redirect: False
Sierra Gold® Supplements for Canines & Horses
Welcome to Sierra Gold® Animal Nutrition






Cayenne; Food or Medicine?

Nutrition Review

By Dan Houdeshell CVCP
Copyright 2005 - 2011 Sierra Gold Nutrition - All Rights Reserved

Cayenne pepper has been used both as feed and externaly on horses for many years. Is there true benefit to this practice or is it more folk lore than science? A closer look reveals applications in maintaining good health for horses and their riders.

Native Americans have used cayenne (or red pepper) as both food and medicine for thousands of years. The hot and spicy taste of cayenne pepper is primarily due to an ingredient known as capsaicin. Although it tastes hot, capsaicin actually stimulates a region of the brain that lowers body temperature. In fact, many people in subtropical and tropical climates consume cayenne pepper regularly because it helps them tolerate the heat.

The popularity of cayenne pepper has spread throughout the world, and it has become an important spice, particularly in Cajun and Creole cooking, and in the cuisines of Southeast Asia, China, Southern Italy, and Mexico. As well as being an important spice in many ethnic cuisines, cayenne has also been used in traditional Indian Ayurvedic, Chinese, Japanese, and Korean medicines as a remedy for digestive problems, appetite stimulation, muscle pain, and frostbite. Today, topical preparations of cayenne are used in the United States and Europe primarily to relieve pain associated with certain conditions such as arthritis, shingles (Herpes zoster), and cancer. Capsaicin is also a key ingredient in many personal defense sprays.

Plant Description

Cayenne is a shrub that grows in subtropical and tropical climates. Its fruit grows into long pods that turn red, orange, or yellow when they ripen. The fruit is eaten raw or cooked, or is dried and powdered into the spice that has been used for centuries in certain meals and medicines.

Pain Control

Capsaicin in cayenne pepper has very powerful pain-relieving properties when applied to the surface of the skin. Laboratory studies have found that capsaicin relieves pain by destroying a chemical known as substance P that normally carries pain messages to the brain. This appears to be true when applied topically for the following conditions:

Osteoarthritis and Rheumatoid arthritis, as well as joint or muscle pain from other causes.
Shingles and other painful skin conditions
Pain from Peripheral Neuropathy (nerve damage experienced in the feet and/or legs)
Low back pain: Homeopathic gels of capsaicin are available for this purpose.

Gastric and Circulatory Benefits

Early evidence is encouraging regarding the possible use of capsaicin for stomach ulcers. Capsaicin is under investigation for the possible use to help treat cystitis (bladder inflammation). Very preliminary test-tube and animal studies suggest that capsaicin may have some value in improving blood flow to the heart (for example, in the case of heart disease from atherosclerosis [plaque] blocking the arteries to the heart) and reducing risk of an irregular heart rhythm.

The use of cayenne in performance horses has been studied over the past eight years with verying degrees of success. Enhanced circulation seems to be one of the predominant benefits. This is especially noticed in horses that have hoof problems related to laminitis (founder) and navicular disease. Cayenne has also demonstrated itself to be anti-microbial especially when combined with garlic and yucca. Horses with gastric ulcers have shown marked improvement in pain reduction and the eventual healing of the stomach lining. Studies that are being conducted at the present time will shed more light on the subject.

What's it made of?

Capsaicin is the most active ingredient in cayenne, but other important ingredients include carotenoids, vitamins A and C, and flavonoids.

Precautions:

The use of herbs is a time-honored approach to strengthening the body and treating disease. Herbs, however, contain active substances that can trigger side effects and that can interact with other herbs, supplements, or medications. For these reasons, herbs should be taken with care, under the supervision of a practitioner knowledgeable in the field of botanical medicine.

Wash hands well after use and avoid touching the eyes. Cayenne does not dissolve easily in water, so vinegar should be used to remove this substance from the skin.

Aspirin

One study found that capsaicin (when taken together with aspirin) reduced irritation and damage to the stomach normally associated with this medication.

Blood-thinning medications and herbs

In theory, capsaicin may increase the risk of bleeding associated with certain blood-thinning medications (such as warfarin and low molecular weight heparin) and herbs (such as ginkgo and garlic). However, this theory has not been tested. Until more information is available, extreme care should be taken if considering use of capsaicin when on a blood thinning medication, in a class known as anticoagulants, or blood thinning herb.

Attal N. Chronic neuropathic pain: mechanisms and treatment [Review]. Clin J Pain 2000;16(3 Suppl):S118-30.

D'Alonzo AJ, Grover GJ, Darbenzio RB, et al. In vitro effects of capsaicin: antiarrhythmic and antiischemic activity. Eur J Pharmacol. 1995;272(2-3):269-278.

Deal CL, Schnitzer TJ, Lipstein E, et al. Treatment of arthritis with topical capsaicin: a double-blind trial. Clin Ther. 1991;13(3):383-395.
Duke J. The Green Pharmacy. Emmaus, Pa: Rodale Press; 1997.

Ellison N, Loprinzi CL, Kugler J, et al. Phase III placebo-controlled trial of capsaicin cream in the management of surgical neuropathic pain in cancer patients. J Clin Oncol. 1997;15(8):2974-2980.

Fusco BM, Giacovazzo M. Peppers and pain. The promise of capsaicin. Drugs. 1997;53(6):909-914.

Gruenwald J, Brendler T, Jaenicke C et al, eds. PDR for Herbal Medicines. 2nd ed. Montvale, NJ: Medical Economics Company; 2000.

Jensen PG, Larson JR. Management of painful diabetic neuropathy [Review]. Drugs Aging. 2001;18(10):737-749.

Kang JY, Yeoh KG, Chia HP, Lee HP, Chia YW, Guan R, Yap I. Chili--protective factor against peptic ulcer? Dig Dis Sci. 1995;40(3):576-9

Karch SB. The Consumer's Guide to Herbal Medicine. Hauppauge, New York: Advanced Research Press; 1999:57-58.
Kenney JK, Jamjian C, Wheeler MM. Prevention and management of pain associated with Herpes zoster. Journal of Pharmaceutical Care in Pain and Symptom Control. 1999;7(3):7-26.

Nicholas JJ. Physical modalities in rheumatological rehabilitation. Archives of Physical and Medical Rehabilitation. 1994;75(9):994-1001.

Rains C, Bryson HM. Topical Capsaicin. A review of its pharmacological properties and therapeutic potential in post-herpetic neuralgia, diabetic neuropathy and osteoarthritis. Drugs and Aging. 1998;7(4):317-328.

Robbins W. Clinical applications of capsaicinoids [Review]. Clin J Pain. 2000;16(2 Suppl):S86-89.

Rosenstein ED. Topical agents in the treatment of rheumatic disorders. Rheum Dis Clin North Am. 1999;25(4):899-913.

Rotblatt M, Ziment I. Evidence-Based Herbal Medicine. Philadelphia, PA: Hanley & Belfus, Inc; 2002:109-113.

Stankus SJ, Dlugopolski M, Packer D. Management of herpes zoster (shingles) and postherpetic neuralgia.

Yeoh KG, Kang JY, Yap I, et al. Chili protects against aspirin-induced gastroduodenal mucosal injury in humans. Dig Dis Sci. 1995;40:580583.

Yoshioka M, St-Pierre S, Suzuki M, Tremblay A. Effects of red pepper added to high-fat and high-carbohydrate meals on energy metabolism and substrate utilization in Japanese women. Br J Nutr. 1998;80(6):503-510.
Zhang WY, Li Wan Po A.

The effectiveness of topically applied capsaicin. Eur J Clin Pharmacol. 1994;46:517-522.

Info Library

News & Announcements

Feeding Issues
How should I feed My Horse?

Vitamins & Minerals
The building blocks of life.

Herbs & Natural Remedies
Getting back to basics without going overboard.

Equine Health Topics
Keeping your horses healthy 24-7

 

 
 
  Home    Why Sierra Gold   Products    Dealers   Nutrition Tips   FAQ   Newsletter  
  Contact SG    Privacy Policy    View Your Cart    Customer Testimonials    Links of Interest  
Sierra Gold® Animal Nutrition








Best viewed in Internet Explorer 5+
Copyright © 2002 - Sierra Gold® Nutrition
Web site developed and maintained by
GittyUPgo Graphic Design
eCommerce powered by
RocketCart

news and announcements calendar of events