Chili is not just a spicy food but an excellent medicine too
Chili versus chocolate
I am excited to write about chili in this blog. Chili is my ultimate favorite herb and I am very obsessed with it. Like how chocolate causes the release of serotonin and dopamine for the feel-good mood, so does the chili for some people. Eating chili has a similar happy brain effect like chocolate. It makes people happy.
Many people look at chilies only as a food, but chili is an herb too, with a wonderful medicinal value. Chili is used in a variety of dishes in countries like Indonesia, Malaysia, Mexico, Thailand and Africa. Chilies can appear in many colors such as red, yellow and green. The fiery heat or spiciness of chili is measure in Scoville heat unit (SHU). Red chili can have a SHU around 30,000 to 50,000 while the Carolina reaper, the deadliest chili pepper can measure up to 2,200,000.
Can you imagine this? I once tried a very tiny portion of Carolina reaper and it knocked me to my knees. It caused my stomach to cramp and I was unable to move for few minutes. So be careful if you ever want to try the deadliest Carolina reaper. Anyway, the red chili is something I can tolerate in a much bigger quantity and sometimes without any limitation, that’s how I am crazy for chilies.
Archaeologist found chili dating 2500 BC
Scientists belief, chilies were eaten by people since 6000 years ago. They assume that chilies must have been growing in the wild before human started to cultivate this plant. In South America, chilies were recovered at the archaeological site of Huaca Prieta and have been dated at 2500 BC.
The archaeological research in Tehuacán Valley in Mexico, revealed that chilies were cultivated during the Coxcatlan era, around 4000 BC (Johnson, ed.: 150). With this discoveries, chilies have taken place among one of the oldest spices in the world.
Once upon a time, chili was a weapon
According to historians, South American warriors would burn chili peppers to induce a smoke to ward off the invading Spanish colonists. In Vietnam, the Buddhist monks also have used chili powder in spraying guns to ward off their enemies. Not bad, an interesting way to ward off enemies!
Let chili fight your arthritis
Chili contains a compound called capsaicin which gives the hot taste. The more capsaicin a chili contain, the hotter the chili is. Capsaicin is the chemical compound that is beneficial for pain relief. Oil or salve made from capsaicin or chili have been found to relieve the pain of arthritis when applied externally and taken internally in the form of oil.
Capsaicin triggers the release of endorphins in the brain, which has the pain relieving effect similar to that of morphine - an alkaloid of opium, a drug that is highly addictive. Another beauty of capsaicin is, it is able to provide an effective pain relief without any numbing or sedative effects usually associated with synthetic anesthetics or painkillers.
Researchers at Harvard University believe, that capsaicin can be used to target pain receptors without affecting nerve cells and those side effects that are caused by pain relieving drugs.
Strengthens artery, veins & capillaries
Chili is a very useful herb for our circulatory system. Chili as a stimulant herb, is able to strengthen our arteries, veins, and capillaries to regain elasticity to allow a proper blood movement. When our circulatory vessels like arteries and veins becomes sticky and thickened due to mucus diet (a diet that is allergenic & causes mucus production) and plaque (accumulation of fat, cholesterol & calcium), the blood cannot flow freely.
This would cause high blood pressure, poor oxygen and nutrient supply for all the cells in our body. Chili’s pungent nature can cut out the sticky mucus in the circulatory system for a smooth blood flow. Besides, many studies have shown, capsaicin (the chemical compound in chili), could decrease bad cholesterol in the blood and this further adds to the benefit of healthy artery and blood flow.
Excellent to prevent heart attack
The well known Herbalist, Dr. John Christopher has mentioned in his lectures repeatedly the importance of chili and how chili has become a great tool for saving many of his heart patients. Science has also validated that the long term use of chili is beneficial for heart health. A study has demonstrated that a regular consumption of chili has supported the heart against oxidation.
Oxidation is one of the biggest enemy for our heart. Stress is mostly responsible for such oxidation and causes the build up of hardened plaque on the arterial wall. Oxidation causes inflammation in the arteries. The body uses cholesterol to patch the damages in arterial wall. The more damage is, the more the patching work will take place, thus narrowing the diameter of the artery. This is how an heart attack will develop.
When the artery carrying oxygen to the heart muscle is narrowed and blocked, the heart wouldn't get enough oxygen and this will cause an heart attack. Dr. John Christopher has saved many of his patients by giving them a cup of chili tea to prevent the heart attack from getting worse. The results were amazing, each one of them felt so relieved from drinking the chili tea.
This method worked, because capsaicin in chili helps to dilated the blocked artery and allow for more blood to pass through into the heart for supplying the crucial oxygen. Remember, an heart attack simply means, the blood flow to the heart is blocked either partially or completely. Without the blood flow, there is no oxygen too. Without oxygen, the heart muscle will die and this will induce an heart attack.
Chili cast coldness in hands and feet away
Chili is a wonderful spice for people who often feel cold or tend to have cold hands and feet and as well for those who have a poor & stagnated digestion. Chili as a stimulant and warming herb, helps to dispel coldness in the body. Chili breaks stagnation and enhances blood circulation in the body and brings more warmth to the surface.
Chili also helps to fire up the dull digestion by increasing blood circulation in the stomach and activating the cold and weakened nerves in the gut. The feeling of hot when you eat chili is a sign of a nerve mechanism activated by capsaicin. So eating chili frequently helps to warm up your body and prevent weak digestion.
Consideration before taking chili
Chili is a warming and drying herb. Therefore people who have a very dry and hot body constitution, should not be consuming chili excessively. Chili seeds are laxative, meaning it can cause diarrhea in people with weak stomach.
Therefore, such people should remove the seeds before cooking or eating the chili. Additionally, the highest capsaicin is normally found in the seeds of chili, therefore if you want to reduce the hotness, you can remove the seeds before cooking the chilies.
How to consume chili?
In order to harvest the health benefits mentioned above, you need to take chili continuously to certain period of time. It all about consistency in taking any herbs for seeing a good result. But it doesn't mean you should take it forever too. Its all about balance. So for those who wants to improve blood circulation, improve stagnated digestion & prevent heart attack, you can take chili in the form of tea.
If you can't tolerate chili at first, start with a very small amount, then slowly increase the amount. But for those who already love eating chili, you can incorporate chilies in your daily meal instead of taking in the form of tea.
Look here for chili recipe.
Mix 1/4 tsp of chili powder, 1 tbs of lemon juice & 1 tsp of honey in a cup, pour warm water, mix well and drink the tea 3 times before your meal.