Cayenne peppers ( red pepper) are a type of chili pepper. They belong to the nightshade family of flowering plants and are closely related to bell peppers and jalapeños. They were originally grown in Central and South America, but brought to Europe in the 15th century by Christopher Columbus. Cayenne peppers are a popular spice used in many different regional styles of cooking, and they have been used medicinally for thousands of years. These peppers boast an impressive nutrition profile, which includes a variety of antioxidants that are beneficial for your health.