Medical plants

Medicinal paprika

Medicinal paprika


Medicinal paprika (Capsicum annuum), also known as bird pepper or cayenne pepper, is closely related to the standard vegetable paprika and belongs to the Solanaceae family. The plant grows as a herb with small, oval or lanceolate leaves and can grow to a height of up to one metre. The white or yellowish flowers develop individually, in pairs or in threes in the leaf axils of the plant and hang downwards on bent flower stems that are 2 - 5 cm in length. The fruits, that are diverse in colour and shape, develop from the ovaries of the flowers. The fruits that are commonly referred to as ‘pods’, are classified botanically as berries and can be small and round, long and pointed or large and spherical, and can vary enormously in colour depending on the variety. Capsicum annuum is originally from Central and South America. According to historical documents, the Spaniards brought the first plants to Europe in 1514 under the name ‘pimiento’. Medicinal paprika is now grown across the globe in tropical and temperate zones.

The pain-relieving effects of medicinal paprika have been known to folk medicine for centuries. We now know that the active substance, capsaicin, that is obtained from the dried fruits and that also gives the pods their hot flavour, inhibits the body’s reaction to pain and inflammation. Among other applications, capsaicin is an important component in Tonsipret®, where it is used against painful inflammations of the throat and tonsils.

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