Cayenne Pepper, Capsicum annuum, originates from South America and has been cultivated for use for at least 7,000 years. The genus Capsicum is a member of the nightshade family which includes other types of fruits such as peppers, tomatoes, eggplant, and also potatoes.
In the 1400s Early European explorers brought the seeds from South America back to Europe and they quickly spread around the world often as an alternative to black pepper which was very expensive at that time.
Cayenne peppers contain capsaicin which stimulates heat sensors in the skin. Applied topically, capsaicin stimulates nerve cells to release neurotransmitters which temporarily inhibit the pain nerves from sending pain messages to the brain while providing a warm feeling to the skin and underlying tissue. Capsaicin helps to temporarily relieve pain from sore muscles, arthritis, and nerve pain (neuralgia).
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