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"Cayenne" the Disinfectant

Capsicum annuum. Solanaceae                                                                                                                                     Except in Africa and South America where it grows wild, cayenne is found only as a garden plant. Its name comes from the Greek word kapto “I bite”, for it is a biting herb with fire in its pods. It has oval, shiny green leaves and drooping small white flowers which form green pods, which turn red when ripe. Cayenne has been used by American and Mexican Indians and African natives throughout their histories, and is still used today. Use, internal: As a supreme and harmless internal disinfectant. Mexican Indians, who use cayenne pepper as an internal disinfectant to overcome the dangers of impure foods . The Indians, often having to eat unclean food, suffer no ill effects because they sprinkle powdered cayenne peppers freely as a condiment on most of their eatables. There is no exact measurements, as pepper plants differ in strength, so add as much pepper as the person can tolerate without the mouth and throat burning too fiercely. The burning sensation of cayenne is beneficial, never harmful, and soon passes off. I learnt to use the dried powdered peppers as fumigation against pests, and rodents when living in primitive places where such things are found in human dwellings. Cayenne pepper, because it is antispasmodic as well as intensely stimulating, has earned a reputation for giving relief in heart attacks. An ancient cure for all types of fevers. Treats rheumatism, arthritis, jaundice, and Berger’s paresthesia. Sprinkled freely inside socks, will warm chilled feet; likewise used against frostbite. To expel worms. A tonic for all organs of the body, including the heart. Said to increase fertility and defer senility.

Use external:

  For severe wounds, seriously infected wounds, old sores, disinfect by covering the place with the powdered cayenne. It will burn and smart for a brief time in the way lemon juice does when applied to wounds, but this is harmless and highly curative. For fumigation, sprinkle several tablespoonfuls of the powdered pepper on a tin lid, place it over a slow flame, seal up the shed or room, and allow the pepper to fume until all burnt up. Renew several times if necessary. Cayenne is a pungent fumigator detested by vermin, but it is not poisonous in any way, and any place can be treated with cayenne can be used very soon after fumigation. In ancient times fumigation was considered a protection against vapires and werewolves.


A half teaspoon or more in a large cupful of tepid water. Take as much as can be tolerated, morning and night, at least an hour before or after a meal. At one time, and I have no record of the degree of success achieved, a large pinch was sprinkled frequently on the tongue during a heart attack. I cannot emphasize too often the point I have already made: that while modern medicine has made some of these ancient remedies sound not only futile but almost cynically dangerous, it is still worth mentioning them for the sake of the germ of truth contained. It is as foolish to contend that no advance has been made on old herbal lore as it is to turn a blind eye on those herbs which no synthetic product can fully replace.

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