Cayenne Pepper Tea: A Spicy Brew for Better Health

The main ingredient in cayenne pepper tea
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To add some kick to your health routine, try sipping a cup of cayenne pepper tea. Typically prepared with ground cayenne pepper, fresh lemon, and purified water, this spicy brew is said to stimulate your digestive system, shield your heart health, and support weight loss.

Often used as a cooking spice, cayenne pepper is packed with a substance called capsaicin. A wealth of studies have shown that capsaicin can help reduce inflammation, a process known to play a key role in many chronic health problems.

Cayenne also contains a number of antioxidants, including vitamin A and vitamin C.

While cayenne pepper tea is often consumed as part of a detox diet, many people drink the tea on a daily basis in an effort to enhance their overall health.

The Benefits of Cayenne Pepper Tea

At this point, there’s no scientific support for the claims that cayenne pepper tea can improve your wellbeing. Despite this lack of evidence, however, proponents suggest that cayenne pepper tea offers a wide range of health benefits. These benefits include:

  • Improvements in blood pressure and circulation
  • Increased protection against heart disease
  • Pain reduction
  • Relief of cough and cold symptoms, such as sore throat

Cayenne pepper tea is also said to lift your mood and raise your energy levels, as well as promote weight loss and hair growth. When used as a detox aid, it’s thought to clear toxins from your body by revving up your circulation.

The Science Behind Cayenne Pepper Tea

Many studies testing the effects of capsaicin have focused on topical use of this chemical (i.e., applying capsaicin directly to your skin, usually in the form of ointments or creams). Such studies indicate that topical use of capsaicin may soothe symptoms of conditions like osteoarthritis and low back pain.

While research on capsaicin consumption is less extensive, some preliminary studies have shown that ingesting capsaicin may help with weight loss. For instance, a small study published in the journal Clinical Nutrition in 2009 found that a combination of capsaicin and green tea helped suppress hunger in healthy volunteers.

What’s more, laboratory research and tests in animals have demonstrated that consuming capsaicin could fight obesity by increasing your calorie-burning rate and promoting the breakdown of fat. There’s also some preliminary evidence that following a capsaicin-rich diet may help protect against cardiovascular and metabolic issues like atherosclerosis, diabetes, and stroke.

Side Effects & Safety Concerns

Since scientists have yet to test its health effects, little is known about the safety of long-term consumption of cayenne pepper tea. However, there’s some concern that cayenne pepper tea may cause gastrointestinal issues in some individuals. In addition, consuming cayenne in excessive amounts may result in liver and/or kidney damage.

Transient high blood pressure has been noted with cayenne pepper intake, particularly with higher concentrations. If you have high blood pressure or heart disease, consult your doctor before using cayenne tea.

How to Make Cayenne Pepper Tea

Fans of cayenne pepper tea often prepare the brew by stirring ¼ teaspoon of ground cayenne pepper into a cup of hot water. Squeezing in the juice from half of a fresh lemon can improve the taste of your cayenne pepper tea.

When preparing your cayenne pepper tea, bring the water nearly to a boil and immediately combine with the ground cayenne pepper. For best results, stir the mixture until the cayenne has completely dissolved. You can also promote steeping by covering the mug for several minutes prior to sipping.

To add more flavor to your cayenne pepper tea—and possibly boost its health benefits—consider including other herbs in the brew.

Try pepping up your tea with ingredients like ginger and turmeric, two herbs known to possess anti-inflammatory properties.

For further flavor enhancement, try stirring a teaspoon of honey into your cayenne pepper tea.

A word of advice: cayenne pepper tea often causes a burning sensation at the back of the throat, but sipping slowly may help alleviate that burning and—in turn—greatly increase your enjoyment of your tea.

Sources:

Gagnier JJ, van Tulder M, Berman B, Bombardier C. Herbal medicine for low back pain. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2006 Apr 19;(2):CD004504.

Kim CS, Kawada T, Kim BS, et al. Capsaicin exhibits anti-inflammatory property by inhibiting IkB-a degradation in LPS-stimulated peritoneal macrophages. Cell Signal. 2003 Mar;15(3):299-306.

Laslett LL, Jones G. Capsaicin for osteoarthritis pain. Prog Drug Res. 2014;68:277-91.

Leung FW. Capsaicin as an anti-obesity drug. Prog Drug Res. 2014;68:171-9.

McCarty MF, DiNicolantonio JJ, O'Keefe JH. Capsaicin may have important potential for promoting vascular and metabolic health. Open Heart. 2015 Jun 17;2(1):e000262. 

Reinbach HC, Smeets A, Martinussen T, Møller P, Westerterp-Plantenga MS. Effects of capsaicin, green tea and CH-19 sweet pepper on appetite and energy intake in humans in negative and positive energy balance. Clin Nutr. 2009 Jun;28(3):260-5. 

Disclaimer: The information contained on this site is intended for educational purposes only and is not a substitute for advice, diagnosis or treatment by a licensed physician. It is not meant to cover all possible precautions, drug interactions, circumstances or adverse effects. You should seek prompt medical care for any health issues and consult your doctor before using alternative medicine or making a change to your regimen.

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