How to Make a High Heat Medicinal Grade Cayenne Pepper Tincture


Do your taste buds a favor, and set your mouth on fire! Turn on the body’s “bitter senses” to help stimulate detox and digestion.

Medicinal cayenne is one of the most useful tools for one’s natural medicine cabinet.  Not only will high heat cayenne used sublingually stop a heart attack in its tracks, it will also stop wound bleeding in seconds.  Cayenne is one of those herbs that makes everything work better.

High heat medicinal grade cayenne pepper is the single most alkaline natural food that can safely be used in the body.  Often known as one of the best antioxidant “heart foods” in nature, cayenne acts as an incredibly effective circulatory system stimulant, which translates to improved absorption of any supplements and/or herbs it is used with.

High heat cayenne pepper, when used in any significant concentration, should always be used sublingually in order to avoid stomach cramping.  Holding cayenne under the tongue for one to three minutes not only will eliminate stomach discomfort from use, but doing so will also dramatically improve  its systemic effect.  Cayenne is not one of those herbs to be used in capsules.  To get the full benefit, really get the endocrine system involved by setting the mouth on fire!  Using cayenne in sublingual formulations is one of the best ways (aside from formulas such as Swedish Bitters) to change how the taste buds actually function.

Dr. Richard Schulze and Dr. Christopher were both masters of this amazing herb, and I’m pleased to follow in their significant foot steps with a custom tutorial on how to make a tincture of “volcanic” preportions!

When choosing peppers to use, always be sure to purchase full pods.  There are peppers for sale which have most of the heat stripped out of them.  Purchasing the entire dried pod ensures a quality product.

I use Carolina Reaper Peppers (over 2,000,000 scovian heat units) and Trinidad Scorpion Moruga Peppers as my heat, and accent with others for variety.  I will often use Dr. Schulze’s cayenne powder mix, and add 1 to two tablespoonfuls of the powder to my tincture because of the wide variety of quality peppers used in his formula.

carolina-reaper-pepperCarolina Reaper – Dried Pod – Current Record Holder for the Highest Heat Rating

Trinidad Scorpion Moruga – Dried Pod (Old Record Holder)

Carolina Reapers: A Bit Darker and Smaller than the Trinidads

Carefully Crush Peppers – Grinding is not Necessary

Making the tincture is simple.  Use a mason canning jar, and add equal amounts of the dried pepper, and either 100 proof grain alcohol (organic is great) or organic vinegar (raw apple cider vinegar is best).  For a less potent batch, fill the canning jar up 1/2 – 1/3 with the crushed pepper, and then fill the jar with grain alcohol or vinegar.

Allow the tincture to “brew” for six weeks, shaking daily.  For a more potent product, at week 4, carefully drain the liquid out of the mason jar, and then crush the “wet” peppers while still in the canning jar.  Once they are nice and pulverized, pour the tincture liquid back into the canning jar, seal, and let sit for another two weeks.

After six weeks, one can decant or strain the tincture and store in amber glass bottles.  A cayenne tincture will last for years, improving with age.

Make absolutely certain to wear protective gear when working with and crushing these high heat peppers!


Gloves and Mask Required!



Why not completely grind the pepper?  Won’t that make an even more powerful end product?

Yes it will, but this is not necessary.  Crushing the pods, as apposed to completely grinding or milling them into a powder, reduces oxidation.  While the capsicum (the heat) won’t be affected by oxidation, there are other components and properties to consider.

Why not use pharmacolgy grade capsicum?  Aren’t these powders even hotter?

Yes, there are isolates out there rated at around 9,000,000 SHU.  However, no traditional herbalist would consider this an actual herb.  With traditional herbology, we like to include the entire herb in the formulation.

The cayenne tincture is part of phase 2 of the Eytons’ Earth Digestive System Recovery and Detox Program.

Please note:  We currently purchase our pepper pods (and powder) here..


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30 thoughts on “How to Make a High Heat Medicinal Grade Cayenne Pepper Tincture”

  1. On cayenne: “To get the full benefit, really get the endocrine system involved by setting the mouth on fire!”

    I’ve totally seen people get intended medicinal effects from cayenne by combining medicinal grade cayenne powder with water and “cayenne pulling” it. (Meaning, swishing it around in the mouth, but not swallowing it.) I used to use the swishing method while taking my morning shower to get rid of congestion and wake up. But it’s too “heating” for me these days; my system doesn’t react positively to it for the time being.

    I think it’s true that getting a real medicinal grade pepper or pepper powder is worth its weight in gold. I read a book (Curing With Cayenne) on it being used as an emergency heart attack remedy. The same book was talking about lobelia herbal tincture as an emergency seizure protocol and for delivering mothers, and about slippery elm powder to stop bleeding and heal wounds. I’ve tried the slippery elm with a high quality herb powder, and most of the time it works like herbal stitches…!

    Maybe people with weak hearts would do good to carry some homemade cayenne tincture as part of their (otherwise complete) emergency kit, especially when planning trips to high altitude locations. Who knows – could save a life!

    1. Hi Colby:

      Yes, indeed to all of the above. My tinctures are so hot now that I have to have a “newcomer” take ONE DROP, place it on their finger, then on their tongue, so that they really “get it” when I say to only add up to three drops to other tinctures or herbs. But then, for the full medicinal effect, I take about 20-40 drops and hold it “in mouth” for at least three minutes.

      One time I had to sneeze right after I used it. I quickly swallowed the cayenne before doing so. I was doubled over with stomach spasms for about five minutes. The discomfort passed as quickly as it came; there is no real harm, but if someone isn’t expecting such a reaction, it can freak them out! :o)

  2. So what is the recommended dosage for “newcomers” other than one drop under the tongue? How would a newcomer stop a heart attack using this method if they have never taken this tincture before? We have a friend whose wife was having a heart attack and he put a dropper full down her and it cured her. We don’t want to overdo a dosage should the need arise. Thanks.

    1. Hi Tracy:

      The only consequence of using too much cayenne is a burning sensation. If the cayenne is swallowed too quickly, an individual may experience stomach pain and cramping. It’s all temporary.

      Dosage is completely individualized based on tolerance! Each person has a different tolerance level. Using cayenne medicinally… sublingually… should never be a comfortable experience for the best effect. Just always keep the cayenne tincture (or powder) in-mouth for 3-5 minutes!

    1. Greetings, Rad:

      Everyone has different tolerance levels. Start out with just a pinch in a little bit of warm water if you are using powder. Increase the amount used in order to get the desired effect. Always hold in the mouth for at least three minutes to avoid stomach cramping and to experience the full medicinal effects!

  3. Hello. Thanks for this great information. Last year I made a cayenne tincture using cayenne powder (130,000 scoville units) and 80 proof vodka. It was sitting in my cupboard for a while as I wasn’t sure what to do with it. Then I remembered that it can be used sublingually to strengthen and revive the heart and circulation. A few days ago I had a sluggish bowel and so I used 2 drops of the tincture sublingually about half hour before breakfast and after I had about 800ml of filtered water on rising(which I do every morning). I was very pleased with the result of four BMs that day. I used for another 2 days with similar results. I also feel more energetic during the day. I think I will make it a daily practise, maybe increasing the dose with time. I may even try the Carolina reaper and the scorpion later on. BTW, I am from Trinidad but I was not much of a pepper person until recently. We use a lot of Scotch bonnet to flavour sauces and stews. It is put whole in the stew to give it the flavour minus the heat and we have to check to ensure that it has not burst in the process. If this happens then the dish may have to be discarded depending on how much heat has escaped into it. Cayenne is great stuff. I use it regularly as a food seasoning and in some salad dressings and dips.

    1. Greetings, Gizelle:

      Thanks for “stopping by”. Cayenne is awesome, no doubt!

      Keep in mind that the body does build up a tolerance to its effects, so one does need to increase the dosage as time progresses. Also, it can be advantageous to take a break from it every once and awhile. I myself use cayenne daily, usually combined with lemon juice and liposomal Ceylon cinnamon essential oil (just a few drops).

      Alcohol tinctures of cayenne last a very, very long time!

  4. I’m trying to make a comfrey-based menstrum (coconut+olive oil) that has CAPSAICIN added to it. Would I be better served to make a tincture like your process here – and then use the tincture as drops in the infused menstrum of dried comfrey?

    OR infuse the dried chili pepper simultaneously with the dried comfrey?

    Thanks for the good advice you’ve offered here.

    1. Hi Seth:

      You probably don’t want the grain alcohol from the tincture. You could remove the grain alcohol by evaporating the alcohol out of it, but it all would probably be easier just to do your infusion… unless you really need to add more heat.

  5. Thanks bunches … the best solution is the simplest: make a concentrated infusion of the CR chili peppers in the same menstrum of coconut+olive oils I now use for the comfrey. This allows for better testing buy micro-managing the capsaisin tincture to the current base. It’ll be interesting seeing how much of this high-powered tincture (re above) needs to get mixed. I want a reddish tint, so I will use additional cayenne pepper.

    I’ve been blessed today with the ‘high quality’ advice I received from several informed individuals in moving this specific cayenne-focused event forward. You were one of these. KISS works!

    Thank you./spirits.

  6. I obtained a supply of Carolina Reapers and have processed several batches by infusing the crushed and cut CRs into my standard infusion of coconut oil, olive oil and dried comfrey. I have not conducted an actual analysis of the results.

    I bought a roll-on tube of 0.15% CAPSAICIN at CVS to compare my infused product with this 0.15% ‘standard’ product. I applied the 0.15% CASAICIN on my wrist and felt an obvious ‘heat’ which dissipated within 30-45 minutes.

    I did NOT get the same ‘heat’ sensation when I applied my own infusion to the other wrist. I realize that applying an ointment may involve different volumes than directly applied from a roll-on applicator. But is this a fair equivalency: comparing the ‘heat’ of 0.15% CAPSAICIN to my own ointment.

    I’m up to six CRs (the whole pepper, roughly cut and diced) per cup of combined oils PLUS two TBS of ground 90K SHU cayenne pepper – that seems like a lot but I have no experience handling the CRs and their resultant extraction via infusion. Given the extremely high SHUs of the CRs, I expected more ‘heat’ to be experienced. i definitely feel an obvious tingle when applied to my lips.

    Any comments you might have will be welcomed and appreciated.

    Thanks very much for your help, cooperation and website. Spirits,


    1. Hi Seth:

      Thanks for the comments/questions.

      Please keep in mind that the formulations that are store bought are made with USP grade… and pure… capsaicin extract. It’s like trying to compare apples and oranges.

      With a tincture, using a small amount has almost no notable heat at all, unlike even using a store bought, “food” grade cayenne pepper powder.

      Take one drop of tincture in two ounces of water. Compare that to five drops in two ounces of water (under the tongue)…. and then amp up to a 50% solution.

      The bottom line is that you have to determine the amount of tincture to use in you formulations by testing. It could be that an alcohol tincture is not the ideal extract for your use. It is possible that a small amount of powder in your formulations might work better.

      You can also buy pure extract, but I don’t think it has the same energetic qualities as using a traditional extract.

      1. You ARE the rare person who reads a thought and responds to the issues. Thanks.

        Another herbalist friend, just this morning, reminded me of one of your main points: That the commercial grade capsaicin is just that: full of content but lacking soul. I want the entire process to share a wholeness each step along the way.

        I’m using the Carolina Reapers as source, grinding them a bit – and infusing directly with the comfrey into the oils. Keep it simple and clean. I’ve decided, from your comments and Amy’s, to resist going for the overt heat signal (a la commercial Capsaicin) and do my last formulation, which is about one CR pod per oz.

        Thanks very much for the thoughts and encouragement. Spirits,

        1. Hi Seth:

          I’m glad that you’ve worked it out. This is probably not worth mentioning, but sometimes you also have to be careful where you source the pepper pods from. I understand that there are a lot of fraudulent sources. To be sure that your pods are hot, you simply have to mix some powder with a bit of water, and place it in mouth, to see if it is quality pepper.

  7. What do you do with the wet crushed peppers after you’ve siphoned off the tincture? Can you repeat the process with the same crushed pepper base? Will it be weaker? Can you let the wet evaporate and use the once again dry crushed pepper directly on food? Will the re-dried pepper be less hot after going through the tincture process than it was beforehand?

    1. If you’ve done it right, they can only be used once. Even when I’ve tried to use a grinder and then tried to make a 2nd tincture, the results were not worth pursuing. That said, I do usually let my cayenne tinctures “brew” for six to nine months.

  8. I am about to make another batch of Cayenne tincture. I am wondering to grind true cinnamon and add to cayenne when making a 2 month brew.

    I am taking serrapeptase first thing in the morning – being lazy and not having a PH test kit, what is alcohol cayenne tincture PH value because you need to avoid acid for it to work? Although I read cayenne is alkaline, I expect alcohol to make it acidic.

    1. Hi Peter:

      The best thing to do would be to evaporate out all of the alcohol content by using a low heat source (and perhaps a fan angled on the surface). You can get an alcohol hydrometer at Amazon for six or seven dollars, and then measure the alcohol content; allow it to evaporate until you read zero alcohol present, and then refrigerate the tincture when not in use.

      To use the hydrometer, you just need the hydrometer and a glass cylinder. If you used 50% alcohol, then you’ll lose about half the volume. You can add back in water to make up the difference, if desired.

      Otherwise, yes, vodka/grain alcohol is VERY acidic.

      1. Thanks for confirming my thoughts on the pH scale (it’s just good to know for sure), no worse than Vitamin C. I was curious because I take collagen plus Vitamin C on an empty stomach roughly 2 hrs after serrapeptase and have considered adding drops of cayenne to this brew.

        Knowing cayenne can multiply the effects of other herbs, spices, etc, I just want to make sure I am not counter acting anything while using cayenne.

        Keeping check on ones pH level is another subject, although everything is relative.

  9. Came across this when planning a cayenne tincture and was surprised by the implication here that a cayenne tincture for shock or for treating a heart attack might require much hotter peppers. Will a tincture using organic cayennes from the farmer’s market not do the trick in an emergency?

    1. Hi M.J.:

      If your body hasn’t adjusted to the “regular” hot peppers, than using them will work just fine! As long as you can get the catalyst reaction (face flushed, etc.), then it will work as described.

  10. Just thought of another question for you before I embark on making my tincture. You use dried peppers, it appears. My cayennes and habaneros are fresh. Do I need to dry them first, or can I tincture the fresh peppers (in Everclear…190 proof)? Thanks for all the help and instruction.

    1. I’ve never seen anyone try to make a tincture with fresh peppers. I’m not sure how it would turn out. You can experiment yourself (experimenting with evercleer gets expensive), or simply use the traditional method of drying them first.

      1. Hi. I just saw a recipe for what they call Pepper Juice Tincture which uses fresh peppers, garlic, onions etc. Just fyi since I’m researching. Site is traditionalcookingschool dot com.

  11. Eyton,
    Have you considered giving this tincture the liposome treatment? Possibly it would help with the heat and allow for a larger dose. Since reading your lipo post on EO i have been wondering what else lends its self to this treatment. Is it possible to encapsulate tinctures and how would this change the pharma kinetics?

    1. Absolutely, you can do this.

      Since I want the systemic, catalyst effect which occurs with the “maximum heat” released in-mouth, I don’t want to encapsulate the cayenne. If you want, however, the cayenne to have a greater systemic, direct effect deep within the body, then encapsulation would be ideal.

  12. So, you drop under the tongue, let it sit and then rinse? Or, are you supposed to swallow that Fire?!?! I’m ignorant when it comes to sublingual application. Help a guy out!

    1. Hi Shawn:

      You dilute, hold under the tongue or on the tongue for at least 3 minutes, then most people swallow it.

      Dilution depends upon tolerance, and the strength of the current tincture.

      With tinctures, it’s great because you can make a very dilute, mild dilution, or an incredibly strong/powerful one, simply by using more or less drops.

      To dilute it, simply add the desired number of drops in a “bit” of water… less than an ounce, I use a small shot glass filled about half way with water.

      1. Thank you, Sir, for the response, I greatly appreciate it. I will definitely try it that way. I think I’ve been diluting mine too much. My current tincture is ghost peppers and some left over cayenne from Dr. Richard Schulze. I think I’ll take baby steps towards the various Scorpion variety. Lol! Cheers!

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