How Much Cayenne = Excessive Consumption?

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Q: Howdy Dave,

I’ve been reading your book The Healing Powers Of Peppers and I really like it.  I have a couple questions: If I take cayenne capsules twice a day (I have my own cap packing kit for 00 size caps) would cayenne rated at 60,000 be too strong?  If so, then what would be best?  The second question is about long-term effects.  I’m only about a third of the way through your book, but so far I’m only seeing benefits and caution about using too-strong capsaicin.  However, I just read in an herb book that, "Excessive consumption can cause gastroenteritis and kidney damage"  (The Herb Book, John Lust).   Do you know anything about this?  Do you think daily doses of cayenne would be "excessive use?"  I was going to take a daily dose to help with circulation, like your book talks about, so I’m really concerned.




A: Hello Mike:

The question here is, "What is excessive consumption?"  People vary greatly in their sensitivity to the capsaicin in chiles.  Some people are so sensitive that they can get contact dermatitis from chiles touching their skin, while others can take large doses of

superhot sauces with no bad reaction.  I have never heard of chiles causing gastroenteritis or kidney damage.  But as you know, excessive consumption of many natural things (like salt) is not good for you.  If I were you, I would try the 60,000 SHU cayenne and see if you have any negative reaction to it.  If you have no discomfort, then your body can take it.  No, I don’t think a daily capsule of cayenne is excessive–but ten might be.  Anecdotal evidence, especially from cayenne supporters, tends to support the theory that consumption is good for you and that there are no bad long-term effects.


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