Siling labuyo (Capsicum Frutescens) is a variety of cayenne pepper commonly found in Southeast Asian Region. It is small in size compared to its cousins from the west but this little chili pepper packs a lot more pungent odor and taste. Siling labuyo is widely used in traditional herbal medicine to alleviate pain and inflammation due to arthritis, gout and fibromyalgia.
Siling labuyo (capsicum frutescens) is a variety of cayenne pepper commonly found in Southeast Asian Region. It is commonly mistaken as capsicum annum which has many similar physical characteristics but siling labuyo has more pungent odor and taste.
Description of Siling Labuyo
Siling labuyo is an annual or short perennial erect plant growing to a height of .5 to 1.2 meters in warm climates. Siling labuyo plant has woody branches with leaves that are oblong with pointed tip about 3 to 8 cm in length.
Flowers bloom in a central axil, white, pale green or yellow-green in color. The fruit of siling labuyo is small, conical and tapering in shape about 1.5 to 3 cm long. Siling labuyo may be pale green or yellow turning red as it ripens and contains many small seeds. Siling labuyo may be small but it is considered as among the hottest variety of chili pepper.
Siling labuyo is widely used as folkloric herbal medicine. Siling labuyo is known for the following health benefits:
Fibromyalgia. Chili or siling labuyo consumption can improve the symptoms of fibromyalgia.
Relieves heavy menstrual bleeding. A decoction of half a teaspoon of siling labuyo mixed with warm water taken twice a day can alleviate symptoms of heavy bleeding.
Relieves pain and inflammation. Crushed siling labuyo is mixed with oil and massaged to joint pains, gout, arthritis and rheumatism to relieve pain and inflammation.
Can increase blood flow. Crushed siling labuyo is a strong rubefacient, or irritant that makes the skin to become red by causing dilation of the capillaries and an increase in blood circulation.
Antibiotic properties. Crushed leaves of siling labuyo are applied to skin wounds and sores, believed to possess antibiotic properties.
Decongestant. Siling labuyo infusion is used in treating cough and stuffed nose due to colds and fever. It is used to stimulate mucus flow from sinus cavities clearing the congestion.
Sore throat. Siling labuyo is used to treat sore throat when gargled.
Stomach problems. Infusion of siling labuyo is used as body stimulant and antispasmodic. It is used to treat flatulence and dyspepsia.
Toothache. Juice from crushed siling labuyo is applied into tooth cavities to relieve toothache.
Diabetes. Siling labuyo is believed to lower blood cholesterol and can help cure diabetes.
Fever and typhus. Infusion of siling labuyo is used to treat typhus and fevers.
Siling labuyo is a variety of Cayenne pepper whose therapeutic actions is used for various medical conditions which includes; rubefacient, vasomotor stimulant, aphrodisiac, expectorant, topical vasodilator, pain reliever and many others.
The active ingredient of cayenne pepper (siling labuyo) is capsaicin, a chemical compound that creates a feeling of burning pain. Capsaicin used in OTC topical pain reliever works by tricking the cells to release a substance that the brain interprets as burning pain thus acting on it, depletes the chemical signal resulting to pain relief.
In a study conducted in Germany, the pharmacodynamics action of capsaicin to relieve pain associated with neuropathic and musculoskeletal disorders has been confirmed. A group of people suffering from chronic nonspecific back pain has been given capsaicin plaster as treatment. After 3 weeks of treatment, results were compared to a control group who were administered with placebo. I was established that those who were given capsaicin treatment reported a notable reduction of pain as compared to those treated with placebo. This confirmed that repeated application of capsaicin bring about desensitisation to pain and that it is likewise reversible. (Journal: Arzneimittel-Forschung, 2001, vol. 51).
In a laboratory study, gastric epithelial cells were pre-treated with various concentrations of capsaicin then infected with H-pylori bacteria at different times to determine if capsaicin can inhibit the release of pro-inflammatory cytokine. Test results have shown that nontoxic dose of capsaicin inhibited H. pylori-induced IL-8 production by gastric epithelial cells through the modulation of IkappaB-, NF-kappaB-, and IL-8 pathways. This concludes that capsaicin can be proposed as a potential anti-inflammatory drug by inhibition of the production of IL-8 in H. pylori-infected gastric epithelium. (The Brain Korea 21 Project for Medical Science, Seoul, Korea: Helicobacter, October 2007).
In a crossover study done in Thailand, 12 healthy volunteers were given oral glucose tolerance test while taking placebo or 5 grams of capsicum. The results showed that plasma glucose levels in volunteers who received capsicum were significantly lower than those in the placebo group at 30 and 45 minutes (p < 0.05). Furthermore, plasma insulin levels were significantly higher at 60, 75, 105, and 120 minutes (p < 0.05). When comparing before and after capsicum intake, the results showed the insulin levels were maintained. This study suggests that 5 grams of capsicum can decrease the plasma glucose level and may have clinical implications in the management of type 2 diabetes (Pharmacological effects of capsicum frutescens in decreasing plasma glucose level; Journal of Medical Association of Thailand, January 2009)
In the course of study, it was observed that capsicum frutescens leaves are rich in carbohydrates, potassium and iron. The methanolic extract showed dose dependent antibacterial activity against S. aureus, K. pneumoniae and P. aeruginosa. The anthelmintic effect of all concentrations was lesser when compared to standard. (Pharmacognosy Journal, February 2010)
Siling labuyo (Capsicum Frutescens) plant can be readily grown in most soil even on pots. The plant can be available from your local horticulturist. The siling labuyo fruit however is widely available in most wet markets, grocery stores and supermarkets under the spices section. Siling labuyo can be bought by packets or by the kilo. Dried powdered form is likewise available as well as those in paste form.
There are many varieties of siling labuyo, but the local ones that are smaller in size compared to those that came from China and Taiwan are hotter and more potent.
Siling labuyo fruit. The fuit has a pungent and hot taste. It is usually used to spice foods. Pounded fruit are also mixed with carrier oil such as coconut oil and used to massage over the affected area.
Siling labuyo leaves. Fresh Siling labuyo leaves can be pounded or chewed and consumed by mouth. It can also be used in cooking.
Siling labuyo poultice. Fresh Siling labuyo leaves can be pounded and applied directly to the affected area.
Article last reviewed: 10.21.2016