Posts tagged ‘Capsaicin’

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Hot and sweet together

An interesting question and answer from ChilePlants:

Q: If I plant a hot chili next to a sweet pepper, will the sweet be hot?

A: No. The characteristics of shape, size, color and flavor are determined by genetics. The genetic footprint of the chili plant, or pepper plant, is already within the plant. This genetic disposition was within the seed that was used to produce the plant, and was determined when the flower was pollinated the season before. Crosses do occur within the garden by busy bees and other insects, but this cross will only be recognized in the next generation. So if you save seeds from this year’s sweet pepper plant that was grown in close proximity to a hot pepper plant, there is a good chance that the pollen from the two plants have crossed, and that the seeds you have collected will next season produce a plant with a sweet pepper shape and a hot pepper taste!

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Watering – the contoversy

Just to sum up: there seems to be a bit of a controversy regarding how much water capsicum plants need. I have previously quoted various sources here, here and here.  Some of the sources (like Floridata and TropicalPermaculture), indicate to water lots and daily (with a regular watering regime), as long as the soil drains properly and isn’t saturated.  Other sources (like Gardening.eu) suggest watering lots but infrequently.

So, to sway the debate, I’ve found some additional information taken from ChilePlants:

  • Try to water in the morning, not in the heat of the day.
  • Water the soil, not the foliage.
  • Once the plants have established, it is better to water heavy and infrequently, then frequently and light. This promotes roots that go deep down versus those that stay on the surface.
  • The heat level of chilis is in direct relation with the amount of water that the plant receives as the pepper fruits are forming. Milder than usual chilis are found on plants that have been given an excess of water, pampered plants tend to produce wimpy chilis! This also will happen with plants grown in cool and wet areas […] Plants grown in dry and hot climates tend to produce chilis that are quite hot. If you want to produce extra hot chilis, stress the plants by withholding water, even letting them wilt. Do this only on established plants, not to very young transplants that are just getting started. To revive them from the wilt stage, water like normal, do not over-water at this time or you may drown the plant, and kill it.

In summary, “If in doubt about watering, don’t… never over-water.

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Capsaicinoids

‘There are 15 different capsaicinoids, meaning there are endless possibilities for flavor and heat combinations.’ – ChilePepperInstitute

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Possible health benefits of chili peppers

This is from Wikipedia:

All hot chili peppers contain phytochemicals known collectively as capsaicinoids.

  • Capsaicin was shown, in laboratory settings, to cause cancer cell death in rats.
  • Capsaicin in chilis has been found to inhibit chemically induced carcinogenesis and mutagenesis in various animal models and cell culture systems.
  • Recent research in mice shows that chili (capsaicin in particular) may offer some hope of weight loss for people suffering from obesity.
  • Researchers used capsaicin from chilis to kill nerve cells in the pancreases of mice with Type 1 diabetes, thus allowing the insulin producing cells to start producing insulin again.
  • Research in humans found that after adding chili to the diet, the LDL, or bad cholesterol, actually resisted oxidation for a longer period of time, delaying the development of a major risk for cardiovascular disease.
  • Researchers found that the amount of insulin required to lower blood sugar after a meal is reduced if the meal contains chili pepper.
  • Chili peppers are being probed as a treatment for alleviating chronic pain.
  • Spices, including chili, are theorized to control the microbial contamination levels of food in countries with minimal or no refrigeration.
  • Hot peppers are claimed to provide symptomatic relief from rhinitis, but a review study found no effect.
  • Several studies found that capsaicin could have an anti-ulcer protective effect on stomachs infected with H.pylori by affecting the chemicals the stomach secretes in response to infection.
  • By combining an anesthetic with capsaicin, researchers can block pain in rat paws without causing temporary paralysis. This anesthetic may one day allow patients to be conscious during surgery and may also lead to the development of more effective chronic pain treatments.
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Does capsaicin have any medicinal uses?

Topical applications of capsaicin are prescribed for arthritis, phantom limb pain, tendonitis, sore muscles and shingles. Capsaicin mouth washes and nasal sprays are prescribed for toothache, bronchitis, asthma, and migraine headaches. The nasal sprays stop chronic runny noses and sneezing and reduce congestion. Capsaicin aids digestion and appetite, seems to lower blood sugar and cholesterol and reduces blood clotting. Capsaicin creams for topical application as pain relievers are available as over-the-counter drugs, but they are expensive. You can make your own by blending some habaneros, seeds and all, with mineral oil, then straining the concoction and mixing it over heat with beeswax or paraffin.” – Floridata