Botanical Name: Capsicum annuum
- English: Chili pepper, Chili flakes, Crushed Chili
- Ayurvedic: Raktamaricha, Lankaa, Katuviraa
- Unani: Mirch, Filfil- e-ahmar, Filfl-e-surkh, Surkh mirch
- Also, known as: rissie, tian jiao, poivron, Spanischer Pfeffer, Chilli,Gewürzpaprika, hara mirh, paprika, pimento, pepperone, peppaa, cabai, Red pepper, Milagay, pimento, pimiento picante, phrik, biber
Habitat: Native to West Indies & Tropical America
Parts Used: Fruit
The word Capsicum, the genus of cayenne, may have been derived from the Greek kapto, meaning “to bite.” This “bite” is caused by the constituent capsaicin. The more capsaicin a pepper has, the more heat or bite to it. This amount varies greatly between species and varieties.
The fruits are fleshy, hollow berries, very variable in shape and size as a result of domestication and breeding over many centuries. They may be sweet and non-pungent (“sweet peppers” or “capsicum”) or hot (known as “chili peppers” in the USA and as “chilies” or “chilli” in British English). The fruits are used fresh or dry, often as flakes or powder (red pepper), ranging from paprika (mild) to cayenne (moderately hot).
One way of expressing this bite or heat is in Scoville heat units (SHU). Cayenne has around 20,000 to
50,000 SHU. For the sake of comparison, bell peppers have 0 and habaneros have more than 100,000.
Other members of the Capsicum genus include bell peppers, chilis, and habaneros. This genus is from the Americas and has been cultivated for at least 7,000 years. Some early explorers brought the seeds from South America to Europe, and they were so loved they quickly spread around the world.
There are many forms of Capsicum annuum, ranging from sweet (bell pepper) to hot (cayenne), including the famous Mexican ‘Jalapeño’ and ‘Serrano’, but also ‘Cascabel’, ‘Catarina’, ‘Chilhuacle’, ‘Costeño’, ‘De Agua’, ‘Fresno’, ‘Guajillo’, ‘Pasilla’, ‘Pequin’, ‘Poblano’ and ‘Pulla’, as well as New Mexico chili such as the ‘Anaheim.
How to use:
As a spice.
You should consult with a qualified healthcare practitioner before using any herbal products, particularly if you are pregnant, nursing, or on any medications.
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