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What is a cayenne pepper?

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Quick Answer

Cayenne pepper is a colloquial term for Capsicum annuum, or red hot chili pepper. This fiery fruit is often dried, ground and sold as the powdered spice of the same name and is used in spicy dishes.

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Full Answer

Cayenne pepper may be consumed in a variety of ways, including fresh, dried, and flaked. It is also used in a variety of commercially available hot sauces. Cayenne pepper is not only consumed for its taste but also its purported health benefits, which include the symptom relief for gastrointestinal upset, cardiovascular problems, topical pain, and hay fever. Cayenne pepper is often sold in capsule form for use as a supplement.

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