Sweet Pepper (Capsicum annuum)

Common Name Latin Name Plant Family
Sweet Pepper
Capsicum annuum

None known

  • Medicinal Use

    The fruit of the hot, pungent cultivars is antihaemorrhoidal when taken in small amounts, antirheumatic, antiseptic, diaphoretic, digestive, irritant, rubefacient, sialagogue and tonic[7, 238]. It is taken internally in the treatment of the cold stage of fevers, debility in convalescence or old age, varicose veins, asthma and digestive problems[238]. Externally it is used in the treatment of sprains, unbroken chilblains, neuralgia, pleurisy etc[238]. It is an effective sea-sickness preventative[7].

  • Edible Use

    Fruit – raw or cooked[2, 33, 105, 132]. Some varieties are very hot (the chilli and cayenne peppers) and are normally used as a pungent flavouring whilst milder varieties (the sweet peppers) have a very pleasant flavour with a slight sweetness and are often eaten raw in salads etc[142, 238]. The dried fruits of chilli and cayenne peppers is ground into a powder and used as a pungent flavouring called paprika[238]. The powder from the dried ground fruit of some cultivars is added to food as a colouring[183]. The fruits range widely in size and shape, from a few centimetres long to more than 30cm[200].

    Young leaves are said to be edible[105] but some caution is advised. They are steamed as a potherb or added to soups and stews[183]. The leaves contain about 4 – 6% protein[183].

    Seed – dried, ground into a powder and used as a pepper[2].

    Flowers – raw or cooked[201].

  • Cautionary Notes

    Pungent-fruited peppers may cause painful irritation when used in excess, or after accidental contact with the eyes[238]. Although no reports have been seen for this species, many plants in this family produce toxins in their leaves. The sap of the plant can cause the skin to blister[200].

Cultivation & Habitat

Seed – sow late winter to early spring in a warm greenhouse[138]. The seed usually germinates in 3 – 4 weeks at 20¡c. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots of reasonably rich soil and grow them on fast. If trying them outdoors, then plant them out after the last expected frosts and give them the protection of a cloche or frame at least until they are established and growing away well.
Requires a very warm sunny position and a fertile well-drained soil. Prefers a light sandy soil that is slightly acid[201]. Tolerates a pH in the range 4.3 to 8.3. Plants can tolerate a small amount of frost[171], but this species does not normally do well outdoors in an average British summer and so it is usually grown in a greenhouse in this country[1]. However, if a very warm sheltered position outdoors is chosen then reasonable crops could be obtained in good summers. This species is widely grown throughout the world, but especially in warm temperate to tropical climates, for its edible fruit – the sweet and chilli peppers. There are many named varieties[183]. There are five basic forms of fruits, each form having various varieties. These forms are:- Cerasiforme. These have small cherry-shaped pungent fruits. Conioides. These fruits are cone-shaped and up to 5cm long. Many of them are grown as ornamentals, but some are also cultivated for food.. Fasciculatum. Also cone-shaped, but with pungent red fruits up to 7.5cm long. Grossum. These are the sweet peppers with large bell-shaped fruits and thick flesh. Longum. These are the cultivated hot cayenne and chilli peppers with long thin fruits up to 30cm long. The pungency of peppers depends upon the presence of a single gene, cultivars that lack this gene are the sweet peppers[238]. A short-lived evergreen perennial in the tropics[200], though the plants are grown as annuals in temperate zones[188]. Sweet pepper plants are good companions for basil and okra[20, 201]. They should not be grown near apricot trees, however, because a fungus that the pepper is prone to can cause a lot of harm to the apricot tree[201].
Probably native of the Tropics, but the original habitat is obscure.

Become ungovernable, break the chains of the matrix; grow and forage your own food and medicine.

*None of the information on this website qualifies as professional medical advice. Take only what resonates with your heart and use your own personal responsibility for what’s best for you. For more information [brackets] [000], see bibliography.