OK, So Cayenne's Great and Amazing But Does It
Have Any Side Effects?
Is It Harmful? Can It Burn Your Stomach? The Answers May Surprise You
by Glenn Reschke
What are the side effects of cayenne pepper? What are its
bad points? Well, it is certainly hot to the taste and can take some getting used to.
(It is bearable, though, and it's not as bad as you think.) Drinking it is not for
the faint of heart.
Actually, it literally is. :)
In addition, when one starts to imbibe Capsicum via a glass of warm water -- that is the
preferred and ideal method -- it can come out during a bowel movement with an uncomfortable burning. This is
Still, don't worry, it is very, very beneficial and the body will quickly adapt. In fact,
Capsicum (another word for cayenne) will help clear up hemorrhoids if taken regularly -- especially if the
hemorrhoid sufferer changes their diet to one very rich in fiber.
I know this as it helped me in this way and others.
To mitigate the heat of Capsicum, I suggest starting with just a 1/4th of a teaspoon of Capsicum
in a glass of three to four ounces of lukewarm water.
By the way, if you're interested, I used to drink eight ounces of water with the Capsicum powder
but no more. Three to four ounces is sufficient.
Start with 30,000 to 50,000 SHU Capsicum. Be patient and let your body build up a tolerance to
hotter Capsicum. There's no need to rush here. You'll get great therapeutic health benefits from 30k to 50k
Perhaps have another glass of cool water to perhaps rinse your mouth as it is hot to the taste.
The heat on the tongue, lips and throat dissipates quickly, though.
I chug my daily glass quickly and this seems the best way to go over capsules. Yes, you can take
it in capsule form but its effects won’t be immediate the way they would be by direct application.
There are also some who suggest combining lemon water and Capsicum for fast metabolism.
(There are also some who think that a combination of cayenne lemon
fat burn facilitates adipose (fat tissue) loss.
That's debatable, but drinking a blend of lemon water and Capsicum for fast metabolism is more
Drinking the drink daily will produce obvious benefits, and the body will acclimate very quickly to
its native heat. Within a six months, you will be able to drink a tablespoon of it without too much discomfort.
Still, you could get the benefits you want by taking at most a teaspoon of Capsicum two times a day (ideally,
three times a day). Yes, you could eat Capsicum, but drinking it is easier and more convenient.
In essence, side effects of Capsicum have never really been reported**. Its native heat prevents
most people from using it and even those who are strong proponents of its many health benefits use it
The general rule of thumb, however, is avoid doing anything to the extreme and that is wise counsel.
However, according to studies done at the University of Maryland Medical
Center (2010) in the United States, researchers conclude that those "who are allergic to latex, bananas, kiwi,
chestnuts, and avocado may also have an allergy to cayenne" (para. 19).
Moreover, researchers at the Univ. of Maryland also assert that
"Eating Capsicum as a spice is considered safe during pregnancy, but pregnant women should avoid taking
Capsicum as a supplement. Capsicum does pass into breast milk, so nursing mothers should avoid Capsicum both as a
spice and a supplement" (para. 20).
That is sound advice, I think, for nursing mothers.
Also, it has been suggested that asthma patients taking theophylline
should consult their physician before supplementing with it.
Side Effects of Capsicum, Part 2
Since I wrote this page, I've received a lot of emails from those who have been using it for years as well as
those who already have been interested in it. That is gratifying. I recently received, however, an email that
really surprised me.
Let me highlight the key points. The lady who emailed me, Betsy of California, wrote the following:
"I gave my boyfriend [Kevin] 1/2 tsp [of 160,000 SHU] Capsicum and had him slam a bunch of
water (45 min or so after we ate) and after 5 min his stomach was cramping so bad, then his face became flush red,
his eyes rolled in his head, he wasn't breathing, he passed out with his eyes open (for about 4 seconds) and his
jaw locked up.
Then he came back, breathing became normal and turned pasty white got up stumbled to the
bathroom threw up less than a tablespoon of dark liquid and his whole body was covered in a light sweat. Now he is
laying on the couch, nothing is swelling or itching and he is not having any problems breathing. It is about 20 min
later he feels a little chilled, can sense the cayenne is or was in his stomach although it doesn't burn he says he
can feel that it is present."
Needless to say, I'd never heard of such a reaction to it and I have to admit I
was a little spooked as to what happened. The next day, I talked to a relative who is a registered nurse. I also
talked to a master herbalist and the consensus with both was that he went into shock for just a few seconds and
then came out of it. (That was my thought too, actually.)
The master herbalist who has been a practitioner of herbs for over 30 years told me he started with
too hot of Capsicum and took way too much. "He needs to work up to hotter Capsicum," he told me. I readily
My nurse relative told me it was not an allergic reaction but shock.
Moreover, the herbalist told me a personal story. Around 30 years ago had an ulcer and he vomited
up something similar to what Kevin of California did. He also suggested the boyfriend Kevin might have had an ulcer
or perhaps even a tumor that the Capsicum brought up.
The follow up to the story is that Kevin has started taking it but in a more measured, sensible
manner and is doing fine (he's up to half a teaspoon two times a day with 40,000 SHU Capsicum).
So, this story had a happy ending but it still should be very instructive to you. This spice is a
very powerful therapeutic herbal agent (a spice in actuality but we'll call it an
herb in that context).
As such, it should be used with judgment and wisdom. It is very beneficial for you but start small
-- that, I suppose is the lesson to be learned from Betsy and Kevin's story.
One last thing. According to Kelley Eidem, M.D., author of The Doctor Who Cures Cancer,
those with type A blood should avoid hot peppers. He quotes the book Eat Right 4 Your Type in making
this assertion. This is the first time I've ever heard of that.
Quite honestly, I don't think it's a problem.
Dr. Christopher in his voluminous writings never mentioned blood type being a determining factor in
the selection of medicinal herbs and spices. I will personally put my trust in that. To the best of my knowledge,
my blood type is B+ and I've experienced tremendous benefits from Capsicum.
Just taking it daily, even at the very least one warm glass of 1/4th a teaspoon is certainly going to give you
tremendous benefits. My herbalist friend told me he has had great benefits with just 30 to 50k SHU Capsicum. Me
Hotter Capsicum is great but it needs to be built up to. I hope you can see that.
If you do take it, after just a couple of days, you will find your body acclimating and you'll notice your heart
improving and your blood pressure lowering -- I actually found this happening to me. It's one of the great
health benefits of capsicum.
Lastly, you can get the Capsicum powder at a health food retailer. Capsicum in powder form is very
inexpensive. The liquid extract is more, however. If you are interested in buying Capsicum online, this page
over here within this site can help, or, for a full product
price list, go to this page here.
If you prefer the liquid, I recommend buying organic Capsicum extract from organic certified
companies. Having it in liquid form is useful in the case of an emergency like if somebody is having a heart
(You could also make your own cayenne pepper tincture, but it's more convenient to just buy it.)
Just putting about a teaspoonful of drops in the mouth under the tongue can help revive the person.
I hope you enjoyed this page, and I hope it's been useful to you.
**P.S. I've only heard of one anecedote where
a person was reported as being allergic to Capsicum pepper -- tennis great Ivan Lendl. That is anecdotal info,
however, as reported in a publication entitled, Organizational Behavior and Human Decision
Process, 59, 475-498 (1994). The name of the article was Reference Points and Omission
Basis by Jonathan Baron and Ilana Ritov from the University of Pennslyvania, page 476.