Red Canary

Historical Uses of Cayenne

Dave DeWitt Chiles and Health Leave a Comment

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General Remedies


CAYENNE ESSENCE.—Steep half an ounce of good cayenne in half a pint of strong spirits for a fortnight, strain and bottle it for use.


CAYENNE GARGLE. —In the early stage of sore throat, the best garble is a wine glassful of half vinegar and halt water, and as much cayenne pepper as will lie on a sixpence. If this be used as soon as the first symptoms of sore throat make themselves’ ft-it, the remedy Is almost sure to be effectual after two or three applications. If, however, the symptoms do not abate after some hours it would be better not to persist with the gargle.


CAYENNE, PREPARATION OF.—A condiment produced from capsicums and chilies. This pepper Is preferable when homemade for there is no other way of ensuring lis being genuine, and the manipulation is very simple. The flavour of chilies is superior to that of capsicums. Strip off the stalks from a hundred large chilies, put the pods Into a collander, and set them before the fire to dry for twelve hours. Then put them into a mortar with one-fourth their weight of salt; pound and rub them till they are as fine as possible, and put the powder into a well-stopped bottle; about two ounces of cayenne will be produced. Capsicums and chilies are ripe and in good condition during the months of September and October.


CAYENNE, USES AND PROPERTIES OF. —Cayenne used as a condiment to food promotes digestion and prevents flatulence; and when not immoderately used is undoubtedly serviceable to persons of languid digestion; in too large quantity it will prove an irritant poison. It may be employed medicinally with advantage in the form of a pill: two parts of cayenne, three of compound rhubarb pill, and one of quinine, form an excellent dinner pill, from three to six grains of which may be taken twenty minutes before the meal for a week or ten days consecutively, by persons of feeble habit of body with tendency to constipation.


CAYENNE VINEGAR.—Put half an ounce of cayenne pepper into a bottle, and pour on It a pint of pale vinegar. Cork it closely, and shake it well every two or three days. It may remain any length of time before it Is poured off, but will very soon be ready for use.


From: The Dictionary of Daily Wants, by Robert Kemp Philp. London: Houlston & Wright, 1866.


Cayenne for Asthma




Take of


Cayenne pepper 1 or 2 teaspoonfuls.


Boiling water 1 pint.


Vinegar 2 tablespoonfuls.


Mix for an inhaling dose, two or three times a day.


For chronic hoarseness and sore-throat this is much more efficacious than all the gargles that can be employed. It is also very beneficial in deafness arising from obstruction in the Eustachian tubes.


Take of


Tincture of capsicum 2 or 3 teaspoonfuls.
Boiling water 1 pint.


To be used for one inhaling dose, two or three times a day, in the same cases as the last mixture, and for inflammation of the tonsils, that is, those two round glands situated, one on each side of the fauces, at the base of the tongue. The fauces means the cavity which appears at the back part of the mouth, behind the tongue.


From: Consumption of the Lungs and Asthma, Arrested and Cured, by Daniel C. Carr, M.D. London: Effingham Wilson, 1847.


Cayenne, from Curries to Defecation


Medicine.—Chillies are used as medicine in typhus and intermittent fevers and in dropsy; they are regarded as stomachic and rubefacient. In native practice they are prescribed in gout, dyspepsia, cholera, and ague (Atkinson).


Special Opinions.—”When taken in curry in unusual quantities, chillies cause, in many instances, great irritation and burning in the rectum, especially after defoecation, attended also with scalding and frequent desire to urinate; mixed with ginger and mustard, they form a powerful rubefacient paste” (Assistant Surgeon Shib Chunder Bhattacharji, Chanda, Central Provinces). A dose of ten grains of finely powdered capsicum seed, given with an ounce of hot water, two or three times a day, sometimes shows wonderful effects in cases of delirium tremens” (Surgeon R. Gray, Lahore). “Stimulant, aromatic, and stomachic. I use the tincture and powder largely in the preparation of cholera mixture and pills, also in gargles for sore-throat” (Brigade-Surgeon S. M. Shircore, Murshedabad). “A powerful stimulant used as a gargle in sore-throat, also in dyspepsia and loss of appetite” (Brig.-Surgeon y. H. Thornton, Monghir).


From: A Dictionary of the Economic Products of India, Volume 2, by Sir George Watt. Calcutta: Supt. of Govt. Printing, 1889.



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