Capsicum is a broad term that refers to the family of peppers. Included is the red, green and yellow variety, called garden peppers, as well as smaller hot peppers. The secret behind the healing benefits of capsicum lies in its role as a catalyst herb. Furthermore, Capsicum helps in curing many diseases that include lowering blood pressure, reducing cholesterol and warding off strokes and heart attacks, speeding up metabolism, treating colds and fevers, preventing cancer and pain control. Capsaicin is a flavorless, odorless chemical concentrated in the veins of chilles and peppers.

All capsicums have five-petaled flowers that develop into hollow pod-like fruits containing many flat seeds. The hot varieties contain a number of alkaloids, chief among them capsaicin. That burning substance is found only in the fruit and seeds, and is concentrated in the membrane-like placenta that supports the seeds

Geography and History

All capsicums originated in the Bolivian Andes, and were among the earliest domesticated plants in the region. Native Americans brought capsicums through Central America, to Mexico, and as far north as the American southwest. After European explorers arrived, in the 15th through 16th centuries, they spread throughout the world. Eventually, thousands of varieties were developed, many of which thrive even in the northern range of the temperate zone


• As a catalyst, capsicum is used in combination with other herbs to increase effectiveness and absorption. When introduced into the body, it boosts the healing power of these herbs.


• Loaded with vitamins A and C, capsicum peppers are excellent antioxidants. Antioxidants inhibit free radical damage to cells, blood vessels and nerves.

• By increasing blood flow, capsicum more effectively delivers nutrients to areas of the body in need of healing. The FDA approved topical use of capsaicin, a compound in capsicum, as a pain reliever. It works by interfering with the transmission of pain from the skin's surface.


• While all of the pepper groups are grown for food, members of the Grossum group are produced most. Capsicum annuum can be quite hot, like jalapeños. Capsicum grossum varieties, such as bell peppers, contain virtually no capsaicin, and are completely devoid of heat. However, these two species easily hybridize, which can lead to some nasty surprises.

Etymology of "pepper"

The name "pepper," for members of the Capsicum genus is an accident of history. Christopher Columbus discovered the New World, while searching for a more direct route to India, because he wanted to find a cheaper way to obtain pepper (piper negrum). Thinking he had succeeded, he referred to the people he met as "Indians" and their favorite spice, "axi," he called "pepper." The two kinds of "pepper" are not related, botanically--the only characteristic they share is their hotness.

Etymology of "capsicum"

"Capsicum," is also a British term for the vegetable that Americans call "green pepper" or "bell pepper." In some old cookbooks, the same vegetable appears as "mango," which only adds to the confusion.

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