It’s no secret that we love chillies here at The Chilli Project. It’s very interesting however, just how many different applications chillies have across the globe! Here are a few of our favourite chilli fun facts
• Bhut Jolokia (Ghost Chillies) are used to repel elephants in India and prevent them from destroying crops and homes! The chillies are spread over a fence, and the smell is enough to stop the elephants in their tracks! Chilli powder is also added to smoke bombs to keep the hungry herds away!
• If you have ever used analgesic creams (eg. Deep Heat) or a pain relief patch (eg. Elastoplast heat patch) and wondered how they manage to give you that wonderful warming sensation? One of the active ingredients is capsaicin! How does it work? Capsaicin helps to relax the muscles by increasing blood flow, (and therefore sends oxygen and nutrients to the affected areas experiencing pain). It also triggers the brain to release endorphins which are the body’s natural pain killers. We wouldn’t recommend rubbing a chilli on your sore back, but it’s pretty amazing knowing the powerful pain relieving effects of capsaicin on the body!
• Chillies can help you lose weight! There have been many clinical studies in mice and rats which have shown that capsaicin can aid with weight loss. It is a natural metabolism booster and has made its way into weight loss teas and tablets right across the globe. (We still think adding fresh & flavoursome hot sauces to your meals is a much more enjoyable way to consume capsaicin but probably not the most effective for weight loss!)
• Chillies are full of goodness! They contain more vitamin C than oranges and are a good source of vitamins A and E, beta-carotene, folic acid and potassium.
• According to legend, Japanese Samurai ate chillies before going into battle. It was believed to make them feel invincible. This make sense knowing that capsaicin triggers the release of both endorphins and dopamine – the combination of both would definitely reduce their fear
• Forget the oysters! If you want a food to get you in the mood, then eat chilli which is a known aphrodisiac! It’s not surprising when you know about all the wonderful chemical releases in the brain and the subsequent physical reactions – increased blood flow, increased heart rate and feelings of euphoria!