Capsicum. - Synonyms. - Cayenne Pepper. Guinea Pepper. African Pepper. The fruit of Capsicum fastigiatum Blume (nat. ord. Solanaceae).

Habitat

Tropical America; cultivated in tropical countries.

Characters

Oblong-conical, from 10 to 20 mm. long, supported by a flattish, cup-shaped, five-toothed calyx, with a red, shining membranous and translucent pericarp, enclosing two cells, and containing flat, reniform, yellowish seeds attached to a thick, central placenta. It has a peculiar odor, and an intensely hot taste. Dried and powdered it constitutes red pepper.

Composition

The chief constituents are - (1) Capsaicin, C9H14No2, a crystallizable acrid substance. (2) Capsicin, a volatile Alkaloid smelling like Coniine. (3) A fixed oil. (4) A Resin. (5) Fatty matter.

Impurities

Various red substances, e.g., red-lead.

Dose, 1 to 8 gr.; .06 to .50 gm.

Preparations

1. Extractum Capsici Fluidum. - Fluid Extract of Capsicum. By maceration and percolation with Alcohol, and evaporation. Dose, 1 to 8 m.; .06 to .50 c.c.

2. Oleoresina Capsici. - Oleoresin of Capsicum. By percolation with Ether and distillation, and evaporation of the residue.

Dose, 1/4 to 1 m.; .015 to .06 c.c.

3. Tinctura Capsici. - Tincture of Capsicum. Capsicum, 50. By percolation with Alcohol and Water to 1000.

Dose, 5 to 60 m.; .30 to 4.00 c.c.

4. Emplastrum Capsici. - Capsicum Plaster. Resin Plaster and Oleoresin of Capsicum. Cover muslin with the melted plaster, coat it when cool, by brushing on the Oleoresin.

Action Of Capsicum

The action of capsicum is like that of volatile oils generally. Thus externally it is a powerful rubefacient, irritant, and counter-irritant. Internally in small doses it stimulates the gastric secretions, causes dilatation of the gastric vessels, and excites the muscular coat. It is therefore stomachic and carminative.

Therapeutics Of Capsicum

External

Capsicum ointment B. P. - Capsicum, 6; spermaceti, 3; olive oil, 22; which resembles Smedley's paste is used as a counter-irritant for pleurisy, sciatica, neuralgia and rheumatic pains.

Internal

Capsicum is used as a condiment. Medicinally it is given as a stomachic and carminative in dyspepsia, particularly that of drunkards when it is required either to excite the appetite and digestion, or to cause the evacuation of gas.