Chili Pepper

Capsicum annuum

The chilli pepper is a hairless, branched shrub, up to over 1 m in height, sometimes tomentose.  The fruit is shaped berry, globose or ellipsoid, spicy and red when ripe, 5 to 10 mm long. Perennial plant is present almost all year.  Originating from tropical and subtropical regions of America, was introduced in Europe after the discovery in 1492 and spread throughout the world.

Parts Used

  • The part used are the mature and fleshy fruit. They can´t be kept cold for too long. Are used interchangeably, species with similar content: Capsicum frutescens; Capsicum annuum; Capsicum baccatum; Capsicum pubescens; Capsicum chinense. Its composition is similar with qualitative variations.   
  • Mature fruits contain carotenoids pigments and significant amounts of vitamins C, B1, B2, copper, carotenoids (capsanthin, capsorubin), flavonoids (apioside, lutein). 
  • The active principles with inflammatory properties (revulsive) are amides, mainly capsaicin (0.5-1%), dihydrocapsaicin, nordihydrocapsaicin, homocapsaicin that are spicy phenolic compounds.
  • The leaves contain minor amounts of capsaicin.
  • Calorific value: 318 calorías/100g.

Medicinal properties

  • The main use is as an anti-inflammatory skin and has analgesic effect in mucous. The capsaicin is attributed to stimulate appetite and the secretion of gastric juices, also increasing the gastric and intestinal motility, because of this is used to fight anorexia, dyspepsia and flatulence.
  • Its main external use is in frictions for lumbago, pharyngitis, alopecia areata, osteoarticular inflammations, neuralgia and rheumatic pains.
  • The leaves, with minor content of capsaicin are used to treat lymph node swelling and boils, as reliever for flu and asthma.
  • The fruits have been used as diuretic, stomachic, hemorrhoids and antianginal.
  • The roots have common use as digestive.

Contraindications

  • For topical use, it must be used with care because the capsaicin in ripe fruits can cause skin irritation. Avoid contact with mucous membranes after application.
  • Prolonged use of the plant is not recommended.
  • Oral administration is contraindicated in cases of gastritis or gastric ulcers.
  • Do not apply to skin affected zones.
  • In topical application, it is very irritating and can cause contact dermatitis.
  • For internal use, carefully observe the indicated doses since higher doses can cause vomiting, diarrhea, gastritis and inflammation of the urinary tract.
  • As a food, avoid the abuse since can cause serious disorders in the digestive system.

Preparation and dosage

External use.

  • Decoction: Boil for 5 minutes 5 to 10 g of fresh and ripe fruits in half liter of water. Apply 2-3 times daily on the affected area.
    • "Capsicum oleoresin" (BP 8% capsaicin) from 0.3% to 0.9% cream or gel. 

Internal use (with caution):

  • Powder: 10 mg per capsule taken at the beginning of meals.
  • Tincture (1:10): 10 drops at the beginning of meals.
  • Fluid extract (1:1): 3-5 drops, one to three times daily.

See also: Cayenne and Paprika

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