|Posted on February 12, 2019 at 2:45 PM||comments (0)|
What is Qigong and Why is it Essential?
Qigong (pronounced: chee-gun), which combines meditative and physically active elements, is the basic exercise system within Chinese medicine. Qigong exercises are designed to help you preserve your Jing, strengthen and balance the flow of Qi energy, and enlighten your Shen.
Its dynamic exercises and meditations have Yin and Yang aspects: The Yin is being it; the Yang is doing it. Yin qigong exercises are expressed through relaxed stretching, visualization, and breathing.
Yang qigong exercises are expressed in a more aerobic or dynamic way. They are particularly effective for supporting the immune system. In China, Qigong is used extensively for people with cancer.
Qigong’s physical and spiritual routines move Qi energy through the Twelve Primary Channels and Eight Extra Channels, balancing it, smoothing the flow, and strengthening it. Chinese medicine uses Qigong exercises to maintain health, prevent illness, and extend longevity because it is a powerful tool for maintaining and restoring harmony to the Organ Systems, Essential Substances, and Channels. Qigong is also used for non-medical purposes, such as for fighting and for pursuing enlightenment.
Anyone of any age or physical condition can do Qigong. You don’t have to be able to run a marathon or bench press a car to pursue healthfulness and enjoy the benefits.
When you design your qigong exercise / meditation practice, you will pick what suits your individual constitution. Some of us are born with one type of constitution; some with another. We each have inherited imbalances that we cannot control but with which we must work. That’s why for some people it is easier to achieve balance and strength than it is for others. But whatever your nature, Qigong can help you become the most balanced you can be.
Qigong is truly a system for a lifetime. That’s why so many people over age sixty in China practice Qigong and Tai Chi. The effects may be powerful, but the routines themselves are usually gentle. Even the dynamic exercises—some of which explode the Qi energy— use forcefulness in different ways than in the West. The following are some effects of Qigong exercises practiced regularly.
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The Benefits of Regular Practice
Qigong exercises help maintain health by creating a state of mental and physical calmness, which indicates that the Qi energy is balanced and harmonious. This allows the mind/body/spirit to function most efficiently, with the least amount of stress.
When you start practicing Qigong exercises, the primary goal is to concentrate on letting go, letting go, letting go. That’s because most imbalance comes from holding on to too much for too long. Most of us are familiar with physical strength of muscles, and when we think about exercising, we think in terms of tensing muscles. Qi energy is different. Qi strength is revealed by a smooth, calm, concentrated effort that is free of stress and does not pit one part of the body against another.
It’s harder to remedy an illness than to prevent it, and Qigong has powerful preventive effects. However, when disharmony becomes apparent, Qigong exercises also can play a crucial role in restoring harmony.
Qigong movement and postures are shaped by the principle of Yin/Yang: the complementary interrelationship of qualities such as fast and slow, hard and soft, Excess or Deficiency, and External and Internal. Qigong exercises use these contrasting and complementary qualities to restore harmony to the Essential Substances, Organ Systems, and Channels.
In China, the use of Qigong exercises for maintaining health and curing illness did not satisfy those Buddhists and Daoists who engaged in more rigorous self-discipline. They wanted to be able to amplify the power of Qi energy and make the internal Organ Systems even stronger. This arcane use of Qigong was confined mostly to monasteries and the techniques have not been much publicized. One of the most difficult and profoundly effective techniques is called Marrow Washing Qigong. Practitioners learn to master the intricate manipulation of Qi—infusing the Eight Extraordinary Channels with Qi, and then guiding the Qi energy through the Channels to the bone marrow to cleanse and energize it. The result, according to religious tradition, is that monks can extend their life span to 150 years or more. The Daoists have a saying, “One hundred and twenty years means dying young.”
Although few if any of us can devote our lives to the stern practices of the monks, the health benefits of Qigong exercises certainly do improve the quality of life of everyone who practices it.
Around 500 CE, in the Liang Dynasty, Qigong was adopted by various martial artists to increase stamina and power. For the most part, the breathing, concentration, and agility were assets to the warriors and improved their well-being.
Buddhist monks who use Qigong exercises in their pursuit for higher consciousness and enlightenment concentrate on the Qigong’s ability to influence their Shen. Mastering Marrow Washing allows the practitioner to gain so much control over the flow of Qi energy that he or she can direct it into the forehead and elevate consciousness. The rest of us can enjoy the influence of Qigong on our Shen (spiritual body/energy), but at a lower level.
Whatever reason you use Qigong, the practice should raise your Qi to a higher state if you increase concentration, practice controlled breathing, and execute the Qigong routines.
The Foundational Techniques
Here are the basic Qigong exercise techniques.
Concentration leads to and results from Qi energy awareness, breathing techniques, and Qigong exercises. It is a process of focusing in and letting go at the same time. Focusing does not mean that you wrinkle up your forehead and strain to pay attention.
Instead, through deep relaxation and expanding your consciousness, you are able to create a frame of mind that is large enough to encompass your entire mind – body – spirit’s functions, yet focused enough to allow outside distractions, worries, and everyday hassles to drift away.Â
This inward focus that expands outward to join you with the rhythms of the universe epitomizes Yin/Yang. Yin energy tends to be more expansive, and Yang energy more concentrated. You discover your Yin/Yang balance by treating Yin and Yang as ingredients in a recipe: Add a bit more Yin, toss in a dash of Yang to make the mixture suit your constitution or circumstances.
Some people need more or less Yin or Yang, depending upon the situation. ‘Extending the Qi exercise’ outlined below provides a clear demonstration of how you can practice establishing your balanced blend of Yin and Yang.
You will find that as you do qigong exercise and meditation you become more adept at this form of concentration, because it is the natural expression of the practice. As you learn to concentrate more effectively, you will find you have greater power to affect Qi energy through the various Qigong exercises in this chapter or through the use of other focused meditations and Tai Chi.
In the sixth century BCE, Lao Tzu first described breathing techniques as a way to stimulate Qi energy. From there, two types of Qigong breathing exercises evolved: Buddha’s Breath and Daoist’s Breath. Both methods infuse the body with Qi and help focus meditation.
Buddha’s Breath: When you inhale, extend your abdomen, filling it with air. When you exhale, contract you abdomen, expelling the air from the bottom of your lungs first and then pushing it up and out until your abdomen and chest are deflated. You may want to practice inhaling for a slow count of eight and exhaling for a count of sixteen. As you breathe in and out, imagine inviting your Qi energy to flow through the Channels. Use your mind to invite the Qi to flow; you want to guide the flow, not tug at it or push it.
Daoist’s Breath: The pattern is the opposite of above. When you breathe in, you contract your abdominal muscles. When you exhale, you relax the torso and lungs.
As you travel through these steps, remember that Qigong is a process of building awareness. However you are comfortable doing the routines is what’s right for you at that time.
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Warm-Up Exercises (10 to 15 min.)
Qigong Exercise One: Gentle Sway
1. For five minutes, move both of your arms from your shoulders in a gentle swinging motion. The motion itself is initiated from your waist: Twist from the waist as though your torso were a washcloth that you were wringing out. Don’t twist from the knees or you may harm them. Furthermore, twisting from the waist provides a massage to the internal organs and provides you the full benefits of the exercise.
2. To get started, move your arms side to side across your torso, and then back to front.
3. Keep your knees slightly bent. Let your hips sway. Allow your mind to clear. At first, focus on the release of unnecessary and unconscious stress. After several weeks, you may shift your focus so that you think only about the swaying of your arms and the motion of Qi energy.
This introduces you to the concept of being mindful of the present, much the same concept as found in Zen walking.
Qigong Exercise Two: The Bounce
In the beginning, try this for one to three minutes.
1. With your feet parallel and about shoulder’s width apart, bounce with your knees loose and your arms hanging at the sides like a wet noodle. They should feel empty and neutral. This is the zero position for your arms. When you are bouncing back and forth, your arms in zero should get a nice jiggling effect.
2. Keep your shoulders natural; neither pull them back or let them slump forward too much. When the zero position is used on the whole body, you should receive a feeling of deep relaxation and your internal organs and skin should hang down. This process brings awareness of internal tension so that you can do something to dispel it, if you choose.
The combination of exercises one and two gently massages and tonifies the Organ Systems, which helps promote longevity.
Qigong Exercise Three: Accordion
In this, you feel the Qi energy by using your hands like the bellow of an accordion or a bicycle pump.
1. Close your eyes halfway. Clear your mind and concentrate your attention on your palms.
2. Allow your breath to become slow, easy, without force. In a way, you are creating the very lightest trance.
3. Bring your hands together, palms touching and fingers pointing upward. The palm chakras, called Laogong, located in the center of the palms, should be touching. These chakras are areas where Qi can be felt emanating from the body.
4. Slowly move your hands, keeping the chakras aligned. When they are about 12 inches (30 cm) apart, slowly move them together using the least amount of physical effort possible.
5. You will be compressing the air between them like an accordion would.
6. Feel a warm or tingling sensation at the Laogong points on your palms.
7. Move your hands slowly back and forth, varying the range of the bellows. Repeat the accordion technique in different directions: horizontally, vertically, and diagonally.
This exercise cultivates Qi, builds awareness, and sensitizes yourself. When you feel Qi energy for the first time, it changes your mind-set.
Qigong Exercise Four: Making the Point
1. Using your index finger is a powerful way of directing Qi energy. If you are right-handed, use you right index finger; if you are left-handed, use your left index finger. Point it directly at the flat palm of your other hand. That hand should be perpendicular to the floor with your fingers pointing straight up.
2. Use your index finger like a paintbrush to swab back and forth across your palm.
3. Begin with your fingertip about 8 inches (20 cm) from your palm. Slowly move it closer and farther away, swabbing all the time.
You may feel a tickling sensation, a cooling, or a warming of your palm.
Qigong Exercise Five: Extending the Qi
If you have Deficient Qi, you should perform this exercise with your eyes half closed to cultivate and accumulate Qi energy.
1. If you have Stagnant Qi, the exercise may be done with your eyes fully open. You will inhale swiftly through your nostrils with your eyes open or half closed when you exhale.
Note: You should exercise caution when practicing Qi exercises at home—without a teacher nearby—because they are powerful, and Qi can leak out your eyes.
2. Once you can sense the Qi, exercise your intention (which is the mind/spirit part of the exercise) and use your mind to move your Qi out from your body, expanding the zone in which you are comfortable. You may allow the Qi to drift out on the exhalation and then hold it there as you inhale.
3. First move the Qi into an orbit 1 inch (2.5 cm) from your skin. In increments of 6 inches (15 cm), move it outward, aiming for 3 feet (91 cm), but find the point where you are comfortable with it. Then bring it back in until it returns close to your body.
This qigong exercise allows you to communicate with your Qi energy. By increasing the distance away from your body that you can feel Qi, you expand your area of comfort—your field of generosity—in the world around you. You will have less fear and greater abilities. By being able to bring your Qi halo in to skin level (or inside your skin) you may become more centered, calm, and self-assured. When you have learned to be comfortable expanding and contracting your Qi, you will feel stronger, healthier, and more in harmony internally and externally.
Qigong Exercise Six: Pumping the Qi
This is a tricky exercise that moves the Qi energy along the two connecting Extraordinary Channels: the Du Mai and Ren Mai. You may think of it as evolve, devolve, because your posture goes from a slumped, gorilla-like stance to an upright extended pose. It is adapted from the Wild Goose Qigong exercise routine.
1. The first position pushes the Qi down. As your hands push flat down, your spine and head straighten upward. Then as you allow the Qi to flow back upward, your hands rise, elbows bent and palms parallel to the floor. Your shoulders hunch. Repeat this six or seven times, inhaling as your hands come up and exhaling as your hands go down.
2. When you are comfortable with this Qigong exercise, you may combine it with a slow intentional walk forward: left knee bent and raised in an exaggerated stepping motion. When your knee comes up, your hands go down and back and your spine straightens; when your foot touches the ground, your hands come up and your back hunches. Place your feet very gently on the ground and allow each step to proceed in slow motion, at a tempo that soothes and relaxes. Remember to maintain a breathing pattern, too. Inhale as your hands come up and your shoulders hunch. Exhale slowly, expanding your chest as you straighten your back. If this feels awkward, don’t despair. Even in a classroom situation, it takes a while to catch on to what to do.
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Qigong Exercise Seven: Blending Qi
This exercise should help you become aware of various resonations of Qi energy and learn to blend them into a harmonious flow.
1. Stand with your feet a shoulder’s width apart, with your knees slightly bent. Allow your hands and arms to hang at your sides.
2. Shift your weight slightly to the balls of your feet. Simply be aware of the front side of your body. Concentrate on the Channels that pass along the front of your legs and torso, the top of your hands and arms, and your face.
3. After one minute, shift your weight to your heels. Become aware of the back of your body: the back of your head, your arms, your spine, and your legs. With practice, you may hold these postures for up to five minutes or longer.
4. You can also do this for the left and right sides of the body.
5. In each instance, you may want to become aware of each section of the body. For example, the side of your head, the side of your arm and torso, your outer hip, the side of your leg and ankle, and the length of your foot. This makes the exercise a meditation.
6. Now, shifting to a more Nei Dan form of Qigong exercise, repeat the first three steps, but the motion should not be detectable visually. Use your mind to shift your weight forward and backward, feeling your Qi flowing along the front and back of your body.
7. Next, try to feel your Qi flowing along your back and front simultaneously.
Students are often bewildered by the idea of feeling two sensations at the same time, but a useful analogy is to think of the color yellow and the color blue. When you blend those two colors together, you produce green. That green then becomes its own entity with its own wavelength. The same is true of blending the Qi energy from your front and from your back. The blend becomes another entity with its own resonation.
Advanced Qigong Breathing Exercise
Breathing can direct Qi energy through the body like the wind filling the sails of a ship. Qigong breathing exercises can invigorate or sedate, depending on how you use them.Â
On alternate days, practice the following routine, using Buddha’s Breath and Daoist’s Breath breathing techniques.
1. Sit on the floor with your legs crossed in lotus or cross-legged style. This is important so that Qi energy does not enter and become Stagnant in the lower body, but follows the breathing path through your torso and your head.
2. Inhale to a count of four to eight, depending on what you are comfortable with. For Buddha’s Breath, extend your belly, filling it up from the bottom. For Taoist’s Breath, inhale, contracting your abdomen, and exhale, letting your abdomen relax outward.
3. As you inhale, turn your attention to your nose. Guide the Qi energy downward from your nose toward the Dantian, 1 to 2 inches (2.5 to 5 cm) below the navel. Women should not concentrate on the Dantian during their periods. Concentrate on your solar plexus instead.
4. Exhale to a count of eight to sixteen and move the Qi energy down the torso, around your pelvic region, and up to your tailbone.
5. Inhale and move the Qi up the back to the top of your shoulders.
6. Exhale and move the Qi up the back of your head and back to your nose.
7. If you cannot feel the Qi clearly, patience and practice will make it more apparent.
8. Once you are comfortable with this Qigong practice, you may increase the pace by completing the cycle in one inhalation and one exhalation. On the inhalation, move Qi energy from your nose to your tailbone. On the exhalation, move Qi from your tailbone back to your nose.
This article on qigong exercises and qi energy is excerpted with permission from The New Chinese Medicine Handbook: An Innovative Guide to Integrating Eastern Wisdom with Western Practice for Modern Healing by Misha Ruth Cohen, published by Fair Winds Press.
About The Author
Misha Ruth Cohen, a Doctor of Oriental Medicine and Licensed Acupuncturist, has practiced traditional Asian medicine for the past 40 years. She is the Clinical Director of Chicken Soup Chinese Medicine, Executive Director of the Misha Ruth Cohen Education Foundation, and Research Specialist of Integrative Medicine at the University of California, all in San Francisco. She is on the board of directors of the Society for Integrative Oncology
Misha is internationally renowned as a senior teacher, mentor and leading expert in Chinese traditional medicine. She regularly trains Chinese medicine practitioners as well as medical doctors and practitioners in cancer support, gynecology, liver disease and HIV. She frequently presents at international AIDS, hepatitis and cancer symposiums, along with Chinese medicine and lay conferences.
She has collaborated with Western university and community-based research teams as a leading researcher in Chinese herbal medicine, acupressure and acupuncture in the areas of HIV/AIDS, HPV, ovarian cancer, endometriosis, and breast cancer.
Order her book at quartoknows.com.
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|Posted on May 25, 2018 at 3:05 AM||comments (0)|
Watch the video to see how Cellular Respiration affects the amount of energy you have!
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Cayenne Pepper Nutrition Facts
Cayenne is a shrub that originated in Central and South America and now grows in subtropical and tropical climates. Its hollow fruit grows into long pods that turn red, orange or yellow when they ripen. Cayenne chili peppers belong to the genus Capsicum and come from a similar cultivar of Capsicum annuum. Capsicum is an herb, and the fruit of the capsicum plant is used to make medicine.
The pepper also contains vitamin C, vitamin B6, vitamin E, potassium, manganese and flavonoids – which provides its powerful antioxidant properties.
Here are the cayenne pepper nutrition facts, listed in recommended daily values; 1 teaspoon of cayenne pepper contains:
1 gram of fat
2 milligrams sodium
3 grams carbohydrate
1 gram dietary fiber
1 gram sugar
1 gram protein
44 percent vitamin A
8 percent vitamin E
7 percent vitamin C
6 percent vitamin B6
5 percent vitamin K
5 percent manganese
3 percent potassium
Cayenne pepper nutrition - Dr. Axe
15 Cayenne Pepper Benefits
1. Helps Digestion
One of the major cayenne pepper benefits is the positive effect it has on the digestive system. Cayenne pepper helps produce saliva, which is important for excellent digestion as well as preventing bad breath. Consuming cayenne pepper stimulates our salivary glands, which is needed to begin the digestive process. (1)
Cayenne pepper also stimulates the flow of enzyme production, which is essential for our digestive system to work properly. It also stimulates gastric juices that aid the body’s ability to metabolize food and toxins. (2)
2. Relieves Migraine Pain
Researchers suggest that cayenne pepper, due to its spice, is able to stimulate a pain response in a different part of the body. Once this happens, the brain puts its attention on that new site and will no longer concentrate on the pain in the head, which causes the migraine.
After this initial pain reaction from the cayenne pepper, the nerve fibers have a depleted substance P, or pain chemical, and the sensation of pain is lessened. You are basically tricking your body to “feel pain” somewhere else, so that the head is no longer the main focus for pain chemicals. (3, 4)
3. Prevents Blood Clots
Blood clots are blockages in your arteries and blood vessels that limit blood flow through your circulatory system. Cayenne encourages fibrinolytic activity and helps prevent blood clots. This is also the reason why cayenne pepper is effective in preventing heart attacks. The capsaicin in cayenne pepper helps to clear away artery-narrowing lipid deposits, and dilates arteries and blood vessels to clear away clots. (5, 6)
4. Provides Detox Support
Cayenne pepper benefits include its ability to stimulate circulation and eliminate acidity. Cayenne pepper restores the circulatory system by opening the capillaries and regulating blood sugar; it also helps the digestive system that moves bacteria and toxins out of the body. Cayenne pepper also increases body temperature and boosts your metabolism. (7,
5. Relieves Joint and Nerve Pain
Cayenne power has very powerful pain-relieving properties when applied to the skin. It reduces the amount of substance P, a chemical that carries pain messages to the brain. When there is less substance P, the pain messages no longer reach the brain and you feel relief.
Studies have found that cayenne pepper relieves pain after surgery, such as a mastectomy or an amputation. It also alleviates pain from nerve damage in the feet or legs from diabetes, lower back injuries, osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis, as well as fibromyalgia symptoms like joint or muscle pain. (9)
6. Supports Weight Loss
Studies have found that consuming cayenne pepper for breakfast creates less appetite, so people eat less calories during the day. It also burns excess fat because it’s a metabolic booster. As one of the key anti-inflammatory foods, cayenne pepper benefits also include weight loss. Cayenne pepper has the power to soothe inflammation and bloating that comes from allergies, food sensitivities and infections. (2,
7. Works as Anti-Irritant
Cayenne pepper benefits include its anti-irritant properties, making it effective in easing ulcers, upset stomachs, cough and even potentially cure diarrhea. The common belief is that cayenne pepper, when consumed in excessive amounts, leads to gastric ulcers because of its irritant and acid-secreting nature. People with ulcers are actually advised to limit or avoid using cayenne pepper; however, investigations carried out in recent years have revealed that chili, or its active principle “capsaicin,” is not the cause for the formation of ulcer symptoms but a benefactor.
Studies have found that cayenne pepper does not stimulate, but inhibits acid secretion, stimulates alkali and mucus secretions and particularly gastric mucosal blood flow, which helps in the prevention and healing of ulcers. (9)
15 cayenne pepper benefits - Dr. Axe
8. Treats Psoriasis
Psoriasis occurs when skin cells replicate too quickly, and it results in swollen patches under the skin covered with whitish scales on top. The scaly patches are areas of inflammation and excessive skin production.
Two trials showed that 0.025 percent capsaicin (cayenne pepper) cream used topically is effective in treating psoriasis. The first study showed a significant decrease in scaling and redness during a six-week period in 44 patients with moderate and severe psoriasis. The second was a double-blind study of 197 patients; psoriasis was treated with the capsaicin cream four times daily for six weeks, with a significant decrease in scaling, thickness, redness and itching. (10)
9. Boosts Metabolism
Cayenne pepper benefits also include its ability to regulate your metabolism. Cayenne pepper has been found to effectively suppress hunger and normalize glucose levels. It keeps blood pressure levels normalized, and helps the body lower LDL cholesterol and triglycerides.
10. Fights Cold and Flu
Cayenne pepper benefits include being full of beta carotene and antioxidants that support your immune system. It aids in breaking up and moving congested mucus, and once this nasty mucus leaves the body, the symptoms of the flu or cold will diminish. Besides helping you beat a cold or flu, cayenne pepper also raises your body temperature, which makes you sweat and increases the activity of your immune system. As a vitamin C food in cayenne pepper will also help you to kick that nasty cold.
11. Source of Vitamin A
Vitamin A plays a critical role in maintaining healthy vision, neurological function and healthy skin; it is an antioxidant that reduces inflammation by fighting free radicals. Studies have repeatedly shown that antioxidants like vitamin A are vital to good health and longevity; they benefit eye health, boost immunity and foster cell growth.
Lucky for us, cayenne pepper is a great source of vitamin A; in fact, with just two teaspoons of cayenne pepper, you are getting your fill of vitamin A for the day!
12. Contains Vitamin E
Vitamin E benefits include helping many organs in the body function properly and is extremely useful in naturally slowing the aging process. This important and beneficial vitamin has the power to balance cholesterol, fight free radicals, repair damaged skin, balance hormones, repair damaged skin and hair, improve vision and increase energy levels … and cayenne pepper is an important provider of vitamin E.
13. Prevents Allergies
Because cayenne is an anti-inflammatory agent, it has the power to prevent allergies and the symptoms related to allergies. A food allergy, for example, is a measurable response to consuming a specific food. Food allergies, or intolerances, can be caused by a condition known as leaky gut (intestinal permeability), when proteins and food particles pass through the gut and cause systemic body inflammation.
Leaky gut is like having the gates broken from your intestines to your bloodstream so that toxins, microbes and undigested food particles can now get through. (Take my leaky gut test if you want to know if you have it.) When this happens, it causes inflammation throughout your body, leading to a variety of diseases.
14. Possible Anti-Cancer Agent
Studies suggest that capsaicin may have a role as a natural remedy for cancer, including in the management of prostate cancer. One study conducted at University of California at Los Angeles School of Medicine found that this important ingredient in cayenne pepper is able to inhibit the growth of cancer cells and prevent the activation of new dangerous formations. (11)
There is also data from California’s Loma Linda University that suggests that cayenne pepper benefits include being effective in helping prevent lung cancer in smokers. Cayenne pepper’s high amounts of capsaicin serves as a substance that can stop the formation of tobacco induced tumors in the lung. Similar effects have also been found in liver tumors when they were exposed to cayenne pepper.
15. Anti-Fungal Properties
The final cayenne pepper benefit is its ability to kill fungus and prevent the formation of fungal pathogens. Cayenne pepper was investigated to determine its in vitro antifungal activity, and the results found that it was active against 16 different fungal strains, including Candida.
Candida is a fungus that aids with nutrient absorption and digestion, when in proper levels in the body. When it overproduces however, the typical candida symptoms may appear; this includes hormone imbalance, joint pain, digestive problems and a weak immune system. (12)
History & Interesting Facts About Cayenne Pepper
The chili originated in Central and South America. It’s named after the capital city of the French Guiana, Cayenne. From seeds found on the floors of caves that were ancient human dwellings and from ancient fossil feces, scientists have found that people were eating peppers as early as 7000 B.C.
Cayenne is one of the main foods of the Hunzas in Asia, along with apricots and their pits, millet, and other simple foods. These people live to over a hundred years of age, which some say is because of their natural immune-boosting and anti-inflammatory foods that they consume daily. Cayenne peppers were even growing in the Hawaiian Islands in as early as 1897; these smaller and more pungent fruits were called “Hawaiian Chili Peppers.”
Today, you can find cayenne pepper all over the world, and it’s beginning to get a reputation for its health benefits. An interesting and popular detox and weight loss regime recently has been the cayenne pepper diet, which is a “cleanse” that flushes toxins from the body. The diet consists of a lemon and cayenne drink that is consumed about six times a day, and this lasts for about 10 days. The drink recipe calls for two tablespoons of lemon or lime juice, two tablespoons of real maple syrup, a pinch of cayenne pepper and eight ounces of water.
How to Use/Cook Cayenne Pepper
Cayenne peppers are available year around in the markets; you can find them in fresh, dried or powdered form. Because powdered cayenne pepper is sometimes a mix a poorer quality herbs, it’s best to buy cayenne peppers fresh; however, if you are using dried or powered pepper, the health benefits are still awesome.
In the store, look for raw, fresh chilies that have a brilliant red color and a healthy stem. Make sure there aren’t any spots, mold or spoiled tips. The pepper should look wholesome and firm. Once at home, store your peppers inside the refrigerator in a plastic bag; they will stay fresh for about a week.
Dry peppers are also available at the supermarket, especially health food stores. Dry peppers can be stored using airtight containers in a cool and dark place. Dried cayenne peppers can be milled to powder using a hand mill, or you can buy dry powder instead. Go for powders that are authentic and branded products — there are even organic options.
Fresh cayenne chili peppers can be used to make spicy drinks, sauce, chutney or can even be used for pickling. Make sure you wash them well first — you want to use any dirt, sand or fungicides.
Dried or powdered cayenne pepper is added to meals for a spicy (and healthy) kick. It can be added to meat, pasta, eggs, nuts and veggies — there are a ton of options. Start with a 1/2 teaspoon or so, and then work your way up; remember that it adds heat and can be too much for people who are spice-sensitive.
If you want a quick fix that will help you to experience these amazing cayenne pepper benefits, an easy way to get it in your body is by mixing it in a drink with water and lemon, which is similar to the drink consumed during the cayenne pepper diet, so it will give you the same detoxifying results.
There are also creams that contain capsaicin, the main component of cayenne pepper, that can be found in most stores. These creams are used to treat skin infections, sore muscles and tension. By rubbing a small amount of cream on the affected area, you will feel the pain and irritation subside.
If you are using a cream, make sure to read the directions carefully so that you don’t use too much. Also, be sure to wash your hands after applying capsaicin cream because it can cause a burning sensation on your hands; try washing with vinegar and water for the best results.