The heat in chillies comes from chemicals called Capsinoids (primarily Capsaicin) of which there are different types, which is why heat from different chillies is felt in different parts of the mouth. Contrary to popular belief, the capsaicin is not contained in the seeds, but in the placenta, which is the fleshy strip inside the fruit to which the seeds are attached.
Chillies also have the same chemical effect in the body as raw chocolate, which helps create endorphins – the ‘happy molecules’ (neurotransmitters) in the brain that make us feel better and act as a natural pain killer!
Chilli health benefits:
- Taken daily, it supports and nourishes the heart(tonic) and improves blood circulation
- Equalises blood pressure: if its too high, it will bring it down, and raise it to ‘normal’ if too low
- Naturally ‘thins the blood’preventing blood clots and problems like artheriosclerosis
- Aids digestionwhere indigestion, nausea and lack of appetite are concerned by stimulating gastric juices and enzymes
- Eases upset stomach, flatulence, ulcers and diarrhoea
- Boost immunity
- Lift the spirits(winter warmer), and can ‘lighten’ depressive moods
- Aids the respiratory systemby it’s decongestant and expectorant properties (clearing the head and lungs from mucous), and eases sore throats and spasmodic, irritating coughs
- Naturally reduces cholesterol(LDL levels)
- Styptic: stops bleedingwhen applied externally (or taken internally) in a first aid situation, within seconds
- Eases joint pain, particularly with conditions like arthritis, when taken daily or used externally (as per infused oil recipe below), due to it’s anti-inflammatory qualities