"My sinuses cleared up pronto, which made the slight pain worth it."
Between the trigger of allergies and start of flu season, people go to great lengths to relieve their sinuses during fall. Take my childhood friend, Elizabeth. When we were younger, black pepper was too spicy for her. Though her palate has since become stronger, she's still on the low end when it comes to heat tolerance.
So I was surprised when she told me how successful cayenne tea was in helping her allergies. "I read in Healing With Whole Foods by Paul Pitchford that cayenne pepper will alleviate congestion, so I figured it would be easiest to use in a tea," she said.
Finding a few recipes online, she combined them to come up with her own version—a half teaspoon of cayenne pepper, two teaspoons of honey, and a lemon wedge in a mug before filling it with boiling water. "My sinuses cleared in 15 minutes, and I could breathe for the next day," she said. "Now, I use it every couple of days, and it seems to keep me clear. It also gave me an added energy boost."
Also an avid allergy sufferer, I thought if she could tolerate cayenne pepper tea, it would be a cinch for me. I recruited Chile Pepper magazine's editorial assistant, Stacy Camacho, who was also waging a battle against sinuses.
First of all, as Elizabeth had suggested do not try this on an empty stomach. I'm not gonna lie. It was hard to get through the spicy burning of the entire cup of tea. I found it easier to drink it between bites of food. And my sinuses cleared up pronto, which made the slight pain worth it.
Stacy, however, wasn't as much of a fan. "At first, I only felt the heat of the pepper! Soon I did notice that my sinuses were clearing up and I felt a burning sensation at the back of my throat. The burning quickly subsided and after a few sips, I was definitely noticing that my sniffles were gone," she said, after chucking the majority of the cayenne pepper tea in the trash.
So two out of three sniffle-ridding successes isn't bad. For me and Elizabeth, the cayenne pepper tea certainly worked quicker and better than most medicines, that's for sure. There are also some claims onlinke that cayenne pepper tea helps jump-start a metabolism. Myself, I'm just happy to breathe easier. Try it yourself and report back.
On Wednesdays, Andrea Lynn, senior editor of Chile Pepper magazine, drops by with Serious Heat.