Capsicum annuum var. annuum/ Capsicum frutescens
Planetary ruler: Mars
Associated deities: Alakshmi, Lakshmi, Uchu
Magical virtues: shamanic travel, counter magic, protection, love, aphrodisiac
Christopher Columbus set sail to find a new route to get the extortionately expensive black pepper cheaper, but instead he found the New World and something just as good – chillies. It was his naming them pimiento (‘red pepper’) that caused the confusion that still exists with the name – they are not really peppers at all, but part of the solanaceae or nightshade family. The pre-Columbian tribes of Panama used chilli in combination with cocoa and other plants to enter into hallucinatory trance, travelling to the world above or the world below to negotiate with spirits on behalf of humankind. [i] In the Amazon, chilli is sometimes added to the hallucinogenic medicines that shamans use for healing rituals and vision quests.
Chillies are used in counter magic, protection rituals and to drive out evil spirits. Sprinkle around the house or burn them along with garlic. Hang a string of dried chillies in your kitchen as a protective charm or put a wreath of chillies on your front door. Add chilli powder to incenses of protection and banishing. Add chilli powder to incenses of Mar and fire to increase their power.
CULINARY AND HOUSEHOLD USES:
Fresh chilli peppers can be used to make soups, stews, curries, chillies, spicy drinks, sauces, chutney and pickles. Chilli powder and cayenne pepper are ground from the fruit of capsicums. Chilli powder is usually a blend of several types of chillies. It can be added to meat or vegetable dishes, pasta and eggs.
Chillies helps stimulate saliva, which is important for digestion as well as preventing bad breath. The hot and spicy taste of chilli is due to a compound called capsaicin, which is a natural pain killer. This is very helpful in relieving pain in cases of osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, fibromyalgia as well as shingles, diabetic peripheral neuropathy, muscle and back pain. Eating chillies or drinking chilli tea aids in breaking up and moving congested mucus in cases of colds and flu. They are also rich in vitamin C, which helps the immune system fight infections. Eating hot chillies increases the flow of blood and loosens the secretions of mucus in the sinuses, thus relieving the congestion that causes sinus headaches.
Side effects of topical application can include skin irritation, burning, and itching. Don’t use capsicum on damaged or broken skin. Do not use on children. Eating very hot chillies can cause stomach irritation. Do not use if you are breastfeeding or pregnant. Avoid if you take anticlotting medications including aspirin, as capsicum may increase the effect. Avoid if you take Theophylline.