Cayenne pepper is red in color and spicy. It is used to spice up dishes or for medicinal purposes.
There is no documentation when cayenne was first used for its medicinal values but there is evidence to show who were using it first. The product is native to French Guiana, which is the overseas region of France. French Guiana’s capital is called Cayenne; hence the name “Cayenne” was given to this pepper.
It has been growing for over thousands of years in West Indies and Central and South America. The first person to have brought back cayenne pepper to Europe was Christopher Columbus. After cayenne was brought back to Europe it was easily accepted and used in place of black pepper.
The Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan was the first to take it to the continents of Asia and Africa. Back in the day this type of pepper was the most expensive spice because not all regions were growing them. Today it is widely grown in Asia, Africa, Spain, Mexico, central and south America. It comes from the capsicum family of peppers.
It was used as a medicinal remedy for centuries in other parts of the globe but it is only gaining popularity now in the western world.
Like you I have always wondered what makes cayenne pepper so spicy; well the pungent and resinous substance in it called capsaicin does. Due to this substance in the pepper it makes it a good medicinal property for many diseases and injuries.
Gradually medical practitioners have now begun endorsing cayenne pepper as the most valuable and useful vegetable. Word of caution; although it is found to have medicinal values in it the seeds are toxic and must not be consumed. Also, if you are not used to spices then its best to take it in supplement form than the actual raw form.