There are Numerous Ways to Supplement with Cayenne Pepper

I get one to two emails a day related to this cayenne pepper site.

Most of those questions relate to cayenne pepper drink options and specifics regarding its benefits as related to health problems.

In this short article, I want to discuss some of the drink options you have with cayenne and their pluses and minuses, their advantages and disadvantages.

Before we talk about the different Capsicum drink options, though, let's lay some groundwork and give some context.

As always, do what you feel is best but I feel the options offered here will be very helpful to you. As I have written elsewhere on this website, I test things out and share my experiences.

What Is The Best Way to Take Cayenne?

Since cayenne is a very potent medicinal spice, it needs to be taken with judgment and wisdom. Many people don't know this but cayenne is an emetic spice, among its many health benefits.

"Emetic" means it can cause one to vomit if too much is taken.

I know this from experience! This is one of the reasons why I so strongly emphasize the need to start small and "stay small" for a while. I recommend starting with 1/8th to 1/4th of a teaspoon of cayenne pepper powder at a maximum for cayenne beginners.

I emphasize the necessity of using wisdom and judgment for human beings tend to overdo things. So, that said, let's answer the question, "What is the absolute best way to take cayenne as a drink?"

The answer is warm. The warmer the better.

Yes, warm.

Let me be more specific. The absolute best way to drink cayenne is with very warm water. It's the best way as it gives the most therapeutic potency and benefits.

In other words, a couple of ounces of very warm water (two or three ounces or .59 to .89 deciliters) with cayenne pepper powder.

Dr. John R. Christopher used to call cayenne "Capsicum" (its genus) and he used to call it "cayenne tea." That always struck me as odd until I tried it for myself. Drinking your acclimated amount, i.e., the amount you're body is used to without too much discomfort, is best done drinking it hot.

In my opinion, and it's only my opinion, this is how to prepare it:

  • Bring some water close to a boil -- the purer the water is, the better. I recommend no more than three ounces maximum of water. (Don't worry if you bring it to a boil by accident. Just let it sit for a few minutes to cool down.)
  • Put your designated or acclimated amount of cayenne pepper powder in a small glass (I use a burbon glass).
  • Pour the very warm water over the cayenne pepper powder.
  • Let it steep a minute.
  • Mix thoroughly.
  • Drink.
  • Feel the burn!

The water should not be so hot that it burns the tongue. The water should be hot enough where it's noticeable but not uncomfortable to drink -- I'm not talking about the cayenne itself here but the water's temperature. For me, if the water steams my glasses a bit, that's what I want. That's my "sweet spot" if you will.

Think of a time you've had some herbal tea, for example, and you drink it straight without sipping. People sip a liquid when it's too hot. If it's so hot you have to blow on it, that's a clear signal the water is too hot.

In that case, as mentioned, just let it sit for a few minutes.

Be prepared that if you drink it like this it will give at times a very noticeable "jolt" to your system. I'm not exaggerating. "What? A Jolt? What do you mean by that?" Some may ask.

I believe, and I underscore this is my opinion as I have no clinical evidence to support it, that the cayenne's active ingredients are really "activated" and are ready to work when very wam water is poured over it.

Let me ruminate on this a bit, though, if I may. Dr. Christopher said the best results he always got in his practice were with herbal concoction poultices and tinctures. I've made some poultices myself and other herbal concoctions and almost always the directions are to boil the water and toss the herb in. This activates the active ingredients.

This is not always the case, though. (Slippery elm, for example, is fantastic when taken in capsule form.)

What Other Ways Are There To Take Cayenne?

As mentioned, I've heard literally from people all over the world through this site. Some people have the most imaginative ways to drink cayenne or to take it. I'd like to share with you some of them here so you can see the options you have available to you.

  • Cayenne and orange juice. This is actually my preferred way to take it. Dr. John Heinerman, Ph.D. (1997) in his book, The Health Benefits of Cayenne, said, "The very best combination I know, even more potent than synthetic antibiotics for clearing up infections of any kind, are garlic, goldenseal, cayene pepper and vitamin C!" (p. 37). I take it for that reason along with red raspberry leaf tea from time to time for improving my body's utilization of antioxidants (cayenne and orange juice will do that). And to bolster my immune system. Red raspberry leaf is potent for helping to stop influenza in its tracks.
  • Cayenne and tomato juice. This is actually a great tasting combo. Try it. You might like it as a "leisure" beverage. It's certainly spicy but it also gives your body a nice boost of tomato juice's vitamin C, a key antioxidant, as well as other good nutrients. This is one of my favorite ways to take it, actually.
  • Cayenne and lemon. I love this option. It tastes great, too. The Capsicum mitigates the "bite" of the fresh lemon and, of course, as it's teeming with vitamin C, is an antioxidant powerhouse as well.
  • Cayenne and honey in water. I have friend who likes it this way. I don't although I do like honey. This combination gives a nice taste, too.
  • Cayenne and turmeric powder mixed with extra virgin olive oil. This is unique but it's a powerhouse. Turmeric is another of those "health secrets" that very few know about it. I've been personally studying a lot about turmeric and pharmaceutical-grade quality vitamins lately as part of my continuing health education. It's different with its taste but it's very, very good for you. What you do is mix the amounts of both (turmeric powder is mild) with the olive oil and swallow it.
  • Cayenne in various fruit juices. This is a nice option too for many people. Some have put it cranberry juice, grape juice, etc. I recently received an email from a gentlemen named Xavier who told me he loves cayenne in cranberry juice. He says it reminds him of Mexican candy he used to take as a boy. Try it -- it's actually a very interesting taste and is quite good.
  • Cayenne in cold water. This is the way most people take it and it's perfectly acceptable. It's not the best option, though, but it's definitely good for you.
  • Cayenne capsules. In his book, "Left for Dead," Dick Quinn (1992) talked about how cayenne pepper saved his life. He did it by taking capsules. When he did drink it, which was not often, he added it to tomato juice. So, when I hear people like the well respected Dr. Richard Schulze and others say that cayenne should be drunk for maximum effect, I totally agree. However, Quinn --v8 and others' experiences -- clearly prove cayenne capsules work as well. If you're interested in Quinn's book, you can see it or buy it on
  • Cayenne and V8 juice. I take it this way a lot. It's great tasting, too. The V8 juice, which is a compilation of other vegetable juices, has a nice taste of itself but the cayenne powder gives it a nice kick.
  • Cayenne on food. While this certainly helps, for therapeutic effect, every medicinal herbalist and/or naturopathic doctor strongly emphasizes taking enough to activate that therapeutic effect. The claim here is, "Even a little will help" and that's true but don't expect any great effect. Will it help you? Yes, but not dramatically. Still, I have a relative whose migraine headaches have been greatly alleviated by sprinkling it on food. That said, she sprinkles it on everything, and I mean everything. It's not been totally alleviated, but I think if she drank it, the benefits would be even more pronounced.

Let's be honest about something. Except for the option of cayenne and orange juice, I believe all the other options have been tried as people are trying to find a shortcut around drinking it in warm water.

So, let me be as clear as I can be: The absolute best way to take cayenne is internally and the best way to do that is to drink it, and the best way to drink it is with very warm water. Period. "Cayenne tea" is the way to go.

Judging from his writings, Dr. John R. Christopher believed it the best way and I think he was right.

What About Quality of Cayenne?

I get asked about this a lot, too. There really is a difference in quality of cayenne.

I strongly recommend getting the best cayenne you can find. That said, believe it or not, I've been emailed by people who have used inferior grocery store cayenne and have gotten good effects.

Nevertheless, quality does make a difference. The good news is that one can get good cayenne inexpensively.

For who and what I recommend (and this is not a sales pitch), check out this page on my cayenne site over here. When organic cayenne is taken in the ideal way -- the warm cayenne tea I discussed above -- it seems especially potent compared to non-organic cayenne.

Believe me, you will notice a difference, both in potency and in jolt to the system. Occasionally, I will receive an email from someone who tells me they felt a kind of "ripple" effect when they first started taking cayenne.

I know exactly what they mean. That "ripple" effect or "jolt" is very noticeable especially with potent organic cayenne.

One will also notice it when one graduates from one cayenne Scoville Heat Unit rating to another one, e.g., going from 35,000 to 90,000 SHU cayenne. And, one will notice it when one takes their cayenne with very warm as tea versus with cold water.

Final Tips

I recommend until you get real used to drinking cayenne that you drink it over a sink. Some, myself included, don't particularly like the taste, which is one of the reasons why I hold my breath when I drink it.

I'm talking about more potent cayenne here, like 90,000 to 160,000 SHU cayenne, by the way. (Holding one's breath when eating or drinking something deactivates the taste buds.)

When I drink it, I drink it as fast as I can. This is a "tonic" and not a recreational or pleasure drink; it's not to be savored. Let's be honest, there's nothing pleasureable about the drinking experience of cayenne pepper powder.

Its virtue comes with its many health benefits. That's why I love it and that's why I drink it. I'm willing to endure that temporary inconvenience.

So, in closing, the absolute best way to drink cayenne is as a warm tea. I'm utterly convinced of that.

That's the ideal way. That said, many have received tremendous benefits with the other options enumerated above. I'll leave it to you as to what you want to do.

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 you can look at a full product price list of various products on cayenne pepper at this page here.

I hope this short article helps you.

Heinerman, John. (1997). The health benefits of cayenne. New Canaan, CT: Keats Publishing, Inc.
Quinn, Dick. (1992). Left for dead. Minneapolis, MN: R.F. Quinn Publishing Co.