Why Do Hot Peppers Cause Pain?

This week Reactions is taking a look into spicy science. That’s right–the chemistry of capsaicin and why hot peppers cause pain. You have probably had the burning sensation of eating a hot jalapeno or other tear-inducing pepper. What causes this painful fire in your mouth? The short answer is capsaicin. But what exactly is capsaicin? How does it work? Why do people drink milk and not water to relieve the pain? Reactions has the chemistry to answer all of these sizzling questions.

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Old School – Funk It Up
The Drive

Elaine Seward

Elaine Seward

Executive Producer:
Adam Dylewski

Scientific consultants:
Todd Brethauer
Sophia Cai
Darcy Gentleman, Ph.D.

Milk – http://www.acs.org/content/acs/en/education/resources/highschool/chemmatters/past-issues/archive-2013-2014/peppers.html
Capsaicin and Pain – http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1302858/
Pain Receptors – http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v389/n6653/full/389816a0.html#B5

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