Cayenne peppers are closely related to jalapeño and bell peppers. Dried and ground, they make a powdered spice for seasoning and also feature whole in Korean, Sichuan, and other Asian cuisines.
The spiciness comes from the pepper’s active ingredient, capsaicin, which is present in many topical preparations for aches and pains in muscles and joints.
Capsaicin, an ingredient in cayenne pepper, may help with:
- relieving pain
- managing weight
- easing itching
- reducing inflammation
- treating colds and congestion
- protecting the nervous system
The antioxidants in cayenne pepper include:
- vitamin C, which also supports the immune system
- vitamin E
- beta carotene
- cryptoxanthin, a source of vitamin A
Cryptoxanthin is also a type of pigment called a carotenoid, and it gives the pepper its red color.
Antioxidants offer a wide range of health benefits by helping the body remove free radicals — toxic substances that can cause harm if too many build up.