- Kingdom: Plantae; Division: Magnoliophyta; Class: Magnoliopsida; Order: Solanales; Family: Solanaceae; Genus: Capsicum.
- There are several distinct species, the most common being C. annuum (bell peppers, cayenne), C. frutescens (tabasco), C. chinense (naga, habareno, Scotch bonnet), C. pubescens (rocoto), and C. baccatum (aji peppers).
- The piquancy or spiciness of chilies is measured in Scoville heat units (SHU), after the American chemist who created it, Wilbur Scoville. SHU measures the amount of the active phytochemical—capsaicin—present in the chili.
- Common chilies found in Malaysia measure about 2 500 to 8 000 on the Scoville scale.
- The hottest chili in the world (recorded in the Guinness Book of Records) is Naga Jolokia that measures 1 041 427 units on the Scoville scale!
- The U.S. standard grade pepper spray measures 2 to 5 times the SHU of Naga Jolokia! (Oh, the pain ...)
- Pure capsaicin extracted from chilies is 15 to 16 times stronger!
- Why does your tongue "burn"? Capsaicin binds to your sensory neurons that maintain your temperature homeostasis locally, causing a rapid depolarization that continuously sends nerve impulses to the brain. This gives the same kind of effect that abrasive damage from heat or fire will cause.
- One of the best methods to relieve this sensation is to ... drink milk.
- Beneficial uses of chili's active compounds include:
- sending your stalkers to the torturous realm of pain (by the way, excessive amounts may cause death);
- reliving peripheral neuropathy pains;
- temporarily reliving muscle and joint pains caused by arthritis;
- tentatively suggested as a cure for diabetes (golly, that's interesting);
- tentatively suggested as a cure for lung and prostate cancers (this is even better!);
- deterring your annoying pests; and
- causing your tongue to tingle (heh, almost everyone loves this about chilies, don't they? =D).
Now, don't you appreciate your chilies more? Go to your local Tesco or Giant hypermarkets and get them while the stocks last.
[Note: I'm not paid by them to do this advertisements. =(]