If you’ve been following the latest health trends, then you know that cayenne pepper tea is all the rage. Tea brewed with cayenne pepper and other ingredients has been credited with everything from weight loss and pain relief to relieving upset stomachs. But are these claims true?
Read on to learn more about why cayenne pepper tea works, the best ways to maximize the results, and whether it’s a good idea to drink cayenne pepper tea to help you lose a few pounds.
What is Capsaicin?
Capsaicin is the compound in peppers that adds “heat” to spicy foods, including hot sauces and cayenne pepper. As an extract, it offers several potential medicinal benefits.
- Capsaicin is an active component of chili peppers, which, like bell peppers, belong to the nightshade family. Their scientific genus is Capsicum.1,2
- Spiciness can be measured in heat units that range from 0 to 16 million. A jalapeno has between 5,000 and 35,000 heat units, while tabasco peppers clock in at upwards of 250,000.3
- Cayenne pepper falls toward the low-end of the scale, at 30,000 to 50,000.4
- Studies suggest capsaicin may help ease joint pain and other forms of chronic pain.5-7
- Consuming capsaicin may help to ease chronic cough.8
- Lotions that contain capsaicin may help reduce skin itching and rash.9
- Capsaicin can help calm an upset stomach and ease certain kinds of stomach pain.10
As you can see, the many benefits of cayenne pepper, and the capsaicin it contains are well-documented.
It’s a handy home remedy. Plus, cayenne pepper is inexpensive, and it’s something you may be able to find right in your spice cabinet.
Note: Be extremely careful when handling cayenne pepper. It can irritate your skin, or cause pain if you inhale it or rub your eyes with pepper on your hands. If you experience irritation from contact with red pepper, wash your skin with warm water or vegetable oil.11
How Does Capsaicin Work?
If you’re hoping to speed up your metabolism or slim down, foods that contain red pepper, such as cayenne pepper tea, are a great, natural way to help manage your weight.
- Metabolism — how your body burns the calories you consume for energy — is a major player when it comes to weight loss. Capsaicin has been shown to speed up your metabolism, meaning you burn more calories than you otherwise would.12
- Capsaicin can also impact how much you eat. Eating or drinking spicy foods, including cayenne pepper tea, might help curb your appetite.13
- Capsaicin encourages your body to produce more saliva and acids to break down food. It can also help blood vessels increase blood flow to the stomach to aid in digestion and reduce the risk of ulcers.14
- Not a fan of spicy food? Ironically, people who don’t like spicy food may enjoy greater weight-loss benefits of cayenne pepper. That’s because if you like your food with a kick, you might have a higher tolerance to capsaicin, and you’ll find it’s less effective.15
If you’re looking to shed a few pounds before your next pool party, or if you want to make an overall improvement to your health, capsaicin is a natural weight-loss ingredient to consider adding to your diet.
And if you’re nervous about eating spicy food, the silver lining from drinking cayenne pepper tea is that you might see dramatic weight-loss benefits. Just be prepared to drink lots of water to combat the spiciness!
How to Take Cayenne Pepper
If you’re already a big fan of spicy food, then you’re probably already used to shaking a bit of cayenne pepper onto the foods you eat. However, there are other ways to reap the benefits of cayenne pepper without lighting your taste buds on fire.
- Cayenne pepper has a lot of benefits, but as you’ve just learned, you can build up a tolerance to it. That’s why diets that include cayenne pepper to lose weight are most effective when they’re short-term. That way, your body won’t develop a tolerance to cayenne pepper and its effects.16
- If you don’t think you can handle the spice, you can also take capsaicin supplements and still enjoy the benefits of cayenne pepper. Supplements are also a great way to avoid burning your skin when handling capsaicin.17
- How will your appetite change if you consume cayenne pepper to maximize its healthy properties? You may feel fuller and have less appetite, eating as little as 75 percent of your usual caloric intake.18
- Because cayenne pepper is so spicy, it can cause stomach pain if you eat too much at once. Often, a pinch of cayenne is enough. Again, cayenne pepper tea is a good way to enjoy the benefits of cayenne without going overboard.19
- Cayenne pepper can also interact with certain medications, so speak to your doctor before you begin any capsaicin-based diet.20
Depending on your personal tolerance for spicy foods, you’ll find numerous opportunities to incorporate cayenne pepper into your diet. But even for the spice-averse eater, you can explore capsaicin supplements to enjoy the same health benefits.
What Are the Health Effects of Tea Made From Cayenne Pepper?
You know about the health benefits of cayenne pepper, but making tea out of cayenne pepper may help to enhance the benefits even more.
- When tea and capsaicin are consumed together, they are even more effective at making you feel full than when you have just one or the other. When it comes to dieting, tea with cayenne pepper is a great way to eat less without feeling hungry.21
- If you’re preparing cayenne pepper tea, you can also incorporate other healthy ingredients that may boost the benefits of cayenne pepper. Drinks made with a teaspoon or two of lemon and honey might help you lose weight in the short term.22
- Cayenne pepper may also help ease stomach pain, or other symptoms of stomach upset, as long as you limit your consumption to moderate amounts. For a long time, people believed cayenne pepper caused ulcers. New evidence suggests it might help prevent ulcers.23
- If you suffer from joint pain or other kinds of ongoing pain, you may find that tea loaded with a powdered spice, like cayenne pepper, provides some pain relief.24
Many hot drinks can help ease the discomfort of a sore throat, including cayenne pepper tea or green tea. If you feel a cold coming on, drinking plenty of tea may help you avoid pain in your throat.25
- Eating cayenne pepper can increase your blood pressure in the short term, which may make it risky if you’re concerned about high blood pressure.26
If you want to incorporate more cayenne pepper into your diet, a warm cup of tea might be just what you need!
Does Herbal Tea Have Antioxidant Properties?
You now know about the potential health benefits of cayenne pepper and cayenne pepper tea, but you also know you can’t consume red pepper all the time, or you’ll build up a tolerance.
So, occasionally you should consider switching over from spicy foods and drinks to herbal teas. Here are some of their many potential health benefits:
- Your body needs a balance of antioxidants and free radicals to maintain healthy functions. Consuming antioxidants by sipping herbal tea is a great way to get a health boost.27
- Peppermint tea, rosehip tea, ginger tea, and rooibos tea are all high in antioxidants and can be enjoyed hot or cold.28-31
- Besides antioxidants you consume, your body also generates its own antioxidants. Tea with lemon balm has been shown to boost your body’s ability to create antioxidants.32
- Many herbal teas are high in vitamin C and vitamin E, both of which are powerful antioxidants.33
- Turmeric contains many antioxidants. If you don’t like turmeric tea, and you want a milder flavor, you can sprinkle ginger and turmeric powder into your tea.34
- Chamomile tea contains antioxidants that help you sleep, making it a great late-night choice.35
A healthy diet is a balanced diet, one that includes a wide variety of beneficial foods and drinks — including hot or cold tea. So, go ahead and raise a mug of your favorite tea.
How to Make Cayenne Pepper Tea
Everyone’s tastes are different, and you may find that you like a bit more or less spice in your tea. You can find many different recipes for cayenne pepper tea with varying levels of spice to suit your tastes.
- Some cayenne pepper tea recipes use a cayenne pepper base, while others are based on other kinds of tea. After you prepare and steep your tea, you can sprinkle a dash of cayenne pepper into your mug.36
- Another variation on this recipe includes adding ginger, honey, and vinegar to the finished tea. A teaspoon or two of these other ingredients will help make the finished tea less spicy.37
- You can also add a teaspoon of cayenne red pepper to a bottle of water and shake well. This simple base can be drunk cold, or you can heat it up for a steaming cup of hot cayenne pepper tea.38
By making your own tea with cayenne pepper, you can enjoy the health benefits associated with capsaicin, while controlling the ingredients and flavor in your tasty cayenne pepper tea. If you can’t handle the spice associated with cayenne pepper, add maple syrup, vinegar, or other strong flavors to your tea.
Is it Okay to Have Pepper Tea on an Empty Stomach?
When you sit down to a hot cup of tea, is it usually part of a meal? Or do you like to grab a cup of tea and run in the morning, rather than have a full breakfast? When you diet, are you guilty of skipping meals?
If you like to treat your caffeinated beverages as a replacement for solid food, you may be tempted to drink cayenne pepper tea on an empty stomach. But you may want to think again about that plan.
- You don’t need to wait a long time after meals to enjoy cayenne pepper tea. Drinking pepper tea with breakfast has been shown to be beneficial for weight-loss purposes.39
- Cayenne pepper tea is effective at reducing your appetite, even when paired with foods high in fat or carbohydrates. That means you can enjoy bacon and toast along with red pepper tea for breakfast and feel less hungry at lunchtime.40
- When you drink cayenne pepper tea before a meal, it can change the time it takes for food to move through your digestive system.41This can lead to worse heartburn that sets in quicker than if you hadn’t had cayenne pepper tea before eating.42
The impact of cayenne pepper tea lasts for hours after you drink it, which makes it the perfect choice for breakfast. When you sit down for the most important meal of the day, pour a mug of red pepper tea along with your coffee to start your day off right.
Spice Up Your Life With Cayenne Pepper Tea
Tea and cayenne pepper both have numerous health benefits, and pairing them can be like a match made in taste heaven. If you’re a tea lover, cayenne pepper tea is a great way to spice things up once in a while.
If you’re a spicy food fanatic, you can enjoy your favorite flavors while possibly dropping a few pounds in the process. If you prefer your food milder, you can still enjoy increased health benefits by using capsaicin supplements. But either way, nothing beats a warm mug of tea with a bit of spice to help you meet your weight-loss goals.
Learn More About Spices:
The 8 Incredible Health Benefits of Indian Cuisine
Garlic: Why You Need More in Your Diet for Heart Health
Quick Healthy Snack: Amy’s Amazing Spiced Nuts [Video]