – fatty acids called oxidized linoleic acid metabolites or OLAMs – and these, via receptors, cause pain, the researchers have found.

Blocking pain
Dr Kenneth Hargreaves, senior researcher at the Dental School at the University of Texas, and his team next set out to see if they could block these newly discovered pain pathways.

Lab work on mice showed that by knocking out a gene for the receptors, there was no sensitivity to capsaicin.

Armed with this knowledge they set about making drugs to do the same.

Dr Hargreaves said: “This is a major breakthrough in understanding the mechanisms of pain and how to more effectively treat it.

“We have discovered a family of endogenous capsaicin-like molecules that are naturally released during injury, and now we understand how to block these mechanisms with a new class of non-addictive therapies.”

Ultimately, he hopes the drugs will be able to treat different types of chronic pain, including that associated with cancer and inflammatory diseases such as arthritis and fibromyalgia.

Source:BBC NEWS:April 27. 2010

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Compound In Chili Peppers Protects Heart

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The main component found in chili peppers has been shown to prevent and reduce heart damage during a heart attack, according to a new study.

The study published in the journal Circulation, finds that applying capsaicin, which is the main component in chili peppers and the active ingredient in some common pain creams, to specific skin areas on mice caused sensory nerves in the skin to trigger signals in the nervous system.

These signals activate cellular “pro-survival” pathways in the heart which protect the muscle, the article further explains.

“If proven effective in humans, this therapy has the potential to reduce injury or death in the event of a coronary blockage, thereby reducing the extent and consequences of heart attack,” says Keith Jones, a researcher at the University of Cincinnati where the study was performed.

Capsaicin, which is used topically to treat pain, produces a hot feeling on the skin. It is approved for use by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
The research further supports the value of chili peppers as a natural health resource.

Chili peppers, which are high in vitamin C, have already been shown to help fight migraine headaches, relieve sinus congestion and aid digestion.

Source: Better Health Research. Dec. 17th.2009

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Herbs & Plants

Cayenne Pepper (Capsicum Frutescens)

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Botanical Name: Capsicum Frutescens
Family:    Solanaceae
Genus:    Capsicum
Species:C. annuum
Order:    Solanales
Other Names: Capsicum, Hot pepper. Cayenne chili pepper, African pepper, Tabasco pepper, Red pepper
Common name:Cayenne pepper, red pepper, Chili pepper, lombok riewit, piment, pimento, lombok besar, cabe besar, lada besar.
Flowers: April – September
Parts Used: Pods
Habitat: Temperate climates and can be grown indoors.

Description:Cayenne pepper is a small shrub with alternate and oval to lanceolate leaves; this plant is native to tropical America. The flowers are white and the fruit is an avoid to ellipsoid berry. This small fruit is red when mature and has a hot pungent taste; the smaller they are, the hotter. The dried ripened fruit pod is used to prepare the pepper. The seeds of Cayenne pepper are always hotter than the pod.

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It is also known as “African Cayenne” or “African Bird Pepper”.Cayenne pepper seeds are dispersed by birds.
Its glabrous stem is woody at the bottom and branched near the top. The leaves are ovate to lanceolate, entire, and petioled. The drooping, white to yellow flowers grow alone or in pairs or threes. The fruit, or pepper, is a many seeded pod with a leathery outside. As it ripens it turns from various shades of dark green to black to red.

History: The first North American to advocate Cayenne pepper in healing was Samuel Thomson, creator of Thomsonian herbal medicine, which enjoyed considerable popularity before the Civil War. Thomson believed most disease was caused by cold and cured by heat, so he prescribed “warming” herbs extensively, and Cayenne was chief among them.
After the civil war, America’s Eclectic physicians recommended it externally for arthritis and muscle soreness and internally as a digestive stimulant and treatment for colds, cough, fever, diarrhea, constipation, nausea, and toothache. The Eclectics also advised adding Cayenne to socks to treat cold feet, a use echoed in some herbal preparations today.
Contemporary herbalists prescribe capsules of Cayenne powder for colds, gastrointestinal and bowel problems, and as a digestive aid. Externally, they recommend Cayenne plasters for arthritis and muscle soreness.

Constituents: Capsaicin, Carotenoids, Flavonoids, Vitamins A and C.

Health Benefits:
It improves circulation by its stimulating properties
It reduces inflammatory conditions of blood vessels
It purifies the blood by its cleansing and purging effect – it is an excellent expeller of It It It poisons and toxins
It promotes healing and prevents infection due to its anti-microbial properties
It helps to normalize blood pressure
It lowers cholesterol and reduces risk of heart disease
It helps to break down cholesterol deposits in the body
It prevents blood clots
It helps to bring down blood sugar levels
It relieves pain
It enhances body’s metabolism

Medicinal Properties  and uses:
Properties: Appetizer, Digestive, Irritant, Sialagogue, Stimulant, Tonic.

Cayenne is the preferred species of Capsicum for medicinal use. Those in climates that eat more hot peppers have les chronic obstructive lung disease than those on blander diets. Externally, cayenne makes an excellent liniment for poor circulation, unbroken chilblains, sprains and painful joints. Internally, small doses of cayenne stimulate the appetite and act as an internal cleanser. Cayenne brings blood and body heat to the surface, stimulating sweating and cooling the body. It regulates the blood flow, equalizing and strengthening the heart, arteries, capillaries and nerves. It is a good tonic and is specific for the circulatory and digestive system. It may be used in flatulent dyspepsia and colic. It is used for treating debility and for warding off colds. Eating hot peppers temporarily boosts the body’s metabolic rate by about 25%. Cayenne acts as an energy stimulant, slightly encouraging the adrenals to produce cortisone.

The dried fruit is a powerful local stimulant with no narcotic effect, it is most useful in atony of the intestines and stomach. It has proved efficacious in dilating blood vessels and thus relieving chronic congestion of people addicted to drink. It is sometimes used as a tonic and is said to be unequalled in warding off disease (probably due to the high vitamin C content). Used externally, it is a strong rubefacient stimulating the circulation, aiding the removal of waste products and increasing the flow of nutrients to the tissues. It is applied as a cataplasm or linament. It has also been powdered and placed inside socks as a traditional remedy for those prone to cold feet. These pungent fruited peppers are important in the tropics as gastrointestinal detoxicants and food preservatives.

Capsicin has been found to reduce a chemical that carries pain messages from nerve endings to the skin to the central nervous system. Clinical trials showed that 75% of the people who applied a capsicin cream on their shingles disease experienced substantial pain relief with only an occasional burning sensation. It is being investigated for use on other painful skin problems, such as diabetic nerve damage, psoriasis, and post surgical pain, and has been developed into Zostrix, an over-the-counter cream. A small mount of cayenne stabilizes blood pressure and reduces excessive bleeding anywhere in the country. The leaves have been used to treat toothache.
Digestive Aid: Cayenne pepper assists digestion by stimulating the flow of both saliva and stomach secretions. Saliva contains enzymes that begin the breakdown of carbohydrate, while stomach secretions (gastric juices) contain acids and other substances that further digest food.
Diarrhea: Like many culinary spices, Cayenne pepper has antibacterial properties, possibly explaining traditional claims that it helps relieve infectious diarrhea.
Chronic Pain: For centuries, herbalists have recommended rubbing cayenne pepper into the skin to treat muscle and joint pains. Several capsaicin counterirritants are available over-the-counter, such as Heet, Stimurub, and Omega Oil.
Recently, however, Cayenne has been shown to possess real pain-relieving properties for certain kinds of chronic pain. For reasons still not completely understood, capsaicin interferes with the action of “substance P,” the chemical in the peripheral nerves that sends pain messages to the brain. Several recent studies all showed capsaicin so effective at relieving a particular type of chronic pain, that two over-the-counter capsaicin creams, Zostrix and Axsain, are available.
Blood Pressure: Cayenne pepper helps regulate blood pressure. If you have high blood pressure, it lowers it, and if you have low blood pressure, it raises it.
Other Uses: Shingles, diabetic foot pain, cluster headaches, and may help cut cholesterol and prevent heart disease.

The seeds of Chili pepper contain capsaicin (a chemical compound); believed to have antibiotic properties.
It lowers cholesterol and works against arthritis and rheumatism.
Capsaicin is present in large quantities in the seeds and the fruits.
The seeds are dried, ground and used as a pepper; see Surinam kitchen.
Cayenne pepper also has a high vitamin C content.
Capsaicin relieves arthritic symptoms and improves joint flexibility.
There are numerous studies going on for the medicinal applications of
Cayenne pepper since there are a lot of therapeutic actions associated with it such as: aphrodisiac, diaphoretic, expectorant, neural stimulant, rubefacient, synergist vasomotor stimulant, topical vasodilator, etc.

Preparation And Dosages:
In food, season to taste, but be cautious. A little too much can set the mouth on fire.
For an infusion to aid digestion and possibly help reduce the risk of heart disease, use 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon per cup of boiling water. Drink it after meals.
For a tincture: (1:5 in 90% alcohol). Take 10 to 30 drops, 2 to 5 times per day in half-cup of water.
For external application to help treat pain, mix 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon per cup of warm vegetable oil and rub it into the affected area.
Cayenne should not be given to children under age 2. People over 65 often suffer a loss of taste-bud and skin-nerve sensitivity and may require more than younger adults.
Skin Care

Cluster Headaches
Diabetes Type II
Dyspepsia / Poor Digestion

The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplements, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.