Those who have eaten a ghost pepper can confirm that it feels like you’re deep throating the devil. The heat is a 1 million on the Scoville Scale–a metric used to measure the pungency of a chili pepper through a small chemical called capsaicin. To put this is context, a habanero pepper ranks at a 100,000 on the scale and pepper spray is at a 5 million.
Capsaicin’s original purpose wasn’t for consumption, but rather used in hotter climate cultures to protect against the growth of foodborne bacteria and fungi, as it killed up to 75 percent of bacteria in food. It can kill nearly all bacteria and evidently can kill the fat villain from Dumb and Dumber. RIP Joe Mentalino.
A ghost pepper nearly claimed another man’s life after he consumed a ghost pepper puree that was lathered on a burger.
According to a Journal of Emergency study covered by the Washington Post, the 47-year-old man, who remained unnamed, consumed the burger and attempted to dilute the heat in his mouth with six glasses of water. That failed. The man began to vomit aggressively which caused strain in his abdomen.
Via the Washington Post,
At the emergency department, he received Maalox and painkillers. After his condition worsened, doctors moved him to the operating room, where they discovered a “2.5-cm tear in the distal esophagus,” about one inch, as the case report authors noted. The force of the vomiting and retching led to a rare diagnosis of Boerhaave’s syndrome; these spontaneous tears in the esophagus can be fatal if they are not diagnosed and treated.
“He remained intubated until hospital day 14, began tolerating liquids on hospital day 17,” they wrote, “and was discharged home with a gastric tube in place on hospital day 23.”
One of the researchers of the study claimed that when she’s asked to whether or not it’s safe to accept spicy food challenges, she generally takes the “Nancy Reagan stance,” and say ‘Just Say No.’ But that’s what pussies do. You’re not a pussy are you, bro.