Herb: Sweet Pepper

Latin name: Capsicum annuum

Family: Solanaceae (Nightshade Family, Potato Family)

Medicinal use of Sweet Pepper:

The fruit of the hot, pungent cultivars is antihaemorrhoidal when taken in small amounts, antirheumatic, antiseptic, diaphoretic, digestive, irritant, rubefacient, sialagogue and tonic. 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. Externally it is used in the treatment of sprains, unbroken chilblains, neuralgia, pleurisy etc. It is an effective sea-sickness preventative.

Description of the plant:


100 cm
(3 1/4 foot)

July to

Habitat of the herb:

Not known in the wild.

Edible parts of Sweet Pepper:

Fruit - raw or cooked. 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. The dried fruits of chilli and cayenne peppers is ground into a powder and used as a pungent flavouring called paprika. The powder from the dried ground fruit of some cultivars is added to food as a colouring. The fruits range widely in size and shape, from a few centimetres long to more than 30cm. Young leaves are said to be edible but some caution is advised. They are steamed as a potherb or added to soups and stews. The leaves contain about 4 - 6% protein. Seed - dried, ground into a powder and used as a pepper. Flowers - raw or cooked.

Propagation of the herb:

Seed - sow late winter to early spring in a warm greenhouse. The seed usually germinates in 3 - 4 weeks at 20C. 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.

Cultivation of Sweet Pepper:

Not known in the wild.

Known hazards of Capsicum annuum:

Pungent-fruited peppers may cause painful irritation when used in excess, or after accidental contact with the eyes. 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.

Plant information taken from the Plants For A Future.