How hot a curry can you take?

I picked up a Daily Mail in my hotel this morning and it has a couple of pages on the subject of WHAT CAN YOUR BODY TAKE

What is the hottest curry you can bear to eat?

Some like it hot: Prawn curry

The active ingredient in curry or chilli is capsaicin. The more capsaicin present, the hotter the curry. Ordinary Tabasco sauce is about 260 parts per million capsaicin. A habanero chilli contains about 17,000ppm.

Theoretically, the hottest curry you could make would be a bowl of pure capsaicin crystals. This dish would be 10,000 times hotter than a vindaloo.

Although capsaicin does not actually cause a chemical burn or any direct tissue damage itself, the impact on the nervous system of such powerful stimulation is similar to an allergic reaction. As well as incredible pain, you could expect uncontrollably streaming eyes and nose, upper body spasms, and severe difficulty breathing for 30 to 45 minutes.

In fact, our ultimate curry would be five times stronger than the pepper spray used by police for riot control.
Provided you are healthy with no history of heart conditions or asthma, it might be possible to survive a teaspoon of pure capsaicin, but impossible to eat anything else for a few hours.

Theoretical limit: 5g capsaicin

Current record: 0.1g

In 2005, Blair Lazar refined 500g of capsaicin from chilli peppers to create a sauce. He tried a single crystal. “It was like having your tongue hit with a hammer,” he said.

The article itself is taken from the March issue of the BBC Focus Magazine

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