Keeping your feet warm is important to long-term foot health. As we get older, my husband and I have noticed that the circulation in our feet is poor and we need help keeping them warm in the winter. One cheap and easy way to keep them warm is using cayenne pepper.
I’m sure you’ve seen cayenne salve, sometimes called capsaicin salve or ointment, on the shelves at your local pharmacy or supermarket. It is used to relieve back and neck pain by warming the muscles and loosening them up. It works the same way on the feet. You don’t need to pay pharmacy prices, though; you can use these homemade pepper remedies to warm your feet all winter for just pennies.
Will Any Pepper Work?
Any peppers that contain capsaicin will work. You should be careful about using peppers that are too high on the Scoville scale; they could burn your skin. On the other hand, peppers on the low end might not be hot enough.
You can even use your homemade peppers. Dry them first on a dehydrator or in the oven to remove all water, then use a grinder to turn them to powder.
Sprinkle Cayenne Powder on Your Feet to Keep Them Warm
The cheapest and easiest way to use hot pepper to warm your feet is to sprinkle a little bit on your foot or into your socks. You do need to be careful not to use too much, and to get it evenly spread over the feet. Test a tiny amount first; some people are more sensitive to peppers. Use more or less cayenne, depending on your sensitivity.
One good way to limit the amount of pepper and help get it evenly distributed is to add a small amount of pepper, maybe 1/2 teaspoon, into 1/4 cup of cornstarch or foot powder. Mix it well and use a teaspoon in each sock. Move the sock around a bit to get the powder evenly distributed. Of course, you could also shake the powder evenly onto your feet from a sifter or shaker jar. This method keeps your feet warm and dry. It is great for using on a cold, wet day, or when working in snow.
Eat Hot Peppers to Keep Your Hands and Feet Warm
When you heat hot peppers, it warms up your entire body. The active ingredient in hot peppers like cayenne is capsaicin. Capsaicin causes the blood vessels to dilate, causing extra blood flow and providing warmth to the hands and feet. Some people feel the effect immediately, while others feel the heat increase gradually, over time.
Eating hot peppers also has the benefit of adding valuable nutrition to your diet. Peppers contain many beneficial vitamins, anti-oxidants, and anti-inflammatories. Peppers can keep you warm and healthy through the winter.
Make a Cayenne Pepper Salve
You’ve probably seen the commercially available salves made with cayenne pepper. Some also contain ginger or essential oils, depending on their use. These salves will warm your feet while staying in place throughout the day. They are also beneficial for healing the skin, depending on what type of oils you add.
You don’t have to pay a fortune for these cayenne salves. You can make your own with this simple recipe. Most recipes call for a double boiler, but I take a shortcut and use my crockpot and a mason jar for infusing the oil and melting the beeswax. Follow my instructions below.
Cayenne Pepper Salve
- 2 Tablespoons cayenne powder
- 1/2 cup olive oil or other carrier oil
- 1/2-ounce beeswax
#1. Put one to two inches of warm water in the bottom of your crockpot and set it on medium.
#2. Place the beeswax into a small heatproof jar and the olive oil into a second small jar. I use 8-ounce mason jars.
#3. Add the cayenne powder to the oil and mix it thoroughly. Place the oil and pepper jar into the crockpot. I put the lid on loosely to keep condensation out of the jar. Place the lid on the crockpot and allow it to heat gently for 4 hours. (Or infuse it on low overnight)
#4. Remove the lid and place the jar with the beeswax into the crockpot and allow it to warm until the wax is melted.
#5. Remove the jars from the crockpot, dry off the outsides, and pour the oil through cheesecloth or a strainer, if desired, to remove the pepper. (optional)
#6. Stir the infused oil into the wax slowly. Stir the wax and oil are completely mixed.
#7. Pour the salve into small jars or tins and allow it to cool.
#8. Label the salve and store in a cool, dark place for future use.
Warnings When Using Cayenne
- Wash your hands thoroughly after touching hot peppers. A tiny speck left on your finger will cause a burning in your eye like you’ve never felt before. Trust me on this one! (I thought I was going blind.)
- Cayenne pepper can stain your socks and your feet.
- Pepper can burn if it gets into cuts or open wounds, so use with care.
- Use sparingly at first; it can warm more than expected. Gradually increase the amount until you find the right amount for you.
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