Cayenne comes from the Capsicum genus that also includes bell peppers, chilies, paprikas and habaneros. This genus is from the Americas and has been cultivated for use for at least 7,000 years. Some of the early european explorers brought the seeds from South America back to Europe and they quickly spread around the world. The etymology of the word Capsicum is believed to have been derived from Greek, meaning “to bite”.
Cayenne is famous for reducing many types of pain. It works by effecting your nervous system. Substance P is a neurotransmitter that relays information and results in what we call pain. Capsaicin, a major constituent of cayenne peppers, blocks substance P and therefore reduces pain. When cayenne is used topically it can relieve many different types of pain, from diabetic neuropathy, shingles, migraine headaches, back aches, arthritis, menstrual cramps and bruises.