Cayenne is a simple cooking spice to most people, but it's a powerful healing herb. Cayenne is a stimulant that increases the pulse and carries blood to the extremities. It's a "powerful perk-er-upper".
Last year I grew my own cayenne peppers. Only one of my four plants survived, but it bore a good crop which I harvested, dehydrated and powdered. I didn't get cayenne plants into the ground this year, but it is something that I will grow in years to come. How could I be without such a useful and important herb?
As well as using my own cayenne in the kitchen, I've also used it medicinally - not on humans yet, but on my goats. (The humans will get it when needed, so look out!)
In preparation for kidding season this year, I'd made a cayenne tincture in apple cider vinegar. My plan was to use this as a navel dip instead of iodine. I read that instead of burning the tissue to dry it like iodine does, the cayenne dries and shrinks the navel tissue in a gentle way, at the same time nourishing and stimulating the newborn kid.
I put some of the tincture in prescription bottles to use on the newborns. I've found this to be the simplest and easiest way to dip navels, whatever liquid you choose to use. Fill the bottle about half full with your tincture or iodine. Stand behind the kid and put one arm under the kid's front legs, holding his or her front legs just off the ground. Using your other hand, hold the bottle and dip the kid's umbilical cord into it. Press the top of the bottle against the baby's belly and gently shake it to distribute the liquid, including onto the belly area around the navel. I use one prescription bottle per kid to prevent the spread of germs from one kid to another, discarding the contents after one use.
In the past I've often had a lethargic kid, perhaps more than one. This year I had only one that I worried about, a little doe kid. She wasn't as alert as a newborn kid should be. I'd read about using cayenne in this situation, so I gave it a try: I put a couple of drops of cayenne tincture on her tongue. (If you don't have a tincture, you can put a tiny pinch of powdered cayenne in the kid's mouth instead.) You can repeat the dose if needed after about 15 minutes.
Within minutes she was up and alert, standing and attempting to walk just as well as the other kids. Seriously, it only took a few minutes. How amazing! It had warmed her little body all the way to her tiny hooves, increased her circulation, and gave her the zip she needed. For this reason alone, cayenne is worth a place in my kidding supplies.
My Native American friends say that it's best to start a tincture of any kind during a new moon, and let it work for two weeks until the full moon - but it's even better to leave it for four weeks until the next new moon.
Here's how to make a cayenne tincture in vinegar:
1/4 cup of cayenne pepper powder
1 cup Bragg's apple cider vinegar, or your own homemade raw, unfiltered vinegar
If you don't want to make this much, you can use the "parts formula" to make a smaller (or larger) amount: use one part of cayenne pepper powder and 4 parts vinegar. You can read more about measuring in parts in this previous post.
Combine the two ingredients in a glass jar with a tight-fitting plastic lid and mix well. (The vinegar will react with a metal lid.) Shake the jar several times a day for at least two weeks.
Keep the liquid tincture and discard the powder that's left.
Be sure to label the jar with the name of the herb and the liquid you've used. A tincture made with apple cider vinegar is much different than one made with alcohol. Don't trust your memory.
Have you ever used cayenne as a healing herb? Have you grown your own?
Disclaimer: I am not a medical doctor nor a veterinarian.
You are responsible for your own health and for that of your animals.
Please do your own research before using any products, plants, herbs, and essential oils.
My hope is to inspire you, and to encourage your homesteading plans and your dreams of a
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