All food is medicine and there is only a problem when foods are used in extreme amounts. The best diet is one which contains many colours, varieties and textures to provide the whole spectrum of essential life giving nutrients, vitamins, minerals and proteins. I suggest to continue using chilli/ cayenne in your cooking and remember that many foods if used unappropriately can cause damage to the body. The following statement I believe sums it up perfectly "small amounts stimulate, medium amounts inhibit and large amounts kill".
The following are some studies which investigates the use of Cayenne Pepper:
- Park, J. S., et al. Capsaicin protects against ethanol-induced oxidative injury in the gastric mucosa of rats. Life Sci. 67(25):3087-3093, 2000. Department of Food Science and Nutrition, University of Ulsan, Korea.
The authors investigated the protective effects of capsaicin on gastric mucosal oxidative damage induced by ethanol. Sprague Dawley rats intragastrically received 0.5-10 mg/kg, BW capsaicin or vehicle; 30 min later gastric lesions were induced by intragastric administration of absolute ethanol. Lipid peroxidation was estimated by measuring thiobarbituric acid reactive substances in gastric mucosa. Myeloperoxidase activity, a marker enzyme of polymorphonuclear leukocytes for tissue inflammation, was also measured in the gastric mucosa. The expression level of cyclooxygenase-2, which increases in inflammatory region, was determined by Western blot analysis. Capsaicin significantly suppressed gastric haemorrhagic erosions induced by ethanol. Capsaicin inhibited lipid peroxidation and myeloperoxidase activity in ethanol-induced gastric mucosal lesion in a dose-dependent manner. Capsaicin also inhibited the expression of cyclooxygenase-2 in the gastric mucosal lesion. The gastroprotective activity of capsaicin on the ethanol-induced oxidative damage may be important for chemoprevention.
- Yeoh, K. G. et al. Chili protects against aspirin-induced gastroduodenal mucosal injury in humans. Digestive Disease and Sciences. 40(3):580-583, 1995.
Capsaicin, the pungent ingredient of chili, has a gastroprotective effect against experimental gastric mucosal injury in animals. Such an effect has not, however, been documented in humans to date. Eighteen healthy volunteers with normal index endoscopies underwent two studies four weeks apart. Each subject took 20 g chili orally with 200 ml water in one study and 200 ml water in another study. In each case this was followed half an hour later by 600 mg aspirin BP with 200 ml water. Endoscopy was repeated 6 hr later. Gastroduodenal mucosal damage was assessed by a previously validated scoring system. The median gastric injury score after chili was 1.5 compared to 4 in the control group, demonstrating a gastroprotective effect of chili in human subjects.