Common Name:Lal Mirch / Red Chillies
Plant Parts Used:Fruit
Description of Capsicum Annum:Characteristics and Constituents:
Leaves oblong, glabrous, flowers solitary, rarely in pairs,pure white to bluish white, very rarely violet, berries green,maturing in to yellow, orange to red grading into brown or purple, pendent, rarely erect, very variable in size up to 20 cm long and 10 cm in diam, shape and pungency, sometimes lobed, seeds white or cream to yellow, thin, almost circular,having long placental connections.
The major constituent is Capsaicin. Other constituents are moisture - 10.0%; protein - 15.9%; fat-6.2%; fibre - 30.2 %; carbohydrates - 31.6 %; minerals - 6.1%, calcium - 160; vitamin C - 50 mg/100 g, etc.
Actions and Uses :
Capsaicin is shown to be a potent stressor agent and produces a rise in corticosterone level. When applied to human skin, capsaicin produces erythema and burning without blistering. Intragastrically, capsaicin promotes ulceration. Capsaicin at a dilution of 1 : 1,000 showed bacteriostatic activity against several organisms. Oleoresin red pepper - obtained from the longer, moderately pungent chillies chiefly used for flavouring.
Since its introduction, the chilli has become the most popular spice and replaced black pepper to a very large extent. Capsicum wool, prepared by dissolving the oleoresin in ether and pouring it on absorbent cotton wool, is useful in rheumatoid affections. Capsicum tincture has been employed externally in the treatment of chilblains. Chilli, in small doses, is a powerful stimulant and carminative. It stimulates the secretion of saliva and gastric juice, and increases peristaltic movements and motility of stomach. It is an excellent remedy in atonic and flatulent dyspepsia and dipsomania.