Last updated: August 10, 2021

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You have heard that cayenne is much more than just a seasoning ingredient in the kitchen and that the spiciness is not only tasty but also healthy? But you are not yet convinced of the effect and would like to learn more about the intake, scientific background and necessary criteria for the purchase of cayenne? Then you've come to the right place.

We are pleased that you have found your way to our big Cayenne test 2021. Here you will find everything you need to know about the burning hot cayenne pepper. You will not only learn why cayenne harmonises wonderfully with many dishes in Cajun cuisine, but also why the chilli pepper is said to have healing effects.




The most important facts

  • Cayenne is a spice extracted from the chilli plant of the same name from Mexico. It is therefore a ground, dried chilli pepper and is mainly used to flavour food in the kitchen.
  • Cayenne contains important substances that can have health effects for the body. Its special active ingredient capsaicin shows an anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving effect and is used for numerous diseases.
  • Cayenne is available in different dosage forms. It is available as cayenne pepper powder, in liquid form as drops, in the form of capsules to swallow and as an ointment for external use.

The Best Cayenne: Our Picks

Buying and evaluation criteria for Cayenne

When buying a Cayenne, you can pay attention to various aspects:

By making the right choice for you, you can save money and also ensure that you don't give your body anything it doesn't need. Therefore, always look for organic quality and prefer products with certification.

Dosage form

Cayenne is available in four different dosage forms. Cayenne is available in ground form, liquid form and as capsules and ointments.

We explain in detail which form is best for you in our section "What types of cayenne are there?" and show you the respective advantages and disadvantages.

Dosage

The dosage depends strongly on the form of cayenne. If you decide to take capsaicin in capsules, a daily intake of 1-2 capsules is recommended.

If you want to take the active ingredient capsaicin in drops, a maximum of 2-3 drops daily with a glass of water is recommended.

With ointments, on the other hand, it is recommended to apply them thinly to the skin. The warming effect is very fast and relatively strong. Make sure that you only use the ointment externally and keep it away from children.

When cooking, you are the only master of the spiciness of your dish. Be careful and only add cayenne pepper gradually until you have reached the desired level of heat.

Use

The use, but also the taste, decides which form of cayenne is best for you.

If you only use cayenne for cooking, we recommend buying ground cayenne pepper in commercial spice packs. These are available in small quantities, approx. 40 g, or in large packages of up to 1 kg.

However, if you want to use cayenne for medicinal purposes, you are exactly right with extracts, capsules and ointments.

You only pay once for these dosage forms and don't have to worry about supplies for a few weeks afterwards. This is reflected in the price.

Severity level

The heat level of chillies is generally measured in Scoville units. Large, thick cayenne peppers have between 30,000 and 50,000 Scoville units.

In comparison, jalapeños and hot peppers are quite mild. Jalapeños reach between 2,500 and 8,000 Scoville units on a Scoville scale, while hot peppers have only 100-1,000 Scoville units.

If you want to taste the heat, you should use the spice in ground form or as drops (extract). If you want to avoid the spiciness, capsules are the right choice.

Guide: Questions you should ask yourself before buying cayenne

In order to inform you comprehensively about the effectiveness of cayenne and to give you an understanding of the current state of science, we have summarised all the important information in the following sections.

What is cayenne and how does it work?

Cayenne, also known as Capsicum annuum, originates from Mexico and is one of the best-known chilli plants in the world. It is traditionally used in Cajun cuisine in South American countries.

Cayenne is mainly dried and then ground into powder, the cayenne pepper. The taste of cayenne pepper is hot and smoky with a bitter note.

Cayenne chillies not only taste good, they also have many health benefits. (Image source: Prachi Palwe / Unsplash)

Cayenne not only adds a certain spiciness to dishes, it is also said to have many health effects on the body. The active ingredient capsaicin is responsible for this. The pungent substance is said to have anti-inflammatory, pain-relieving and blood pressure-lowering effects.

Cayenne for high blood pressure

Cayenne can have a strong effect on the blood and vascular system.

Cayenne can relax the blood vessels and consequently has a blood-thinning and blood pressure-lowering effect. (2)

The active ingredient capsaicin switches on the heat receptors in the mucous membrane of the mouth and the typical sensation of spiciness occurs. An important substance is released that dilates the blood vessels and increases the permeability of the vascular walls. (1)

Cayenne for arthrosis

People suffering from arthrosis experience great pain in their joints. To combat this pain, common painkillers are prescribed to suppress it.

The capsaicin in cayenne promises a pain-relieving effect for osteoarthritis patients on a natural basis. (3)

If you apply capsaicin, for example, as an ointment to the corresponding part of your body, the active ingredient stimulates the pain-conducting nerve fibres until they are exhausted and no more pain signals are transmitted. (4)

Cayenne for Burn Out

Burnout patients need support in acute cases, during regeneration and in the sustainable change of their lifestyle habits. These patients often suffer from cortisol deficiency, which can lead to exhaustion, feelings of weakness and daytime tiredness.

Cayenne, with its pungent ingredient capsaicin, can help stimulate cortisol production. Through the body's own cortisol, burnout patients should be able to adjust their lifestyle again.

Cayenne for stomach problems

Cayenne can have a positive effect on the body. It is claimed that after regular intake of cayenne, the stomach tissue is built up and consequently stomach and intestinal ulcers can be healed.

Animal experiments in the laboratory have shown that cayenne promotes blood flow to the stomach lining, which in turn accelerates the healing process. (5)

It has also been scientifically proven in a clinical study on humans that cayenne can protect the stomach lining from damage and thus has a preventive effect on the stomach. (6)

Cayenne for cancer

Capsaicin can be used as a cancer-preventive agent in medicine. It prevents cell growth and induces the death of cancer cells without damaging healthy cells. (7)

From multiple studies, scientists have found that tumours can shrink to a fifth of their original size when exposed to capsaicin.

Thus, the growth of cancer cells can be effectively inhibited. However, further studies are encouraged to successfully apply capsaicin in clinical therapy for patients with breast cancer for the future. (8)

When and for whom is it useful to take cayenne?

Cayenne is mainly used in kitchens as a spice. You can use it to give your dishes that certain spiciness. Thanks to its smoky, pungent and bitter taste, it goes very well with many meat dishes, as well as stews and soups, but cayenne is also good for refining desserts.

Due to its pungency, cayenne is not suitable for children and should be kept out of reach.

If you want to do something good for your body and fight your pain with natural means, you should definitely start integrating cayenne into your diet.

Whether through drops, capsules or tablets - cayenne contains important substances for the body, especially capsaicin, which is said to have antibacterial, anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving effects.

Basically, cayenne is aimed at all those who are looking for a suitable spice in the kitchen to give their dishes that certain spicy touch and/or want to use the effective properties of cayenne for their body.

What nutritional values does cayenne contain?

In order to inform you better about the nutritional values contained in cayenne pepper, we have compiled the following table for you as an overview.

Amount per 100 g Nutritional value
Calories 318
Fat content 17 g
Sodium 30 mg
Potassium 2.014 mg
Carbohydrates 57 g
Protein 12 g

So you know which ingredients can be combined effectively.

Which parts of the plant are processed by cayenne?

Cayenne is not the fruit of the pepper bush, as mistakenly assumed, but a type of pepper.

The pods can be harvested after about 3 months after flowering. Because of their thin walls, they are particularly easy to dry and grind into powder. (Image source: Hendika S Pratama / Unsplash)

Cayenne is therefore a wild plant that can grow up to 60-80 cm high and bears many thin-fleshed pods. These chillies are harvested, dried and ground into a powder called cayenne pepper.

How much do Cayenne products cost?

Cayenne comes in different forms that are suitable for different purposes. In the table below, we show you the forms and their price range.

Form Price range
Ground 4-12 euros
Liquid 13-17 euros
Capsule 14-20 euros
Ointment 7-15 euros

The cheapest form in which you can buy cayenne is ground.

What types of cayenne are there?

Cayenne can be taken in different ways. These include the following types:

  • Cayenne powder
  • Cayenne capsules
  • Cayenne extract
  • Cayenne ointment

Which type you choose depends on the purpose. If you want to lose weight with cayenne, drops are the right choice. If you have pain and muscle tension, the ointment will help you fight it. For blood circulation and heart functions, it is recommended to take capsules. For cooking, it is best to use ground cayenne.

In the following section we explain the advantages and disadvantages of the different types of cayenne.

Cayenne powder (ground)

Cayenne powder (ground)

The best-known use of cayenne is the powder ground from the chilli peppers.

Advantages
  • helps digestion
  • aids weight loss
  • helps against stomach complaints
Disadvantages
  • sweating
  • causes headaches(11)

Cayenne is used as a spice exclusively in the kitchen to refine dishes.

Cayenne capsules

Cayenne capsules

Cayenne is also available in capsules. These are not supplemented with dishes, but swallowed like this.

Advantages
  • large quantities when ingested
  • no cooking necessary
Disadvantages
  • not suitable for people with paprika allergies
  • not intended for weight loss

The ingredients of cayenne are only released in the intestine when ingested.

Cayenne extract (liquid)

Cayenne extract (liquid)

For cayenne in liquid form, as an extract or tincture, it is recommended to take 3-5 drops daily. If the spiciness becomes noticeable, a piece of butter helps.

Advantages
  • promotes weight loss
  • can be dosed individually
Disadvantages
  • unpleasant taste
  • glass bottles can break

Liquid intake is not recommended for people with kidney problems.

Cayenne ointment

Cayenne ointment

Cayenne pepper as an ointment is used exclusively for medicinal and healing purposes, such as for people with joint pain.

Advantages
  • easy to make
  • no side effects as long as capsaicin is below 0.075%
Disadvantages
  • for external use only, may cause skin irritation

While the other types are used internally, cayenne ointment is used externally.

Can I lose weight with cayenne?

According to studies, cayenne is supposed to promote weight loss. The main ingredient capsaicin is considered a so-called fat burner and not only helps to lose weight, but also to keep it off. It is also believed that capsaicin stimulates the metabolism and thus promotes fat burning. (9)

Cayenne is said to be able to stimulate the metabolism and fat burning.

A study on laboratory mice has shown that capsaicin accelerates the burning of fat tissue. The process of chemical changes in the fatty tissue indicates a high energy demand, which in turn is a sign of the continuous breakdown of body fat. (10)

As there have only been studies tested on animals so far, it is still unclear and controversial that cayenne actually supports weight loss. However, previous users testify to the positive effect, which paves their way to the dream figure.

What are the side effects of cayenne?

The most common side effects of cayenne ointments are a strong burning sensation on the skin. Therefore, you should not apply capsaicin to injured and irritated skin.

The pungent substances from chillies and peppers can cause painful irritation of the mucous membranes. After processing cayenne, you should wash your hands several times and avoid eye contact.

If you have an allergy to pepper products, you should definitely avoid cayenne pepper so that hypersensitivity reactions do not occur.

Regardless, you should always consume the pungent substance capsaicin contained in cayenne in moderation. An overdose can, even if only very rarely, lead to severe chest pain and even a heart attack. (12)

Follow the dosage rule and you won't risk anything. If the pain persists, we strongly recommend that you consult a doctor.

Even if you don't have cayenne pepper at hand, there are some alternatives that can also provide fiery aroma in the kitchen. (Image source: Prachi Palwe / Unsplash)

What are the alternatives to cayenne?

You don't have cayenne pepper at home and still want to give your dishes a smoky and spicy flavour?

We recommend the following alternatives to achieve this result:

alternative taste note
Tabasco same level of heat, but fruitier in flavour use only with liquid dishes, e.g. soup, stews, etc.
chilli powder less hot, often available as a spice mix. make sure to use pure chilli powder without any other ingredients depending on the chilli variety, it changes the flavour
Chipotle powder obtained from smoked, dried jalapeños, tastes strongly spicy season carefully peu à peu, as the spiciness of the powder can vary greatly
Paprika powder depending on the variety, a similar spiciness can be achieved (e.g. Hungarian, Spanish, etc.).Mild paprika can also be mixed with chilli powder if necessary
Thai pepper green peppercorns from Thailand, twice as hot in taste but less spicy add peppercorns to the pot or pan when cooking, then remove the peppercorns after cooking

Whether Tabasco, chilli powder, Thai pepper or similar, the choice of hot spice is ultimately a matter of taste!

What is the difference between cayenne and chilli?

Although cayenne and chilli look very similar, they should not be confused and should not be used as a substitute for each other.

Cayenne pepper is nothing more than ground chilli peppers. Even if the name erroneously suggests it, cayenne is not obtained from the pepper plant, but from the chilli plant of the same name. It is much more intense in flavour, hotter and contributes a bitter note.

Chilli powder, on the other hand, is a mixture of hot spices. Its main ingredients are cayenne pepper, garlic and oregano. Some blends also contain nutmeg, cinnamon, coriander or/and cloves.

Chilli powder is therefore a mix of many different ingredients and should not be confused with finely ground cayenne pepper.

How do I make ground cayenne pepper myself?

In principle, anyone can make their own cayenne pepper. You can either process your own cayenne chillies or buy them in advance in a shop.

We show you how to make your own cayenne pepper in just a few steps.

  1. Preparation: Cut the washed and dried chillies into quarters with a cutting knife
  2. Drying process: Place in a dehydrator and dry for about 8 hours. If you do not have a dehydrator, you can also dry the quartered chillies at a low temperature (approx. 40 degrees Celsius) in a fan-assisted oven for at least 4 hours
  3. Grind: As soon as the quartered chillies are dry, grind them into powder in a spice mill. Your homemade cayenne pepper is ready.

What you need are: Cayenne chillies, gloves, knife, chopping board, dehydrator if needed & a spice grinder (a coffee grinder will also work).

What different dishes can be cooked with cayenne?

Cayenne is versatile and a perfect addition to different dishes. It is often used to flavour meat dishes such as lamb, chicken, turkey and game.

Soups, casseroles, ragouts and egg dishes also go very well with it. Its spiciness refines many rice dishes.

Cayenne is often used for marinating. Cayenne harmonises very well with fish and seafood and is an important ingredient in seasoning sauces such as sambal oelek and tabasco.

It doesn't matter whether it is used in ice cream, chocolate or creams. Its pungency even enhances desserts and sweets. Some people sprinkle a little cayenne into their coffee or cocoa or spice up smoothies and cocktails with it.

Image source: Jucha / 123rf

References (12)

1. Yang D, Luo Z, Ma S, et al. Activation of TRPV1 by dietary capsaicin improves endothelium-dependent vasorelaxation and prevents hypertension. Cell Metab. 2010;12(2):130-141. doi:10.1016/j.cmet.2010.05.015
Source

2. Harada N, Okajima K. Effects of capsaicin and isoflavone on blood pressure and serum levels of insulin-like growth factor-I in normotensive and hypertensive volunteers with alopecia. Biosci Biotechnol Biochem. 2009;73(6):1456-1459. doi:10.1271/bbb.80883
Source

3. PharmaWiki: Capsaicin. URL: https://www.pharmawiki.ch/wiki/index.php?wiki=capsaicin. Stand: 02.09.2020.
Source

4. Evangelista S. Novel therapeutics in the field of capsaicin and pain. Expert Rev Clin Pharmacol. 2015;8(4):373-375. doi:10.1586/17512433.2015.1044438
Source

5. Kang JY, Teng CH, Chen FC. Effect of capsaicin and cimetidine on the healing of acetic acid induced gastric ulceration in the rat. Gut. 1996;38(6):832-836. doi:10.1136/gut.38.6.832
Source

6. Yeoh KG, Kang JY, Yap I, et al. Chili protects against aspirin-induced gastroduodenal mucosal injury in humans. Dig Dis Sci. 1995;40(3):580-583. doi:10.1007/BF02064374
Source

7. Zhang R, Humphreys I, Sahu RP, Shi Y, Srivastava SK. In vitro and in vivo induction of apoptosis by capsaicin in pancreatic cancer cells is mediated through ROS generation and mitochondrial death pathway. Apoptosis. 2008;13(12):1465-1478. doi:10.1007/s10495-008-0278-6
Source

8. Chapa-Oliver AM, Mejía-Teniente L. Capsaicin: From Plants to a Cancer-Suppressing Agent. Molecules. 2016;21(8):931. Published 2016 Jul 27. doi:10.3390/molecules21080931
Source

9. "Ludy MJ, Moore GE, Mattes RD. The effects of capsaicin and capsiate on energy balance: critical review and meta-analyses of studies in humans. Chem Senses. 2012;37(2):103-121. doi:10.1093/chemse/bjr100"
Source

10. Abdel-Salam OM, Szolcsányi J, Mózsik G. Capsaicin and the stomach. A review of experimental and clinical data. J Physiol Paris. 1997;91(3-5):151-171. doi:10.1016/s0928-4257(97)89479-x
Source

11. Boddhula SK, Boddhula S, Gunasekaran K, et alAn unusual cause of thunderclap headache after eating the hottest pepper in the world – “The Carolina Reaper”Case Reports 2018;2018:bcr-2017-224085.
Source

12. Sogut O, Kaya H, Gokdemir MT, Sezen Y. Acute myocardial infarction and coronary vasospasm associated with the ingestion of cayenne pepper pills in a 25-year-old male. Int J Emerg Med. 2012;5:5. Published 2012 Jan 20. doi:10.1186/1865-1380-5-5
Source

Why you can trust me?

Activation of TRPV1 by dietary capsaicin improves endothelium-dependent vasorelaxation and prevents hypertension
Yang D, Luo Z, Ma S, et al. Activation of TRPV1 by dietary capsaicin improves endothelium-dependent vasorelaxation and prevents hypertension. Cell Metab. 2010;12(2):130-141. doi:10.1016/j.cmet.2010.05.015
Go to source
Effects of capsaicin and isoflavone on blood pressure and serum levels of insulin-like growth factor-I in normotensive and hypertensive volunteers with alopecia
Harada N, Okajima K. Effects of capsaicin and isoflavone on blood pressure and serum levels of insulin-like growth factor-I in normotensive and hypertensive volunteers with alopecia. Biosci Biotechnol Biochem. 2009;73(6):1456-1459. doi:10.1271/bbb.80883
Go to source
Capsaicin
PharmaWiki: Capsaicin. URL: https://www.pharmawiki.ch/wiki/index.php?wiki=capsaicin. Stand: 02.09.2020.
Go to source
Novel therapeutics in the field of capsaicin and pain
Evangelista S. Novel therapeutics in the field of capsaicin and pain. Expert Rev Clin Pharmacol. 2015;8(4):373-375. doi:10.1586/17512433.2015.1044438
Go to source
Effect of capsaicin and cimetidine on the healing of acetic acid induced gastric ulceration in the rat
Kang JY, Teng CH, Chen FC. Effect of capsaicin and cimetidine on the healing of acetic acid induced gastric ulceration in the rat. Gut. 1996;38(6):832-836. doi:10.1136/gut.38.6.832
Go to source
Chili protects against aspirin-induced gastroduodenal mucosal injury in humans
Yeoh KG, Kang JY, Yap I, et al. Chili protects against aspirin-induced gastroduodenal mucosal injury in humans. Dig Dis Sci. 1995;40(3):580-583. doi:10.1007/BF02064374
Go to source
In vitro and in vivo induction of apoptosis by capsaicin in pancreatic cancer cells is mediated through ROS generation and mitochondrial death pathway
Zhang R, Humphreys I, Sahu RP, Shi Y, Srivastava SK. In vitro and in vivo induction of apoptosis by capsaicin in pancreatic cancer cells is mediated through ROS generation and mitochondrial death pathway. Apoptosis. 2008;13(12):1465-1478. doi:10.1007/s10495-008-0278-6
Go to source
Capsaicin: From Plants to a Cancer-Suppressing Agent
Chapa-Oliver AM, Mejía-Teniente L. Capsaicin: From Plants to a Cancer-Suppressing Agent. Molecules. 2016;21(8):931. Published 2016 Jul 27. doi:10.3390/molecules21080931
Go to source
The effects of capsaicin and capsiate on energy balance: critical review and meta-analyses of studies in humans
"Ludy MJ, Moore GE, Mattes RD. The effects of capsaicin and capsiate on energy balance: critical review and meta-analyses of studies in humans. Chem Senses. 2012;37(2):103-121. doi:10.1093/chemse/bjr100"
Go to source
Capsaicin and the stomach. A review of experimental and clinical data
Abdel-Salam OM, Szolcsányi J, Mózsik G. Capsaicin and the stomach. A review of experimental and clinical data. J Physiol Paris. 1997;91(3-5):151-171. doi:10.1016/s0928-4257(97)89479-x
Go to source
An unusual cause of thunderclap headache after eating the hottest pepper in the world – “The Carolina Reaper”
Boddhula SK, Boddhula S, Gunasekaran K, et alAn unusual cause of thunderclap headache after eating the hottest pepper in the world – “The Carolina Reaper”Case Reports 2018;2018:bcr-2017-224085.
Go to source
Acute myocardial infarction and coronary vasospasm associated with the ingestion of cayenne pepper pills in a 25-year-old male
Sogut O, Kaya H, Gokdemir MT, Sezen Y. Acute myocardial infarction and coronary vasospasm associated with the ingestion of cayenne pepper pills in a 25-year-old male. Int J Emerg Med. 2012;5:5. Published 2012 Jan 20. doi:10.1186/1865-1380-5-5
Go to source
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