Thursday, March 25, 2010

The Blurring of Food and Medicine



The observant reader will recognize the substance pictured on my wife's finger as cayenne pepper. What you might not realize is that it's packed into a wound, being used to stop the bleeding.

Yes, you can use cayenne pepper instead of a Band-Aid. Just sprinkle it on and watch as it soaks up the blood and helps create a clot. You'd think it would sting, wouldn't you? It doesn't.

Cayenne is also said to have certain antiseptic properties, which is perhaps another reason why it's used on both food and fingers. Which is to say that this isn't my discovery: people have been using cayenne medicinally since well before the first CVS appeared (I read about it in the Debra's Natural Gourmet newsletter).

In fact, like pretty much everything we ate until this past century (sorry, gummy Coke bottles), cayenne and other chiles have been around forever and once played a more vital role in human existence than being just another ingredient in Krazy Jane's Mixed Up Pepper. Food and medicine were once viewed as not entirely separate realms, which makes the notion of "health food" seem even more goofy.

Precisely what the scope of cayenne's medicinal powers are I leave to someone better qualified (or with more time to generate free information), but a quick google search suggests that it's good for everything from dyspepsia to stopping heart attacks.

I can't vouch for that, but I do know this: if you cut your finger, you can reach for the spice rack instead of the medicine cabinet. One is plastic, made who knows where out of who knows what and will probably never decompose. The other is a pepper.

Now there's a health care overhaul I hope we can all agree on.

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16 comments:

Michelle said...

Turmeric is good for sinus congestion. Mix some into hot water and drink as a tisane. Unfortunately it smells better than it tastes.

Jocelyn M. Berger said...

Like! Not only because of the inherent truth, but also because of the visual by your lovely wife. :-)

Aariq said...

http://www.informationisbeautiful.net/play/snake-oil-supplements/

Doesn't have cayenne pepper on it, but still an interesting graphic. Turmeric is on there as one that is promising, but with few studies.

Spice Rack said...

Herbs and spices found in your spice rack are really nutritious. It gives you a healthy body. If you notice oriental dishes, it has full of flavors because of the herbs and spices, it is also said that it has health benefits that can prevent heart diseases and more.

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