The burn sensation you feel on your tongue from hot peppers is caused by a group of compounds called capsaicinoids. Capsaicinoids are responsible for the heat and pungency of hot peppers, and they interact with the pain receptors on your tongue and other tissues, creating a burning sensation.
Capsaicinoids are found primarily in the seeds and the white membranes of hot peppers, and the level of capsaicinoids in a pepper determines its level of heat. The heat of a pepper is measured on the Scoville scale, which ranges from 0 (no heat) to over 2 million (extremely hot).
When you eat a hot pepper, the capsaicinoids bind to the pain receptors on your tongue and other tissues, activating the pain signals and creating a burning sensation. The intensity of the burn can vary depending on the type of pepper, the part of the pepper consumed, and the individual’s tolerance to heat.
The burn from hot peppers can be intense, it’s usually not harmful. Some people may experience discomfort or even pain from eating hot peppers (especially a little sweating in the beginning), but for most people, the burn is temporary and disappears after a few minutes. Removing the seeds and the white membranes before cooking or eating them to reduce the heat.
Can Capsaicinoids be dangerous for humans?
Capsaicinoids are generally considered safe to eat. However, high doses of capsaicinoids can be dangerous and even toxic for humans. Capsaicinoids can cause skin and eye irritation, and if ingested in large amounts, they can cause stomach irritation, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. People with ulcers should not eat hot chilies. Additionally, some people may have an allergic reaction to capsaicinoids, which can cause symptoms such as itching, redness, and swelling. In rare cases, exposure to high doses of capsaicinoids can cause anaphylaxis, a severe and life-threatening allergic reaction.
It’s important to handle hot peppers with caution, as the capsaicinoids in the peppers can cause skin and eye irritation. If you come into contact with hot peppers, be sure to wash your hands thoroughly and avoid touching your face and eyes.
How many types of Capsaicinoids are there
There are several types of capsaicinoids, but the main ones are
- nordihydrocapsaicin, and
These four capsaicinoids are responsible for the heat and pungency of hot peppers, and they are found in different combinations and concentrations in different varieties.
Capsaicin is the most abundant and pungent of capsaicinoids, and it is found in high concentrations in most hot peppers. Dihydrocapsaicin and nordihydrocapsaicin are less common, and they have a similar level of heat and pungency as capsaicin. Homodihydrocapsaicin is less pungent than the others and it is found in lower concentrations. Each type of capsaicinoid contributes to the overall heat and flavor of hot peppers, and the combination and concentration of capsaicinoids in a pepper determine its level of heat and pungency.