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History of Capsicum (Cayenne Pepper)

Aug 11, 2008
Capsicum also known as cayenne pepper has been known to the natives of the tropical Americas for thousands of years. It was first introduced to Europe by Christopher Columbus as Guinea Pepper and was originally used by Native Americans that were located south of the Mexican boarder as early as 700 B.C. The mixture of chocolate and red chilies was a taste treat that was reserved exclusively for Aztec royalty. Although the exact origin of the word Capsicum is somewhat a mystery, it is assumed to be derived from the Greek word kapto, which means to bite. Capsicum is a fruit found on a shrub-like tropical plant that is technically considered a berry. The designation of it as a pepper can be traced back to Columbus, who compared its hot taste sensation with that, a black pepper.

Gerard referred to Capsicum as extremely hot and dry in 1597 and prescribed it to those with skin and throat infections. The health practitioners of the 1800s used Capsicum to counteract rheumatism, arthritis, depression, and chills. Capsicum was used in the early 1800s as a potent and safe natural stimulant and was believed to be able to treat a large array of diseases. It was first used orally to treat tumors, toothaches, fevers, and respiratory conditions.

This cayenne red pepper was introduced to England by Dr. John Stevens in 1804 when it became the catalyst component in many herbal blends. Additionally, herbal and medical practitioners used Capsicum in order to fight infection and sustain the natural heat that the body produces. After, it became very well known in American dispensatories and pharmacopeia. In 1943, The Dispensary of the United States recorded Capsicum to be a powerful local stimulant that produces a sense of heat in the stomach and a general glow over the whole body when it is swallowed. It does all of this without having a narcotic effect.

Physicians in the twentieth-century recognized the medicinal value of Capsicum. This caused the herb to find its way to the American Illustrated Medical Dictionary, the Merck Manual and Materia Medica, where it is named a rubefacient, local stimulant, counter-irritant, gastric stimulant, and diaphoretic. Mexican Indians today use Capsicum as an intestinal disinfectant and protectant against contaminated food and, additionally, to treat fevers. In the world today, this cayenne pepper is no more appreciated and more widely used than in Mexico and a few other Latin American countries, which together are the original home of all the peppers. Practically every dish the Indians eat both in the morning and evening include Capsicum, just as it was 2,000 years ago. These peppers are a wonderful source of essential vitamins in a diet that is otherwise lacking of them.

Capsicum is a source of health and vitality in many countries which include the Bahamas and Costa Rica, in which it is used to treat colic and indigestion, in Africa for vascular disorders, and in North America as a tonic and natural stimulant. Currently undergoing a large variety of studies, Capsicum has emerged with an impressive list of actions. Scientists are currently taking notice and looking at Capsicum with a new respect and interest. Capsicum can be set apart from powerful pharmaceutical stimulants and pain killers because it possesses the potency without the delirious side effects.
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More information on capsicum cayenne pepper is available at VitaNet &Reg;, LLC Health Food Store. http://vitanetonline.com/
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