Can you burn a hole in your throat by eating a hot pepper? This guy did.

Bhut jolokia (ghost pepper, grown in India) is the world’s hottest chili pepper.  Consumption of this pepper caused a middle-aged man to vomit violently and tear a hole in his throat.  [Daily Mail Oct 17, 2016]

Hot peppers are given a “heat” rating (Scoville rating).  For comparison, tabasco has a Scoville rating of 100 and Jalapeno peppers 2500.  Ghost peppers have a rating of 1 million.  Capsaicin is the molecule in peppers that creates the receptors in your mouth that sense pain and discomfort.  However, there are therapeutic uses of capsaicin.

  • Capsaicin applied topically helps to relieve joint pain. [Rheumatology Clinic Aug 26, 2016]
  • Capsaicin is more than just an analgesic.   It is considered an anti-obesity agent via its ability to trigger the production of desirable brown fat that raises rates of metabolism. [British Journal Pharmacology Aug 2016]
  • Capsaicin has been shown to reduce beta amyloid plaque in the brain. [Journal Alzheimer’s Disease April 8, 2016]
  • Capsaicin desensitizes pain receptors and can be used to treat headaches, diabetic neuropathy and other types of pain. [Drugs 1997]

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