Although cayenne was probably cultivated for hundred even thousands of years in the tropical Americas, Africa, India and other tropical areas of the world, Columbus seems to have been the first Westerner to take conscious note of food flavored with this pungent herb.
The folk remedy uses of cayenne pepper are quite extensive. Since ancient times, it has been used by healers to cure panoply of ailments, asthma, fevers, sore throats and other respiratory tract infections, digestive disturbance, poultices and cancers.
Columbus brought cayenne back to Europe, whey it served as a substitute for black pepper, which since it had to be imported from Asia at the time, was very expensive.
Ancient history of cayenne pepper