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Capsaicin: What is it?

Capsaicin is a natural alkaloid present in plants of the genus Capsicum such as the chilli plant. There are also other forms of spicy alkaloids in the plant itself but their degree of spiciness is lower than that of capsaicin.

Capsaicin is derived from the metabolism of a fatty acid. It develops mainly in the glands located between the placenta and the wall of the chilli. Contrary to popular belief, the seeds are only covered with capsaicin and derivatives, but on the inside, they are not spicy.

Capsaicinoids are incredibly resistant alkaloids. They resist deterioration due to time and remain active even after cooking and freezing.

Capsaicin was discovered for the first time by P.A. Bucholtz in 1816 isolating it with organic solvents.

Properties of capsaicin:

The pepper is a food with many properties: it regulates blood circulation, is an effective blood vessel dilator, and makes blood capillaries elastic. It also has a beneficial effect on inflammation.

From today, there is also another reason to consume peppers at our tables: Japanese and American researchers have found that it is effective in the prevention of prostate tumors. From experiments made in the laboratory on mice, it was discovered that those taking capsaicin, that is, the active ingredient of chilli pepper, developed tumor masses reduced by about 80%.

The regular use of chillis due to their anti-oxidant properties seems to inhibit the development of cancerous manifestations in the stomach.

To ensure that all this is confirmed, further studies and research on humans will have to be done. We also remember that like all foods, we should not abuse it, because it could have a detrimental effect on our health.

You may also be interested in the following articles:

  • Extract capsaicin from chilli peppers


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