Actually, adding cayenne pepper to your food throughout the winter may even help boost your immunity, preventing some of those nasty cold from occurring in the first place. But if you do wind up sick in bed, there are a few ways to get that mucus broken up and cleared out of your system without resorting to an expectorant medication. Using cayenne pepper for colds is probably one of its most popular uses. Try giving a few of these cayenne pepper remedies a chance to help you feel better.
Cayenne Pepper Tea
It is very simple to make a cayenne pepper tea, but if you are not used to eating peppers and other spicy foods, I would go very easy with the dosage to begin with.
The best pepper is usually found at a health food store or someplace like Whole Foods, any place that you can buy cayenne pepper in bulk. You are looking for the powder and not dried peppers. You want something that can dissolve in your tea.
Just be cautious about what you buy because this stuff comes with various levels of “heat”. You can buy cayenne that’s as hot as 90,000 skoville units (this is very hot!) or as little as 30K. I would recommend the lowest skoville unit possible when you are just starting.
Once you have your cayenne pepper, time to make tea. Just add a little bit, between 1/8th and a teaspoonful depending on your tolerance. As I’ve said before on this site, a little bit goes a long way and you can always add more, so start with the smallest amount possible and then add more if you find you can tolerate the heat.
So add your cayenne pepper to hot water and if you like, flavor it with a light squeeze of lemon juice, or a bit of lemon zest. Then drink.
If you find that after drinking the cayenne tea, you need something to help reduce the “heat” in your mouth, some bread is a good way to do it. Just eat a little bit and the sugars in the bread will help tamp down the heat. Whatever you do, avoid drinking milk. While milk is one of the best ways to reduce the heat sensation caused by spicy foods, dairy is the worst thing to consume when you have a cold as it just creates more mucus that you need to try and expel.
Cayenne Pepper gargle
If you have a sore throat, you can also try gargling with cayenne pepper to relieve some of the inflammation and pain. Just a warning here: again, too much cayenne pepper can make things worse. So go slow and easy! Add a tiny bit of cayenne pepper to room temperature water and gargle with that. Earth Clinic has some good tips on using a cayenne pepper gargle from their various users.
Of course, cold and flu seasons isn’t the only reason to take advantage of the properties of cayenne pepper and the mucus loosening that it can do. If you have allergies that leave your head stuffed up and feeling awful, this spicy pepper can also help with those.