The fiery bite of cayenne pepper can make food sing with flavor, but did you know that this dried spice also has many practical uses around the home, too?
Here are the top seven ways you can put cayenne to work around your home.
1. Protect your bird feeder: According to a plant regulatory officer from the West Virginia Department of Agriculture, birds are immune to the sting of chili peppers, while we mammals are most certainly not. By adding a little cayenne to your bird feed, you can ensure the food goes to the birds, while bullying squirrels are kept at bay.
2. Get rid of ants: Ants are insidious creatures, exploiting any opening in your home to get at your food. Try cayenne pepper for a natural ant control solution.
3. Curb kitty’s curiosity: Cats are fiends for cables and cords. I have no idea why, but the mere sight of a power chord or a pair of headphones can set a cat to “kill mode.” If you’d like to cure a curious cat of its chewing habit, rub a raw, sliced hot pepper on your cords, or whip up a quick hot sauce by dissolving ground cayenne into some vinegar. Apply to dangling chords on a regular basis to protect them from kitty’s wrath.
4. Protect your garden: If rabbits and rodents are chewing through your garden at night, you can protect your plants with a simple mixture of cayenne and water. Fill a spray bottle with the mixture and keep your plants coated, sending Thumper to your neighbor’s yard in search of a free meal. Steve Graham of Ft. Collins, CO said on Hometalk.com, "I sprinkled cayenne pepper and cut-up orange peelings in a planter that had become quite the litter box for neighborhood dogs and cats. It worked perfectly. You have to re-apply regularly, particularly during the warm season, when you are watering the flowers."
5. Reduce joint pain: Capsaicin, the burn-inducing substance in hot peppers, is also a powerful anti-inflammatory agent. According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, topical application of capsaicin can ease achy joints caused by arthritis.
6. Cure scaly skin: According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, capsaicin cream can help reduce itching and skin inflammation caused by psoriasis.
7. Lose weight: Although we don't officially endorse it, quite a few celebrities have lost weight quickly for film rolls by subsisting on a diet of cayenne pepper "lemonade" and water. Some studies claim that cayenne works as an appetite suppressant. As with all herbal remedies, check first with your doctor or a reputable homeopath before using cayenne pepper remedies.