A few items of interest about chili peppers

In Aruba we all know the Madam Jeanette. Originally from Surinam, it’s related to the Habanero family with the same aromatic and fruity flavor and pungency of the habanero. Most Aruban families have a plant or two in there backyard for daily supplies.

In 1912, Wilburr Scoville developed a scale to measure heat level in chillies. On first it was a subjective taste test, but after it has been refined and was named after its inventor.

Hot peppers contain a chemical compound called "capsaicin" which give you the burning sensation upon contact with skin, mouth or other sensitive parts of your body. The number of Scoville Heat Units (SHU) indicate the amount of capsaicin present. Pure capsaicin has a Scoville Heat Unit score of 16 million.

Put out that fire please!

Don’t drink beer or water. That only will spread the burn around your mouth. Dairy products such as milk, yogurt, sour cream and cottage cheese do the best job of breaking the chemical bond between the capsaicin and your mouth lining. Bread also can help soak up the pain.

It burns, but I feel pretty good. Why?

When the body feels pain, it releases neurotransmitters called endorphins. These are natural painkillers and can produce an overall sense of well-being. It’s what produces a “runner’s high” and a “hot sauce high.”

How hot are these peppers?


Naga/Bhut Jolokia

The Naga Jolokia (Naga Morich, Bhut Jolokia) from India tested as the worlds hottest pepper at 1,040,000 SHU

Red Savina and Habanero

The Red Savina and Habanero Peppers are rated at 580,000 SHU


The jalapeno rates at 5000 SHU

Are hot peppers bad for you?

Probably not according the US National Library of Medicine. Capsaicin is one of the most researched substances in nutrition and medicine and leads to the following health benefits:

Triggers endorphins, decrease congestion, improves digestion, anti-inflammatory, reduces blood pressure, lowers cholesterol, improves circulation, anti cancer and prevents heart disease.