Cayenne Capsules Versus Cayenne Tea

Probably the most common question I get about cayenne pepper is this: "What's the difference between drinking cayenne pepper powder versus taking it in capsule form? Won't I get the same cayenne pepper benefits by taking it in capsule form?"

These are good questions, and certainly understandable.

Drinking cayenne can be unpleasant -- especially for newcomers. The tongue, lips, and throat can burn and uncomfortably so (although not for long). The capsule option seems ideal.

So, what's the answer? Which is better? Both. Both have their place. That sounds like a politician's answer, doesn't it?!

Let me explain.

Why do I and others who know more than I do stress the superiority of drinking cayenne versus taking capsules? Well, when imbibed, cayenne immediately affects the entire cardiovascular or circulatory system extending its influence to every blood vessel element.

Yes, every blood vessel is affected in the positive when it's imbibed, i.e., arteries, arterioles, capillaries, venules and veins.

To be as precise as possible, drinking cayenne pepper powder affects both the venous and arterial flow. Plus, it immediately nourishes the heart with powerful, much needed nutrition.

Bold things to say to be sure, but it's true. I received one email me telling me how much the user enjoyed feeling the "ripple effect" of the cayenne upon drinking it.

I agree. It is very noticeable sometimes and gives a wonderful feeling of warmth throughout the body, which is especially nice on a cold day.

In a literal way, once the cayenne hits the tongue, its influence begins with the cardiovascular (and digestive) system -- that is why it's better to drink it than to take it in capsule form.

By taking it in capsule form, you literally shock the body and the stomach when the capsule dissolves in the stomach. It's like your body says, "Whoa, where did this come from?"

Think of it: about 1/4th to 1/2 of a teaspoon of cayenne suddenly dumped into your stomach without any "preparation." You see, when you taste cayenne on the tongue, it is the first step in the digestive process.

People think that the digestive process begins when food or drink hits the stomach. That's not true. Saliva is actually a digestive juice and when you drink cayenne, when you put it into your mouth, your stomach secretes digestive juices before the cayenne gets there. Then, when it comes to the stomach, it's ready.

When in the stomach, it can burn yes, which is a good sign actually as cayenne has among its many attributes the ability to help re-build damaged stomach tissue. That burning is temporary and can be mitigated by taking less powder.

cayenne pepper powderThe burning is actually more pronounced for many when taken in capsule form as it's such a shock to the stomach.

I'm convinced this is one of the reasons why people think cayenne is bad for you as it can burn so badly in the stomach -- even when imbibed properly.

If you have a real problem with the burning, take cayenne with food -- especially starchy food like potatoes or vegetables. One thing I've noticed is that the burn of cayenne is significantly lessened with tomato juice.

I use plain ol' V8 Tomato Juice. It works great. It gives it a nice spicy taste. Cayenne with tomato and orange juice is my favorite way to take it, actually. For more info on cayenne drink options, click here.

Moving on, spicey foods in general are considered anathema to traditionally trained doctors and they even recommend to most patients to avoid spicy foods -- especially those suffering with an ulcer.

I'm glad I chose to listen to the truthfulness of superior information when I've had ulcers in my life at various points. (I've helped resolve an ulcer twice taking cayenne and slippery elm.)

Lastly, another reason to drink cayenne is its usefulness in emergency situations. Many master herbalists and naturopathic doctors like Dr. John R. Christopher, David Christopher, Kurt King, Dr. Richard Schulze, and others testify that if one is having a heart attack, drinking cayenne will immediately stop it.

Moreover, it will stop internal hemorrhaging within the body and even severe external bleeding as well in less than a minute.

Drinking cayenne immediately induces blood flow and starts its healing processes when imbibed -- that is the most important reason as to why it should be drunk.


If it's not able to be swallowed, I recently read in Dick Quinn's book Left for Dead that putting it underneath the tongue might help, too.

The Case for Cayenne Capsules

What about cayenne capsules? Are they valuable? Do they provide the same health benefits as drinking cayenne? Yes and no. They are beneficial, there is no doubt about that.

The negatives, though, I believe I covered in depth in the previous few paragraphs.

Overall, yes, cayenne capsules do provide the same benefits as drinking it but it does not affect the cardiovascular and digestive system immediately the way drinking it does.

cayenne capsulesIt will upon digestion but not as dramatically. They certainly won't be as beneficial in an emergency situation either, obviously. That's a key distinction too.

Why do I say this? Am I contradicting myself? I don't think so. Why? Because many have reported fantastic benefits by taking cayenne in capsule form.

For me, results, not degrees or opinion based upon research is the deciding criterion or factor as to something's efficacy.

I've had people email me saying they've incurred many of cayenne's wonderful health benefits by taking the capsules and are reluctant to drink it as it's too uncomfortable.  I tell them, if it works for them, by all means continue taking the capsules instead of drinking it.

Nevertheless, if you want immediate nutrition for the heart and circulatory (and other) systems, drinking it is preferred. In truth, it is the ideal way. It's not as bad as you think. It takes getting used to but the body adapts quickly.

I also now recommend taking it with only a few ounces of water -- four ounces maximum. This makes drinking it a lot easier for most.

But, that said, capsules are very convenient for people and I understand that.

One word of caution: Make sure the capsules are 100% vegetable based. Avoid gelatin capsules. Gelatin is derived from animal parts including but not limited to animal skin, bones, ligaments, etc. One master herbalist told me years ago that one company he knew of used horse hooves to make gelatin.

Gelatin is a clear liquid that is tasteless and is in common usage. It is cayennepepperalso used in the making of gelatin capsules as well. Hence the interpolation here.

By the way, cayenne capsules are very inexpensive just like the powder. Most bottles contain 100 capsules, which sell anywhere from $8.00 to $11.00 USD.

That should be enough to last you at least two months or so depending on usage, of course.

Of course, if you prefer to control the cayenne amount in the capsules, you can make your own. To do so, you'll need a tamping device. I bought mine at my favorite health food store.

I use it for other herbs and superfoods like bee pollen mostly, though, as I drink my cayenne in various liquids.

If you should go this route, tamping devices are readily available and very inexpensive, too. (They're easy to "operate" as well.)

Dick Quinn's Story

Since I originally wrote this article, I have read the book, Left for Dead by Dick Quinn. In 1978, one Richard F. Quinn experienced a near-fatal heart attack. After his doctor ordered an angiogram, it was discovered he had a 98 percent blockage of his carotid artery. He had emergency bypass surgery but long story short, it didn't work.

His health began to deteriorate rapidly. After some research precipitated by an accidental meeting with a woman who had learned about cayenne by Dr. John R. Christopher, he discovered that cayenne pepper was lauded by many alternative health practitioners as ready made for the heart.

He recounts this in his superb book Left for Dead, which is still available.

He thus began taking three capsules of cayenne daily with his meals. In the mid-nineties when the article, "Nutritional and Medical Importance of Red Pepper (Capsicum ssp.)" in the Journal of Herbs, Spices & Medicinal Plants (1995) was released, Dick Quinn reported that his heart was as good as new and that he felt stamina and energy like when he was a young man.

Mind you he did this with cayenne capsules -- according to the article and his book. In fact, in his book, I can't find a single reference to drinking it. So, clearly, cayenne capsules work.


I hope this short article adequately explains the key differences between drinking cayenne pepper powder versus taking them in capsule form. Both have their clear advantages and disadvantages but overall, the blessings of cayenne far outweigh its inconveniences.

Overall, if you're looking for one definitive answer, I have to say that my personal opinion is -- and it's an opinion based on personal research and experience -- that drinking it is ideal as it immediately incurs blood flow.

Imbibing it is also recommended by master herbalists and naturopathic doctors who know far more than me.

So, I feel safe with this recommendation. That said, I'll leave it to you to do what you feel is best.

 Lastly, if you're interested in supplementing or experimenting with cayenne, you can get more information about buying good quality cayenne at this article within this site. Or for a full product price list, go to it here.

I hope you've found this article helpful.

D. Palevitch and L.e. Cracker, "Nutritional and Medical Importance of Red Pepper," Journal of Herbs, Spices & Medicinal Plants 3(2):67-70 (1995).
Quinn, Dick. (1992). Left for dead. R.F. Quinn Publishing Co.: Minneapolis, MN.