Medicinal plants

Hot peppers - effects, recipes and cultivation

Hot peppers - effects, recipes and cultivation

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Peppers and chillies belong to the paprika family. Not only do they bring fire to the kitchen, they are also great for treating diseases and preventing them. They promote digestion, blood circulation and the flow of sweat.

  • Scientific name: Capsicum (Genus), Capsicum annuum (most commonly used species)
  • Common names: Paprika, chilli peppers, cayenne pepper, chilli peppers, chilli, common peppers, Turkish pepper, Mexican pepper, red pepper, pod pepper, Spanish pepper, beetberry, pocket pepper, Brazilian pepper
  • Family: Nightshade family (Solanaceae)
  • Plant parts used: fruit
  • Distribution: Originally Mexico and Central America, as a crop worldwide
  • Application areas:
    • Promote blood circulation
    • Relaxation of the muscles
    • Treating joint and muscle pain (especially pain in the shoulder and spine)
    • Indigestion
    • Flatulence
    • Loss of appetite


Pepperoni contains the bioactive substances

  • Capsaicin,
  • Dihydrocapsaicin,
  • Homocapsaicin,
  • Carotenoids,
  • Capsanthin,
  • Capsorubin,
  • Saponins
  • and vitamin C in fresh fruits.

Medical effects

More than 200 substances have been identified in hot peppers, some of which play an active role in gastrointestinal disorders, regulating intestinal secretions and warding off pathogenic microbes, as well as cancer prevention.

Hot peppers heat up the body, expand the blood vessels and promote blood circulation, which means that toxins and germs can be better removed. It has a stimulating and sweaty effect, cools in the heat and warms in the cold. The bioactive substances alleviate allergies and counteract certain viruses and bacteria. With viral respiratory infections, chilli acts as an expectorant.

Phenols in the leaves of Capsicum annuum showed significant antioxidant effects in studies. They limit free radicals when they take over and thus counteract oxidation processes in the body, which damage the cell membranes and disrupt the function of the cells.

The capsaicin in the pods stimulates saliva and gastric juices, thereby accelerating digestion and promoting intestinal movement. It also strengthens the gut's immune system. Pepperoni stimulates the metabolism and thus helps with weight loss. Capsaicin supports liver function and urine flow and by increasing blood flow, it prevents thrombosis.

Capsaicin for chronic pain

Capsaicin causes excitation of the neurons and a temporarily increased sensitivity of the skin. We perceive this as itching, scratching or burning. This is followed by a phase of desensitization, which persists with repeated use. This effect has been shown to be helpful for pain associated with diabetic nerve disorders such as osteoarthritis and psoriasis.

The effect, however, was significantly less when it came to reducing the pain of postherpetic neuralgia, such as occurs in the area of ​​shingles.

Hot peppers for the cardiovascular system

Peperoni, according to a study by the Medical Faculty of Mashhad (Iran), has positive effects on the metabolic syndrome and reduces the risk of cardiovascular diseases. However, more research is needed to better understand these benefits in humans.

Medical applications

Tinctures, plasters, extracts, ointments and creams with hot peppers are used to relieve painful muscle tension in the area of ​​the shoulders, arms and neck and to promote blood circulation in the affected area. When used externally, blood circulation is improved because capsaicin irritates the pain and heat receptors. The better blood circulation loosens tense muscles. Internally, hot peppers are mainly used as a spice. The ingredients first kill pathogenic germs in food and secondly in the digestive tract. This also applies to worms.

Pepperoni in folk medicine

Especially in Central American folk medicine, chilli is used as a remedy for indigestion and gastrointestinal disorders, for dehydration and to stimulate the circulation.

The ripe dried fruits are used against

  • Inflammation of the appendix,
  • Otitis media,
  • Mucous membrane infections in the mouth and throat
  • as well as catarrhs ​​of the urinary bladder and urinary tract.

Capsicum annuum - botany

The hot peppers (Capsicum annuum) are available in numerous varieties, the fruits of which have the shape of cones or balls, which can be a few centimeters long and round, but also ten centimeters long and pointed. The fruits of cone-like peppers have various colors from ivory and light yellow to orange-red to bright red and purple.

Hot peppers in the kitchen

Peppers and chilli are used in a variety of ways in the kitchen, as an antipasti or as an ingredient in dishes, to give the dish the right flavor.

Pick up hot peppers

Peppers are very easy to pickle and remain available for a long time. you need

  • 500 grams of hot peppers,
  • around 750 milliliters of vinegar,
  • 750 milliliters of water,
  • some shallots,
  • around six teaspoons of salt
  • and four tablespoons of sugar.

Add other spices to taste. Before pickling, you should pierce the peppers several times (for example with a knife or toothpick) so that the brew can penetrate well into the pulp. The water and sugar bring to a boil and then slowly pour in the vinegar. Season to taste with salt and spices and add the peppers and shallots. Then let everything cook on medium heat for about half an hour.

Then distribute the brew and peppers in preserving jars and close the lid of the hot jars. The pods should be covered by the broth. The filled glasses turn upside down for ten minutes and create a vacuum. The pods are pulled through four weeks after being inserted. If the jars are kept in a dark and cool place, the pickled peppers will last for several months.

Pepperoni sausage

The term Pepperoni does not mean chili or pepperoni in Anglo-Saxon, but denotes an Italian sausage that is seasoned with chili. Pizza Pepperoni is traditionally not topped with pepperoni, but with this sausage.

Grow pepperoni yourself

There are a few things you need to know to make chilli peppers from seeds: Chilies come from Mexico and do not tolerate frost, not even temperatures below five degrees. Ideally, a greenhouse in the garden or a sunny place on the balcony, which is protected from the wind - peppers cannot stand rain. The best thing is a wall facing south.

So that Capsicum annuum thrives well, the soil should be acidic to neutral. Moist garden soil with nutrients is well suited. The young plants need a support so that they do not kink in the wind.

Each plant needs its own tub on the balcony. It is important that excess water can drain well from the pots, because hot peppers do not tolerate waterlogging, but plenty of water. Every two weeks you should treat the plants to potassium, nitrogen and phosphorus or fertilize them with nettle slurry. When the hot peppers bloom, you should stop fertilizing.

Dry pepperoni

They harvest the pods in late summer and early autumn. The longer the ripeness, the more intense the taste and the stronger the sharpness. You can dry the fruits in the air or in the oven.

Air dry the pods by threading the stems onto a string with a sewing needle. When the thread is full, hang the chillies in a shady and warm place. They should not be damp and should not be directly exposed to the sun. A light breeze is ideal. Under these conditions, the hot peppers dry after about a month.

It is easier if you place the peppers on a baking sheet and let them dry for eight hours at 60 to 80 degrees. The oven door stays open about one to two centimeters so that moist air can escape. You can tell whether the chillies have dried through if they crackle and crumble easily when you touch the fruit. You can crush the dried chillies into flakes with a mortar or grind them into powder in a mill. (Dr. Utz Anhalt)

Author and source information

This text corresponds to the specifications of the medical literature, medical guidelines and current studies and has been checked by medical doctors.


  • Dave de Witt; Paul W. Bosland: The complete chile pepper book. 2009
  • Karl Hiller; Matthias F. Melzig: Lexicon of medicinal plants and drugs. Volume 1 A-K. Heidelberg. Berlin 1999
  • Woo-Ri Kim et al .: Antioxidant Activity of Phenolics in Leaves of Three Red Pepper (Capsicum Annuum) Cultivars, in: Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, 62/4: 850-859, January 2014, PubMed
  • Mary-Jon Ludy et al .: The Effects of Capsaicin and Capsiate on Energy Balance: Critical Review and Meta-analyzes of Studies in Humans, in: Chemical Senses, 37/2: 103-121, February 2012, PMC
  • L. Mason, R. Andrew Moore et al .: Systematic review of topical capsaicin for the treatment of chronic pain, in: The BMJ, 328 (7446): 991, April 2004, PMC
  • Setareh Sanati et al .: A review of the effects of Capsicum annuum L. and its constituent, capsaicin, in metabolic syndrome, in: Iranian Journal of Basic Medical Sciences, 21/5: 439-448, May 2018, Iranian Journal of Basic Medical sciences

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