Chili peppers are an unmistakable ingredient in the kitchen, known for its sharp taste. The cuisines of many countries around the world are known for their spicy dishes. It is possible to name, for example, Mexico, China, Korea, but also Hungary, where ground pepper is even a national spice. Some growers even compete in cultivating the world's hottest peppers. But what is it that makes chili peppers burn?
Chili pepper is the fruit of bush peppers originating from America. It was spread all over the world by the first European explorers in America, who started using it as a substitute for peppercorn.
Behind the burning taste of chili peppers is a compound called capsaicin. It is a plant alkaloid that causes a burning sensation in mammals in the tissue with which it comes into contact. The feeling itself is then perceived through pain receptors called nociceptors. Nociceptors generally respond to various stimuli of their type, such as temperature, pH change, pressure, and more, by opening an ion channel for calcium, which the body generally perceives as pain. Capsaicin causes a very high sensitivity in nociceptors, which we perceive as burning.