(Annuum, Linn.) Common Capsicum. Guinea or Chili Pepper. Nat. Ord. Solanaceae-. Linn. Syst. Pentandria Monogynia. Hab. The Tropics generally. Imported from the Coast of Guinea and the East and West Indies.
Med. Prop. and Action. The berry or fruit (off.) is an acrid stimulant. In small medicinal doses it causes a sensation of warmth in the stomach, promotes the digestive process, and stimulates the genitourinary organs. In excessive doses it is an irritant poison. Externally applied it is rubefacient. Its activity depends upon a volatile principle, Capticine. which Pereira states is so .powerful an irritant, that half a grain of it, volatilized in a large room, causes all who inspire it to cough and sneeze. Capsicum may be given internally in powder or in tincture. The tincture is a good adjunct to the Oil of Turpentine.
Offic. Prep. Tinctura Capsici (Capsicum bruised oz.3/4; Rectified Spirit Oj.). Dose, ev. - exv.
Dose of powdered Capsicum, gr j. - gr. v.
In Scarlatina, the following formula, originally proposed by Dr. Stephens, * has been used with much success, particularly in that form of the disease which occurs in the West Indies. Take two tablespoonfuls of Capsicum and two teaspoonfuls of salt; beat them into a paste, and add half a pint of boiling water. When cold, strain, and add half a pint of Vinegar. Of this mixture, the dose for an adult is one table-spoonful every four hours. The quantity is to be diminished for children, according to age or the severity of the attack. The same formula forms an excellent gargle in the sore throat which accompanies the disease.
of Tincture of Capsicum added to Oss. of Port Wine, forms an excellent stimulating gargle. It will produce as much effect thus employed as three times the quantity of Capsicum in a less stimulating vehicle.
* Med. Commentaries, vol. ii.
712. In Atonic Dyspepsia, especially that occurring in hard drinkers, and in that of persons who -have been long resident in hot climates, Capsicum is a very eligible stimulant and stomachic. The following pills may be employed with advantage, two being taken daily, an hour before dinner: -Pulv. Capsici gr. ij. - iij., Pil. Rhei Co. gr. v., Pulv. Ipecac. Had. gr. 1/2, M. ft. pil ij.
Wright* speaks in high terms of Capsicum, given internally, as a means of obviating the black vomit.
714. In Delirium, in the Coma of Fever, in Apoplexy, and in other cerebral affections, a Capsicum cataplasm to the feet is a powerful and excellent revulsive. If kept on too long, it will cause vesication. In Delirium Tremens, Mr. Ferneley has successfully employed an infusion of Cayenne Pepper (3ij. ad Aq. Ferv. Oj.; strain, and, when cool, add sugar and citric acid to suit the taste). He states that he has almost invariably found this (taken in divided doses) to be followed by more healthy perspiration, refreshing sleep, and subsidence of nervous excitement.
715. In Diarrhoea arising from putrid matters in the Intestines, and especially when it is occasioned by fish, Dr. Copland regards Capsicum as almost a specific.
716. In Hoarseness depending upon a relaxed or weakened condition of the Chordm Vocales, Dr. Graves§ advises a gargle composed of T. Capsici 3j. and Decoct. CinchonAe vj., to be used five or six times a day. The quantity of T. Capsici may be gradually increased.