Capsicum is used in this manner in formulas for pain relief of arthritis, female complaints, athletics, infections, heart, laxatives, diuretics, ulcers, thyroid balance, male tonic and cleansing and respiratory ailments. Cayenne contains substantial amounts of vitamin C. Chilies also contain a chemical called Capsaicin which is what makes them taste hot.
Capsaicin is currently used to treat various painful conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis and diabetic neuropathy. Initially, when capsaicin-containing creams are applied to the skin there is a burning feeling. But shortly afterwards there is pain relief. The relief is a result of interactions between the capsaicin molecule and nerves in the skin and muscles that transmit painful sensations. Capsaicin prevents these nerves from transmitting pain messages back to the brain.
Cross-cultural studies suggest that heart disease is less common in countries such as Thailand, where locals consume large amounts of cayenne pepper. Laboratory research suggests that cayenne acts as an antioxidant and reduces cholesterol levels (LDL), and plaque build up in arteries. Cayenne contains vitamin A, C, and E and other substances that help protect the body against harmful free radicals.
Cayenne was a traditional treatment for fevers, asthma, impaired circulation, sore throats, respiratory tract infections, digestive problems, constipation, and toothaches. More recently, a comparison of chili-eating habits between 103 peptic ulcer patients and 87 healthy individuals found that people who ate more chili peppers actually had a lower incidence of ulcers.