The Effects of Chilli

The fruits of chili plants contain the active ingredient “capsaicin” in varying concentrations. This alkaloid produces the extraordinary effect we experience when biting into a chili pepper. Up to 7 related substances, called “capsaicinoides”, work together to create this effect. To simplify things, we'll talk about “capsaicin” from now on.

The active ingredient capsaicin sends signals to the pain receptors of the mucous membrane, which forms part of the “trigeminal system”. This early warning system is located on the tongue, in the entire mouth and facial area and in the digestive tract. It is connected to the sense of smell and taste, as well as our heat and cold perception. So far scientists have not reached a unified explanation about the connections between these elementary human perceptions. In any case, chili shows an effect on all of these four areas. The main duty of the trigeminal system lies in triggering a physical reaction as soon as it is irritated by certain substances, thereby protecting us from danger. For example, consuming chili causes a range of different reactions: sweating, a runny nose, sneezing, teary eyes, coughing, hiccups, increased circulation, etc. Our body begins a detoxification process and creates an extra jolt with the release of endorphins, the body's own happiness-inducing hormones. As a result, the unpleasant or surprising effects which an especially spicy meal causes are usually accompanied by a smile.

Let's clear up some myths about chili at this point: long-term consumption of spicy food has not proven to produce any negative effects on the sense of taste! On the contrary, taste even becomes intensified through the correct “individual” dose of chili. The blood flow to the tongue increases, leading to increased salivation and allowing us to taste more – of course, only as long as we don't exceed the level of hotness our body can handle!

Sample a range of sauces in our shop to discover how much hotness your personal trigeminal system can deal with. If you have further questions, come and talk to us.

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