Evolutionary Purpose of capsaicin pepper?

I consumed a portion of extra-hot buffalo wings last night! they were del;icious-but the "ring of fire’ phenomenon is the payback. anyway, i understood that capsaicin is a chemical produced by the pepper plant, which is intended to prevent the plant from being eaten (by herbivorous animals). This is understandable-the plant doesn’t want to be destroyed, so this evolution (capsaicin production0 favors continued reproduction for the plant…I can confirm that most animals will not eat food containing capsaicin-my dog turned his nose up at the wings.
Another question; why isn’t capsaicin broken down by the digestive system? Eeve 12 hours in the digestive system…it still is quite potent. is capsaicin a bactericide? :o

I believe you meant to post this in GQ. I’ll move it there for you.

Did you remember to eat ice cream right after the wings?

Come on ice cream!

Capsicums have chosen birds as their seed vector; Birds can’t taste capsaicin, they also have fairly short digestive tracts and rapid digestive transit, allowing the seeds to pass through undigested.

Many of the truely fiery varieties of peppers are the result of selective hybridization through human intervention, NOT natural selection. Thus the peppers have take advantage of humanity’s endorphine addiction and masochistic tendencies to propigate thier genes.

Wait… is spicy food supposed to actually burn on the way out? After years of eating General Tzo’s Chicken, Tacos and burritos dipped in Tobasco sauce, and roast beef sandwiches and pizza topped with jalapeños, I was just convinced that was a silly joke.

Ragu, none of what you mention is spicy! (At least not to me.)(And probably not to you either.)

But if you really over-do it with the peppers, it will still burn when it exits. I discovered this when I started adding habaneros to recipes.

For me, it’s not habaneros. I make a Jamaican jerk paste that uses 12-16 of those (easier to find here than Scotch bonnets) for about 2-3 cups of paste. Those usually are okay on the way out. For some reason, however, pickled peppers sometimes cause a little distress upon exit. I’ll have a few mild, pickled jalapenos and sometimes I’ll feel them later in the day.

Heh, my definition of “Exactly spicy enough” is when I can’t carry on a conversation due to convulsive hiccups while eating. :smiley:

But the mild bell peppers are a result of human intervention too, aren’t they? Which peppers are closest to the wild, unaltered plants?

I don’t think it’s ‘supposed’ to in the sense of it being a desired outcome, but it’s not unusual to get a little sting in the ring. Try a vindaloo or a phall and you’ll probably encounter it…

Tabasco and jalapenos are pretty mild stuff, really. Even Encona red pepper sauce (which is as hot as I usually go) tops it by a fair amount, and some people use that the way italians use passata.

Jalapenos don’t bother me at all, digestively - but just a touch of habenero gives me fits, and is not pleasant the next day. It’s sad, because I love some salsas and sauces that use habenero peppers… but it’s not a “slight burning” - my rear end and internals feel like your lips feel after eating some really hot food.

I’ve heard this before, and wondered: do we know that birds can’t taste capsaicin? That is, can we tell from examining chemical receptors on their taste buds? Or do we just assume they can’t taste it because, unlike other animals, they don’t avoid it? Is it possible that they, like many of us, don’t avoid it because they just like hot stuff?

For me, it’s pepperoncinis. They burn far more coming out than even suicide wings. I don’t think their tough skin gets fully digested on its way through.

It only happened to me after eating sandwiches loaded with whole pickled habanero peppers. I kinda thought it was joke too, until that night…

Wild capsicums are generally very small, not particularly fleshy and are insanely hot.

An interesting article just hit the wires regarding capsaicin. It appears that certain spider venom induces pain in the same receptors that signal pain from hot peppers. Link.

I’m pretty sure it’s that they just have limited taste receptors, both in terms of density and type.


Are birds immune to hot pepper, enabling them to eat vast amounts and spread the seeds?
My very first Staff Report.

I eat capsaicin with 90k scoville units of heat. I often have eaten the highest heat level I have seen and can buy: 500k. (if anybody has seen any hotter, let me know where, cause I want it)

I have never, ever felt a burning sensation out my arse-hole.

Probably genetic? I dunno, but I love hot stuff and never have any problems.

FWIW, I can complete the BWW blazing challenge in under 2 minutes. Yes, that is one wing every 10 seconds. It hurts, but I can do it.

Not bragging, just saying it doesn’t happen to everybody. And some of us regularly eat very hot stuff. I recently bought a one lb bag of 100k capsaisin powder, and put it in everything. (I have even put some in with my coffee- not too tasty if you put too much)

My roommates give me a hard time about my tendencies, and don’t eat anything I cook.