Chilli Peppers (Chillies)

Chilli Peppers (Chillies), despite their fiery hotness, are one of very popular spices known for their medicinal and health benefiting properties.

The Chilli plant is a small, perennial shrub with woody stem, growing up to a meter in height. The chilli, actually, is a fruit pod from the plant belonging to the nightshade family (Solanaceae), within the genus, capsicum.

It scientific name is Capsicum annum. Some of other common members in the Solanaceae family are tomato, aubergine, potato, etc.

Chillies are excellent source of Vitamin, A, B, C and E with minerals like molybdenum, manganese, folate, potassium, thiamin, and copper. Chilli contains seven times more vitamin C than orange.

The main component in chillies is a chemical called Capsaicin, which is responsible for the intense heat felt.

The usual spelling in American English is “chili,” but “chile” is an acceptable variant. The only spelling in British English is “chilli,” though the Brits use the term for both hot and sweet peppers.

(The plurals are “chilies” or “chiles” in the US, and “chillies” in the UK.)



Lowers Blood Sugar Levels

Eating chillies can have a very positive impact on people that are overweight or suffer from diabetes, say a team of researchers at The University of Tasmania, whose research was published published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, in July 2006. The study carried out yielded that the normal eating of chillies can help significantly control insulin levels after eating a meal. The actual data they collected was able to show that after eating Chillies, the amount of insulin needed to lower the body's blood sugar level following a meal was reduced by a staggering 60%. The exact way in which Chillies act to reduce the need of insulin by this amount is not fully understood yet, but it certainly spells good news for people who have diabetes, as the effects produced by consuming a low amount of Chilli are easy to achieve in everyday cooking.

Improve Heart Health, Boost Circulation, Thins Blood and Helps Protect Against Strokes

Often overlooked as circulation boosters, chillies can have a dramatic impact on your health by helping to boost circulation and also act as a thinner to help protect against strokes. Eating food with chillies every day is all you need to do to enjoy the multiple and important health benefits they have to offer. While you are reading this article, we would also like to point you to a link which we hope can be shared in order to spread awareness of the symptoms and warning signs of a stroke. A neurologist says that if you identify the symptoms and diagnose a stroke and treat within 3 hours, the effects can be completely reversed. A cardiologist says if everyone who gets this e-mail sends it to 10 people; you can bet that at least one life will be saved.

Provides Pain Relief & Reduces Inflamation

Capsaicin is well known to contain a Neuropeptide associated with the inflammatory process. Chilli related alterations in plasma proteins have been reported in patients with auto-inflammatory diseases such as rheumatoid and arthritis. The regular intake of chillies can help to minimise the effects these diseases have on the body. Capsaicin has also been found to provide effective pain relief without the numbing effect usually associated with anaesthetics, and the inability in some cases, to operate machinery, along with the usual sedative effects some Painkillers cause. Researchers at Havard University recently announced that they believe Capsaicin can be used to target pain receptors, without affecting nerve cells and causing the side effects mentioned above, which is a big plus. Real world uses for the compound might include: treating pain caused by Child Birth, providing effective pain relief during Dental Procedures without the side effects of numbness all day, enabling the patient to carry on with their daily tasks straight away, without delay. Many Painkillers currently in use today affect mental alertness, and the ability of a patient to function properly while the drugs are being administered. Capsaicin could provide a safe alternative to the unpleasant and inconvenient side effects associated with other Painkillers.

Acts as a Therapeutic & Relaxant

Many studies now reveal that Chillies can have a Therapeutic effect on the body, allowing one to relax more easily. Capsaicin blocks a natural chemical called Substance P, which is involved in the transmission and perception of pain. As a result Chillies can be useful in relieving and preventing common problems such as headaches, migraines and discomfort caused by sinus problems, allowing a person to relax more easily. Capsaicin also has antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties, which lend themselves perfectly to the relief of conditions such as irritable bowel, neuropathy caused by the onset of diabetes and psoriasis.

Helps Clear Congestion

No doubt you would have noticed the almost immediate relief of congestion, after eating a good hot curry if you have a cold...Chilies are great at quickly and effectively opening your nasal passages, allowing you to breathe more easily, although this is probably a side effect of preparing you for the panting following a particularly hot one!

Limits Spreading of Prostate Cancer

Cancer Reasearch published a study in March 2006 which concluded that Capsaicin helped stop the spread of prostate cancer. The Capsaicin found in Chillies triggered suicide in both primary types of prostate cancer cell lines. "It also dramatically slowed the development of prostate tumors formed by those human cell lines grown in mouse models" said Soeren Lehmann, M.D., Ph.D., visiting scientist at the Cedars-Sinai Medical Center and the UCLA School of Medicine.

Lowers Risk of Stomach Cancer

Chillies and Stomach Cancer have long been a topic of debate amongst researchers, with many varying opinions. Researchers at The Yale University of Medicine concluded in 1994 that Chilli Pepper consumption may cause increased risk of stomach cancer. Compared to non-consumers of Chili Peppers, consumers had an increased risk of stomach cancer (odds ratio 5.49; 95%). Among consumers, there was a highly significant trend of increasing risk with increasing self-rated level of Chilli Pepper consumption (high, medium, or low). That said, the study found that "definite conclusion is not warranted" because there was no assessment of dose relationship. Scientists have also found that Capsaicin inhibits cancer cell growth. It is probably fair to say, in conclusion, that any problems associated with eating Chillies, were found in cases where the intake was so high as to be excessive, and as we all know, too much of anything can be bad for you.




Ingesting hot peppers of any type can cause indigestion, particularly if you do not usually have them in your diet. The burning sensation that you experience in your mouth from eating hot peppers also can occur in your stomach during digestion. This can send the hot sensation back into your esophagus as gastric reflux.


While the hot peppers pass through the first stage of digestion in your stomach, they can unsettle your overall digestion. The fire sensations can disrupt your normally quiet digestion, again primarily if you do not eat hot peppers regularly. Proton pump inhibitors, H-2-receptor blockers and more traditional antacids can help suppress the stomach discomfort of digesting hot peppers.

Rectal Burning

As the hot peppers progress through your digestive tract, they can continue to retain some of the burning ingredients that makes them hot in the first place. This can cause a painful, burning sensation in your rectum as you pass stools containing any type of hot pepper waste. Although this side effect does not classify as serious, it can cause discomfort for a few days. Once your body acclimates to the inclusion of red peppers in your diet, this side effect may cease or decrease.

Skin Rash

Even if you do not eat hot peppers, you can experience a side effect from handling them. Capsaicin works its fiery sensation even on your skin if the juice from red peppers absorbs slightly. This can turn your skin red and cause the burning sensation or itch. Unless you are allergic to hot peppers, however, this type of side effect should occur only briefly and then dissipate. When handling hot peppers, wear gloves to avoid such a rash and burning sensations.




Last modified on Monday, 03 September 2018 14:56
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