In the village of Pueblo, CO, hot peppers mingle with other southwest crops at the Chile Frijoles Festival. Peppers that have been dried retain some of their medicinal qualities.

I just returned from Pueblo, CO, where everyone was eating the hot fruit in every imaginable manner at the Chile & Frijoles Festival. It reminded me of all the health and medicinal benefits packed into those tiny pod flavors.

You can eat them, breathe them in, or apply them to your skin as a salve. You may consume them raw, freeze them, dry them and chop them up, or hang them on the wall. Even after being dried, they will retain many of their medicinal properties.

In fact, maybe the old adage should be altered to “a pepper a day keeps the doctor away.” Here are my top ten medical applications for hot peppers.

If you eat them, they fight:

1. Inflammation is a beneficial response to injury. And that’s wonderful. We’ve known for a long time that inflammation causes discomfort, but only in the last few years have we linked it to heart attacks.

2. Colds are the most frequent illness among children. Peppers’ many vitamins and antioxidants help to support the immune system.

3. Scurvy affects the entire body, causing anemia and bleeding beneath the skin as well as unpleasant gum problems. No one gets scurvy anymore, but if you live in an area where citrus fruit is no longer available, taking a single fresh pepper each day may provide more than enough vitamin C. Unfortunately, dried peppers don’t keep much.

4. Vitamin A insufficiency is common in economically developing countries. It causes night blindness and inhibits your ability to fight infections. Pepper contains a lot of vitamin A and, unlike vitamin C, it retains its dried form.

The Chile & Frijoles Festival is hosting a roast of these hot peppers. Vitamins A and C are present in peppers.

5. Peppers have a lot of antioxidants. Peppers’ capsaicin—a powerful antioxidant and the chemical that makes them spicy—has been found to inhibit cancer cell development in the colon and prostate, as well as pancreatic cancer cells in rats. Lycopene, another antioxidant present in peppers, has been linked to bladder and cervical cancer prevention.

6. Hot peppers may help you lose weight because they boost your metabolism for about 20 minutes after eating.

It fights by sniffing the extremely diluted capsaicin in nasal spray form.

7. It’s typical for dogs to have runny or clogged noses, and it might help with nasal congestion or dripping from a cold or allergies.

8. Headaches. One whiff of the spray up the nostril on the same side as a migraine has been reported to alleviate the discomfort.

Rub on the very diluted form to fight:

9. Nerve pains caused by diseases such as postherpetic neuralgia, which persists in some people long after a shingles attack, or diabetic neuropathy’s tingling or pain in the feet. You’ll have to utilize it for a few days since it depletes nerves’ pain-causing chemicals, and this takes time.

10. Psoriasis. Just don’t use it on cracked skin.

You don’t have to use as much as you think. You should avoid overdoing it, just as with everything else. The substance is extremely dangerous and must be handled with care, or you may buy it commercially.

The cream must be diluted as well, and it should not be applied to raw or broken skin. Some people are more sensitive to it than others.

Have you ever used hot peppers for anything like this? Do you have any cream- or spray-making recipes, or do you just enjoy the stuff plain?

Photo by Aliona Gumeniuk/Unsplash

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