Red Chilli – Capsicum annuum Uses, Research, Remedies, Side Effects

Capsicum annuum is commonly known as red chilli or bell pepper. It is used for the treatment of joint pain, anorexia, lack of appetite, fever, obesity etc. 

Latin name- Capsicum annuum Linn.
Family- Solanaceae

Bell pepper – Names in different languages:
Hindi name- Lal mirchi
English name- Red Chilly, Bell pepper
Bengali name- Lanka maricha
Kannada name- Menasinakai
Malayalam name- Molagu
Marathi name- Lal mirchi
Telugu name- Mircha kaya
Tamil name- Milagai

Sanskrit names of Red chilli –
Katuveera- The seeds are pungent
Raktamaricha- The fruit is red in color
Pittakarini- Increases pitta dosha

Morphology of Capsicum annuum:
It is a small herb found and cultivated all over India in the temperate climate. The plant grows to a height of 2- 3 feet with white colored flowers. The fruits are green while unripe and red after ripening. The seeds are flat and pungent in nature. Many varieties are cultivated for its commercial purpose and used for culinary purpose. Although the species name annuum means “annual”, the plant is not an annual and in the absence of winter frosts can survive several seasons and grow into a large perennial shrub. The plant is a native of Brazil.

Medicinal Properties of Lanka / Katuveera:
Rasa (Taste) – Katu (Pungent)
Guna (Qualities) – Laghu (Light for digestion), Ruksha (Dry in nature), Teekshna (Strong)
Vipaka – – Katu (Undergoes Pungent taste after digestion)
Veerya (Potency) – Ushna (Hot)
Karma (Actions) – Kaphavata shamaka (reduces vitiated kapha and vata dosha), Pitta vardaka (Increases pitta dosha)

Part used- Fruit
Dosage- 30-60 mg

Chemical constituents of capsicum annuum:
Red chilly contains capsaicin (0.5– 1.5%), Capsorubin, Capsanthin, Rubixanthi carotenoids, flavonoids, volatile oil; steroidal saponins (capsicidins, only in seeds). Capsaicin stimulates the circulation and alters temperature regulation; topically desensitizes nerve endings and acts as a local analgesic. Vitamin P has been isolated from the chilies. Vitamin C gradually increases during maturation and reaches maximum at the semi-ripe or pink colored stage and decreases thereafter. The root contains Capsicosides C2, and C3

अरोचरेतः कफवातहारिणी विपाचिनी शोणितपित्तकारिणी ।
मेदोऽक्षिनिद्रोनलमान्ह्यहारिणी विसूचिकाम् कृन्तति पित्तकारिणी॥   (सि.भे.म)

Medicinal uses of red chilli:  

  • The paste of bell pepper is mixed with butter and applied over the joint area affected with pain and swelling.
  • Small pills are prepared from the paste of the Bell pepper along with Camphor and Asafetida and given in the condition of cholera as part of treatment.
  • The paste of the fruit of Capsicum annuum is applied with paste of sandalwood over forehead to treat headache.
  • The paste prepared from the fruit of Katuveera is applied over the area bitten by dog to relieve pain and swelling.
  • The powder of bell pepper is mixed with honey or sugar candy and taken in a dose of 3-5 g to relieve sore throat and improve the voice.
  • The powder of the fruit is consumed in 2-3 g with buttermilk to improve the appetite and help in digestion.
  • Regular intake of Katuveera in small quantity along with food as spice additive can prevent clotting of blood and is beneficial in cardiac patients.
  • The powder of red chilly and dried chilly is used as spice in many cuisines all over the world.

Adverse effect: Excess intake of Katuveera can cause ulcers in the stomach, oral cavity and hyper acidity.

Ayurvedic medicines containing Katuveera:
Dazzle ointment: Dazzle Ointment is a proprietary Ayurvedic medicine and it provides fast symptomatic relief. It is useful in joint pain, sprain and low back ache. It reduces pain, stiffness and muscle spasm and improves mobility by restoring range of motion.

Chesol oil: It is a proprietary Ayurvedic medicine useful for the treatment of rheumatic disorders as well as bronchitis.

Jointcare gel: It is a proprietary Ayurvedic medicine useful for the treatment of arthritis, spondylitis and musculoskeletal disorders.

Alopagesic liniment: It is a proprietary Ayurvedic medicine useful for the treatment of arthritis, localized swelling and pain.

Research articles about Capsicum annuum:
Anti- oxidant potential: Nutritionally, sweet peppers are good source of mixture of antioxidants including ascorbic acid, carotenoids, flavonoids and polyphenols it is essential that compositional studies in plant food be carried out to take into account various factors such as cultivars, seasons and pre- and post-harvest conditions that may affect the chemical composition of plant foods.

Anti- inflammatory action: The ethanolic and butanol extracts (200 mg/kg,) presented a significant anti-inflammatory activity toward carrageenan-induced pleurisy model in mice in comparison to dexamethasone (0.5 mg/kg, s.c.). Among the parameters evaluated, the treatment with these samples inhibited leukocyte migration and reduced the formation of exudate. The contents of flavonoids and total phenolic compounds could be correlated with the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activities observed for Capsicum baccatum.

Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Solanales
Family: Solanaceae
Genus: Capsicum
Species: C. annuum

Dr.B.K.Prashanth M.D (Ayu), Ph.D
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  1. Why we can’t find any Shastriy aushadhi in ayurveda with red chilli. ?

  2. Satyan Namdhari says:

    Red chilli (cayenne pepper or paprika) has different taste and qualities than bell pepper, even though both seem to have same scientific name. Red chilly contains capsaicin. Bell pepper or Shimla Mirch does not contain capsaicin. Bell pepper can be eaten raw in salad without burning sensation. Red chillis cause intense burning sensation. All medicinal properties are referring to red chillis that are long and not bell shaped.

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