Capsaicin: The substance responsible for the spiciness of chilies

Capsaicin is a natural substance that occurs in chilies and is responsible for their heat. It was first described in 1816 by the pharmacologist Willem Hendrik Peters. It is a water-insoluble substance found in the membranes and seeds of chilies and is responsible for the spiciness we feel in our mouths.

Capsaicin acts on the pain receptors in our mouth and throat, triggering the feeling of spiciness. It also triggers the release of endorphins, which can lead to a pleasant feeling of warmth and euphoria, sometimes referred to as "runner's high."

Capsaicin potency is measured in Scoville Heat Units (SHU). The higher the capsaicin content, the higher the sharpness. Some well-known examples are: Jalapeno, which has 2,500 to 8,000 SHU; habanero, which has 100,000 to 350,000 SHU; and the Ghost Pepper, which reaches up to 1 million SHU.

Capsaicin also has health benefits. It is shown to boost metabolism and increase fat burning. It can also help relieve pain and reduce inflammation. It is also believed to have a preventive effect against certain types of cancer.

Capsaicin can be consumed in various forms, such as in capsaicin supplements that come in capsule or tablet form, or in the form of capsaicin creams that can be applied topically to the skin to relieve pain. It is important to follow the correct dosage to avoid unwanted side effects.

Overall, capsaicin is the most important component responsible for the spiciness of chilies. It also has health benefits such as boosting metabolism and relieving pain. However, it is important to observe the correct dosage and to consider the individual sensitivity to heat in order to avoid unwanted side effects. It's also important to note that capsaicin is only one aspect of chillies and it's important to consider the overall characteristics of different strains in order to choose the right strain for your intended use.

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