The hot pepper is measured with a system known as scoville scale, created by the American chemist Wilbur Scoville in 1912. According to this scale, the hottest chilli pepper in the world is the Carolina Reaper. In September 2014, Jason McNabb, an American dentist, obtained the record of eating three of these chillies in the shortest possible time: 10.95 seconds.
Can eating three chillies be a record? Yes, if they bite as much as the Carolina Reaper. The secret that they bite so much is their concentration of capsaicin.
Capsaicin: mammal weak point
Capsaicin generates intense burning by binding with the trpV1 protein, which is found in the walls of mammalian nerve cells. The trpV1 is a temperature sensor that gives a burning sensation when it is very high. Capsaicin short circuits trpV1, activating the cell and sending pain sensations when there is really no heat.
The chillies developed this weapon to spread their seeds at a greater distance. Birds are not affected by TrpV1, so they eat the hottest chillies, spreading their seeds, intact and without chewing, farther and better than mammals could do, who prefer to save themselves the pain of eating them.
The Carolina Reaper was ranked as the hottest pepper in the world in the Guinness Book of Records since August 7, 2013. Its itching ranges from 1,150,000 to 2,220,000 SHU (Scoville Units). The pepper is a cross between a Habanero pepper and a Naga Bhut Jolokia. To give us an idea of its itching, the Padrón peppers are at an absolute difference in the scale: 5,000 those who bite and 2,500 those who do not.
Even eating them is dangerous to your health. Your mucous membranes accelerate in an attempt to expel the offensive substance, causing your mouth and eyes to expel fluid, while your nose drains; although you could also start crying in pain. After swallowing, your throat begins to burn and you may start coughing or choking.
In response to itching, your body tries to cool by sweating. The blood vessels on the surface of your skin dilate in an attempt to expel heat, making your face and chest look red. A man who participated in a spicy chilli contest in the United States, in fact, suffered the first recorded case of reversible cerebral vasoconstriction syndrome (RCVS) due to spicy ingestion, according to an article published in BMJ Case Reports.
Currently, police forces around the world use a pepper spray (capsaicin-based compound) as riot control. The spray reaches 5,000,000 units on the Scoville scale, twice as much as the Carolina Reaper.