There are 5 species of Capsicum (chilli) the group name taken from the Greek “kapto” which means “to bite”, Annuum, Baccatum, Chinense, Frutescens and Pubescens and there are thousands of varieties. They are rich in vitamin A which boosts your immune system. Also for those who are weight watchers some believe that eating chillies have an extra thermic affect, temporarily speeding up the metabolic rate, hence burning off calories at a faster rate (this is my reasoning for eating the amount of chilli that I do). The alkaloids from the capsicum are known to stimulate the action of the stomach and intestine improving the digestion process. Other claims laid at the chilli’s door are boosts to the immune system due to antioxidants, lower cholesterol and blood thinning properties beneficial for the heart and blood vessels, relieving post-operative pain, relief from arthritis, herpes simplex, easing overactive bladder, relief of cluster headaches and migraines, boosting endorphins to combat depression, eliminating sore throats for up to 3 hours (possibly because it numbs all your senses…), treatment of certain types of ulcers and various skin conditions like psoriasis.
The Scoville Scale
The method was invented by Wilbur Scoville in 1912. Mr. Scoville determined his test results by taking the extracts of many types of chili peppers and diluting them in a sugared water solution until none of the heat remained. The testing was accomplished by a panel of 5 “judges” who would taste these solutions and then tell Mr. Scoville when they no longer felt any heat.
Scoville Rating Type of Pepper
15,000,000 – 16,000,000 Pure capsaicin – unavailable through a natural grown plant and is only synthetically developed.
8,600,000 – 9,100,000 Unavailable through a natural grown plant and is only synthetically developed
2,000,000 – 5,300,000 Unavailable through a natural grown plant and is only synthetically developed
855,000 – 1,050,000 Bhut Jolokia aka Naga Jolokia (Hottest naturally grown pepper)
350,000 – 580,000 Red Savina Habanero
100,000 – 350,000 Habanero chili, Scotch Bonnet Pepper, Datil Pepper, Rocoto, Jamaican Hot pepper, African Birdseye, Madame Jeanette
50,000 – 100,000 Thai Pepper, Malagueta Pepper, Chiltepin Pepper, Pequin Pepper
30,000 – 50,000 Cayenne Pepper, Aji Pepper, Tabasco Pepper, some Chipotle pepper
10,000 – 23,000 Serrano Pepper, some Chipotle peppers
2,500 – 8,000 Jalapeño Pepper, Guajillo pepper, New Mexican varieties of Anaheim pepper, Paprika
500 – 250 Anaheim pepper, Poblano pepper, Rocotillo Pepper
100 – 500 Pimento, Pepperoncini
0 No heat, Bell pepper
I get most of my dried chillies from http://www.chillipepperpete.com/, in a few weeks I will have a recipe for a cracking chilli con carne which uses a chilli paste made up of 5 different Mexican dried chillies all of which you can get from Chilli Pepper Pete’s shop.
So if you thought that all chillies were good for was to burn off the roof of your mouth then think again because they could actually be doing you some good. Incidentally the ones which will blow your head off (Naga/Bhut Jolokia, Naga, Habanero, Scotch Bonnet) are all Chinense capsicums so head straight for those if you are a heat junkie!