Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States with 600,000 people dying every year – that’s one in every four deaths. And as one of the top killers of Americans, heart attacks are no joke with 720,000 people suffering from a heart attack annually.
But what if there was something to stop a heart attack fast in its track? Studies have indicated that cayenne pepper is capable of doing just that.
The late, famed herbalist Dr. John Christopher, who was nicknamed “Dr. Cayenne” because of his constant recommendation of the healing powers of cayenne, has long advocated using the herb for cardiovascular health – even claiming that doses of cayenne could stop heart attacks in progress.
“In 35 years of practice, and working with the people and teaching, I have never on house calls lost one heart attack patient and the reason is, whenever I go in – if they are still breathing – I pour down them a cup of cayenne tea (a teaspoon of cayenne in a cup of hot water, and within minutes they are up and around).” Dr. Christopher once declared.
Now science has come up with proof that cayenne does have a remarkable ability to help the heart. According to emerging scientific research, capsaicin – the ingredient that gives heat to cayenne peppers – may have the ability to minimize the damage caused by heart attacks and strokes. The results of the promising study have reinforced the longstanding conviction of some natural healers that cayenne pepper, scientifically known as Capsicum anuum, is a “miracle” remedy that can stop heart attacks.
Research published in the journal Circulation concludes that a common, over-the-counter pain salve containing capsaicin rubbed on the skin during a heart attack could serve as a cardiac-protectant – reducing or even preventing damage to the heart. The researchers found an amazing 85 percent reduction in cardiac cell death when capsaicin was used. This is the most powerful cardioprotective effect ever recorded, according to Keith Jones, PhD, a researcher in the University of Cincinnati department of pharmacology and cell biophysics.
Dr. Jones and his research team applied capsaicin to specific skin locations in mice that caused reactions in the nervous system. Specifically, sensory nerves in the skin were triggered to activate what the scientists call cellular “pro-survival” pathways in the heart. The result? The heart muscle was protected from injury.
Many researchers and experts believe that the use of cayenne pepper in Mexican, Italian and Asian cuisines contributes to these regions’ lowered rates of heart disease. Like an assortment of other antioxidant-laden, carotenoid-rich natural fruit, vegetables and spices, cayenne pepper has impressive abilities to help lower LDL cholesterol and triglycerides. It also discourages platelet adhesion – the clumping together of platelets that causes blood clots and triggers strokes – and increases coronary vasodilation. In addition, its lignan glycosides give it strong antioxidant potential, helping to reduce damage from free radicals.
It is important to note, however, that conventionally-trained physicians warn that there is not enough evidence to justify cayenne’s use as an emergency treatment. And some experts say its use could lead to uncontrolled bleeding if the person is on a blood thinner, such as coumadin. In addition, the pain of ingesting an unaccustomed dose of hot pepper could cause adrenaline to be released, increasing heart rate while reducing blood flow to heart and brain and causing increased death of tissues.
Cayenne pepper is an herbal remedy used to treat circulatory disorders and heart disease, but it cannot take the place of professional medical treatment. Call for medical help immediately if you think you’re having a heart attack, and consult your doctor for advice before using cayenne to reduce the risk of future heart attacks.