Siling labuyo, or in English, cayenne pepper, is a distinct herb because of its undeniable spiciness. The pepper fruit grows from a relatively short plant that grows at a maximum height of 1.5 meters.
The leaves are irregular-oval in shape with a pointed end. The active constituent that gives this herb its heat is called capsaicin. Aside from spicing up your meals, you can find capsaicin as one of the ingredients of pepper spray used for self-defense.
Benefits of Siling Labuyo
While some people are not into spicy food, siling labuyo’s benefits may make them reconsider:
Siling Labuyo has a lot of vitamins and minerals
This little fruit is surprisingly packed with a lot of vitamins.
Even just a few grams red chili peppers contain Vitamins A, B6, C, and K. Additionally, it also has copper and potassium.
As for the macros, it contains about 1.3 grams of carbohydrates, 0.3 grams of protein, and 0.1 grams of fat.
Siling labuyo is also 88% water and it has a total of 6 calories.
It relieves pain
One of the best health benefits of siling labuyo is it can soothe pains in the body, that’s why it is commercially prepared into gels and patches.
When applied, it decreases the amount of “substance P”. Substance P is important in the transmission of pain from nerve endings to the brain. After the initial burning sensation, the relief will be felt because pain transmission is inhibited.
It aids in weight loss
Another great thing about the capsaicin found in siling labuyo is it can boost our metabolism, thus allowing us to burn more calories.
Additionally, it also gives a feeling of fullness, which prevents the person from eating any more than what is necessary. There is even a study suggesting that capsaicin can convert white cells (those cells that store fat) into brown cells that burn fat!
It is good for blood circulation
Capsaicin is said to reduce the cholesterol in the body and it prevents blood from sticking together. This ability is highly beneficial because it prevents blood clots that sometimes cause stroke.
It is good for overall health
Aside from the vitamins it contains, cayenne pepper is also known to have antioxidants. These antioxidants help get rid of free radicals which are toxic when they build up.
Precautions and Warnings
Before using siling labuyo, it is best to take note of the following reminders:
What should I know before using Siling labuyo?
Note that the heat or hotness that cayenne pepper brings doesn’t just take effect when it is ingested. Holding or touching crushed chili is bound to bring a burning sensation to the skin.
This is why it is advisable to wear food-preparation gloves if you intend to hold crushed cayenne pepper. Additionally, be cautious as you might accidentally touch your eyes.
Even those commercially prepared patches that contain capsaicin is said to bring some level of pain and swelling, depending on the amount of capsaicin in it.
How safe is siling labuyo?
Using a small amount of siling labuyo as a condiment to home-cooked meals is generally safe.
Special Precautions and Warnings
If you plan to use siling labuyo to medicate, it’s best to talk to your physician. The same thing is true if you have underlying health conditions, are pregnant and/or breastfeeding.
Side Effects and Interaction
Aside from the burning sensation when applied topically, eating siling labuyo can cause stomach upset, like cramps, abdominal pain, and diarrhea.
For this reason, you may want to stay away from cayenne pepper if you have gastrointestinal disorders like Irritable Bowel Syndrome or IBS.
Unfortunately, capsaicin may interact with anticoagulants, cocaine, theophylline, and medications for high blood pressure. As a general rule, if you have allergies, are under a specific diet regimen, or are taking medications, it is best to consult your doctor first.
Dosage and Forms
Please note that the dosages and variants explained below are meant to help and educate and NOT to replace any advice given by your doctor.
The capsaicin in siling labuyo can be found in patches or gels and ointments to be applied topically.
Please follow the package instructions, or to be even safer, the advice of your doctor. Alternatively, you can prepare a liniment using the chili and a vegetable oil of your choice.
How to Prepare Siling Labuyo Liniment
To prepare the liniment, macerate or soak the siling labuyo in enough oil until the fruits are covered. Seal it tightly and leave for a week.
Afterward, remove the fruits by straining. Keep the liniment in a medicinal bottle and use it when you are experiencing aches and pains in your body.
NOTE: Adjust the amount of oil and chili depending on how strong you would like the liniment to be.
While it is not popular in our country, there are available cayenne pepper pills, or at least pills that contain capsaicin. As usual, consult your doctor first.
Other than this, the safest option to include siling labuyo in your regimen is to add it as a condiment to your food. Others also opt to prepare “chili oil” by cooking siling labuyo in oil along with other ingredients like star anise and garlic. There are various recipes for this, so get creative in your research.
The Philippines is blessed to have an abundance of siling labuyo.
Not only does it hold a lot of heat to spice up a meal, but it also has a multitude of health benefits: it aids in weight loss, has a lot of antioxidants, relieves pain, and is rich in vitamins.
While it is available in topical preparations for pain, the safest way to have the other siling labuyo benefits is to include it in your home-cooked meals.
Learn more about herbal medicine here.
Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.