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What is a Cayenne Pepper Detox?

Celeste Heiter
Celeste Heiter

A cayenne pepper detox is another name for the Master Cleanse, a stringent detoxifying diet. The cayenne pepper detox is intended for the elimination of toxins from the body, but it also is commonly used for weight loss. A detox is a solid food fast that lasts from 10 days to one month, or even longer in some cases. The primary component of a cayenne pepper detox is a drink made of filtered or bottled water, cayenne pepper, grade B maple syrup and lemon juice.

Also known by names such as the the Beyoncé Diet and the Lemonade Diet, the cayenne pepper detox was first introduced in 1976 in the book The Master Cleanser by alternative health practitioner Stanley Burroughs. Although there are many variations on the ratio of ingredients that can be used, Burroughs’ recipe for the cayenne pepper detox drink calls for eight to 10 ounces of water, the juice of half a lemon, two tablespoons of grade B maple syrup and one-tenth of a teaspoon of cayenne pepper. Organic ingredients are recommended, and the mixture should be consumed six times a day. Also included in the detox diet are a daily dose of saltwater in the morning and an herbal laxative tea at night.

Dried cayenne peppers.
Dried cayenne peppers.

The Master Cleanse resurged in popularity in the 1990s when alternative health practitioner Peter Glickman reintroduced Burroughs’ Master Cleanse in his book Lose Weight, Have More Energy & Be Happier in Ten Days. Burroughs and Glickman claim that the regimen eliminates harmful toxins, including prescription drugs, heavy metals, hormone additives, chemical fertilizers, pesticides and the residual effects of alcohol, tobacco, red meat and sugar. Reports of endorsements of the Master Cleanse by such celebrities as singer Beyoncé Knowles, rapper Trina, TV and radio personality Robin Quivers and actor Jared Leto helped bolster its renewed popularity.

A cayenne pepper.
A cayenne pepper.

There are conflicting opinions on the safety and effectiveness of a cayenne pepper detox. Many health practitioners assert that the liver, spleen, lungs, skin, lymph system and digestive tract act as natural detoxifying mechanisms, and that detoxifying regimens are unnecessary. Others warn against the dangers of malnutrition associated with extended fasting and extreme diets. On the other side of the debate, some doctors say that a cayenne pepper detox is harmless and is an effective method of weight loss. Side effects might include cravings, extreme hunger, lightheadedness, fatigue and watery bowel movements. Regardless of the pros and cons, always consult with a doctor before embarking upon this detox diet.

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    • Dried cayenne peppers.
      Dried cayenne peppers.
    • A cayenne pepper.
      By: artjazz
      A cayenne pepper.
    • The Master Cleanse uses a mixture of lemon juice, maple syrup and cayenne pepper.
      By: Printemps
      The Master Cleanse uses a mixture of lemon juice, maple syrup and cayenne pepper.