Capsicum frutescens L. var. BACCATUM (L)

Nota de alcance (en)

Capsicum frutescens is of South American Origin (BRUCHER 1989).

Historical background
Archaeological findings of Capsicum date back to 2000 B.C. in South America and as much as 7000 B.C. in Central America (BRUCHER 1989). Domesticated selections, some used for condiment, others for food preservation and as a vegetable already existed in 1590, when Padre Acosta wrote his 'Historia de las Indias'. Since the discovery of the New World by Columbus the Capsicum pepper has outstripped the black pepper (Piper nigrum) of Asiatic origin in production and trade, and gained the position of the most appreciated condiment of the world (BRUCHER 1989).

Capsicum species grow best in a warm climate. Capsicum frutescens is now cultivated all over Venezuela.

Ethnobotanical and general use

Nutritional use
The f~uit is used as a condiment. The capsaicin content m the glands of the septs stimulates the appetite and the secretion of the salivary gland in humans. The fruit is also a source of vitamin A and C. The more pungent a variety is, the more it is appreciated by the Indians. Capsaicin is the pungent principle.

Medical use
Name of the drug: fructus capsid. The Indians know a large variety of its medicinal applications. Capsicum is first of all used as a stomach remedy e.g. as an appetite stimulant and as a digestive. Natives eat the fruit raw to relieve flatulence. The recently detected vitamin P in Capsicum regulates blood circulation. Indians who live at very high altitudes in the Altiplano plateau take the fruit to improve blood circulation at high altitudes (4-5000 m a.s.l.). The alkaloid capsicin has bactericidal effects and is used as an antidysenteric. Ground fruit as a powder is added to food to relieve abdominal pain. In Ecuador, the fruit is used for odontological purposes. Further applications of the fruit are: accelerating difficult childbirth, against intoxication with the hallucinogenic drink prepar~d from Banisteriopsis, as a snuff to improve breathmg, to mask unpleasant tastes of medicinal drinks and even for the weaning of infants (the mothers smear the juice on the nipples to discourage further nursing) (BRUCHER 1989, SCHULTES & RAFFAUF 1990). The juice of the ingested fruit facilitates evacuation of the bile. . Fruit. .fruit is also used externally: a friction of the skm 1s used as a cutaneous irritant (rubefacient). Fruits are eaten for indigestion; gargles are for sore throat. Leaf Even leaves are applied: together with hot talcum the leaves are put on furuncles to cure them (RODRIGUEZ 1983). In the West Indies leaf decoctions are used to cure asthma, coughs, chest colds, consumption; leaf poultices are put on boils.

Method of use
The fruits are applied fresh or ground as a powder or are used in gargles. A tea and a poultice are prepared of the leaves. To prepare a tincture, 200 g fresh fruit are macerated in 60 % alcohol for 19 days.

Healing properties
Stimulant, tonic, digestive, regulator of blood pressure and circulation, bactericidal and antiseptic, emetic, haemorstatic, rubefacient, skin irritant dissolving agent, hyperaemic.

Chemical contents
Vitamin A and C, capsaicin (pungent component), vitamm P, the alkaloid capsicin. Overdoses taken internally can affect the digestive tract and the kidneys, externally applied, blisters and dermatitis. may be proveked; capsaicin produces hyperaemia and IS therefore also applied in rheumatism and arthritis.

Nota bibliográfica (en)

South American medicinal plants : botany, remedial properties, and general use / I. Roth, H. Lindorf. Berlin ; New York : Springer, c2002. -- p. 492.

Capsicum frutescens L. var. BACCATUM (L)
Término aceptado: 02-Feb-2017