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Cayenne – A Medicinal Profile

red chilli peppers isolated on white

Latin name: Capsicum annuum           Family: Solanaceae (nightshade)


Cayenne is one of my favourite herbs, mostly because of its versatility.  I can be used in almost any herbal tincture formulation as a warming catalyst, but its medicine is best felt in the cardiovascular and respiratory systems.

Now I could go on and on about the amazing healing properties of cayenne tincture, but for today’s purposes I will talk about using cayenne in a salve (topical preparation).

Cayenne is very well known for its ability to reduce many types of pain. One of the main constituents of Capsicum, called Capsaicin works on the nervous system by blocking one of the neurotransmitters that is responsible for relaying pain information to our brain.


When used topically it can be used to reduce many kinds of pain including:

  • Arthritis
  • Back ache
    • Including menstrual cramp pain
  • Bruises
  • Carpel Tunnel and other repetitive strain injuries
  • Diabetic neuropathy
    • This small batch of salve is actually for my grandmother who has Type II diabetes
  • Gout
  • Migraine and other types of headaches
  • Rheumatisim
  • Shingles
  • Sprains and strains
  • Varicose veins

How to Make Cayenne Salve



  • 4  tbsp of cayenne pepper
  • 1 cup of olive oil
  • 30 grams of beeswax
  • Double boiler
  • Cheesecloth, coffee filter or pantyhose (if you’re in a pinch)



  • The first step is to infuse the olive oil with your cayenne pepper over a double boiler
    • Add the pepper first and then slowly pour your olive oil over the cayenne while stirring
    • I use a chopstick to stir but you can really use anything you want


  • Heat the mixture until it’s warm and then keep it simmering for at least 40 minutes
    • I simmered mine for an hour
  • Once infused you will want to strain out your cayenne with cheesecloth or a coffee filter (pantyhose will do a in a pinch as well… clean ones please ;))
  • Using the same double boiler heat up your beeswax and once it’s melted pour the Cayenne infused olive oil into  the beeswax
  • Once everything is thoroughly combined and melted together
    • If you choose to you can add some essential oils at this point
  • Immediately pour into jars or tins
  • Let it cool and then label your jar


Using Your Salve

This salve can be used for any of the above conditions.  I do recommend a test patch on the inner elbow just to make sure you aren’t sensitive to the salve.  Apply directly to the affected area.  It is best used on closed skin and will sting if applied to an open wound.

If you are hoping to reduce chronic pain ensure you use it daily. It make take a few weeks to see noticeable results.

PLEASE wash your hands after applying as it will burn your eyes and mucus membranes.