1. Home
  2. Agripedia

The Medicinal Marvel of Bhut Jolokia

Bhut Jolokia's intense heat and medicinal properties highlight the diverse benefits of natural products, promising further discoveries in traditional and modern applications as research advances.

Shreetu Singh
The Medicinal Marvel of Bhut Jolokia, Image source: Canva
The Medicinal Marvel of Bhut Jolokia, Image source: Canva

Bhut Jolokia, also known as the Ghost Pepper, is renowned not only for its intense heat but also for its impressive medicinal properties. This fiery chili, indigenous to Assam, India, boasts high levels of vitamin C and other health benefits, making it a valuable ingredient in traditional remedies and modern medicine.

Traditional Uses and Remedies

In local communities, Bhut Jolokia has long been used in various culinary and medicinal applications. Its high pungency and unique flavor make it a popular choice for pickling and seasoning curries. Bhut Jolokia has been used to treat various stomach ailments such as gastritis, arthritis, and chronic indigestion. It is also believed to help combat summer heat by inducing perspiration, which cools the body. Extreme care should be taken when consuming Bhut Jolokia to avoid contact with the eyes and other sensitive areas.

Medicinal Value and Research

Bhut Jolokia is commonly used as a counter-irritant in traditional medicine. The primary active compound in Bhut Jolokia is capsaicin, which is responsible for its heat. Capsaicin has numerous medicinal applications:

  • Pain Relief and Endorphin Production: Capsaicin triggers the brain to produce endorphins, natural painkillers that promote a sense of well-being. This property has led to the development of various capsaicin-based products, such as creams and patches, to relieve pain from arthritis, muscle aches, joint pain, and other ailments.

  • Capsaicin Creams and Patches: There are many brands of capsaicin creams available on the market, which are used to treat pain from conditions like arthritis, shingles, psoriasis, and other skin disorders. Capsaicin patches provide pain relief by delivering a steady dose of the compound to the affected area.

Beyond Medicine: Diverse Applications

  • Veterinary Use: Capsaicin is used in veterinary medicine to coat sutures, preventing pets from chewing on them. It is also used to coat fiber-optic cables to deter rodents from gnawing on them. Additionally, capsaicin serves as an effective animal and insect repellent, particularly against ants and cockroaches.

  • Police and Self-Defense Use: Capsaicin is an active ingredient in police-grade pepper spray, which is used for riot control, subduing criminals, and personal self-defense. Its effectiveness in incapacitating attackers makes it a valuable tool for law enforcement and individuals seeking protection.

Precautions and Consumption

While the pepper is highly prized, it comes with a warning: the intense pain it can cause. Just one seed from Bhut Jolokia can produce a burning sensation in the mouth for up to 30 minutes. Extreme care is advised when handling and consuming this pepper to avoid accidental contact with the eyes.

Market Demand and Economic Potential

In the local market, a kilogram of fresh Bhut Jolokia fetches around ₹300-400, depending on the season. This variety is ideal for extracting oleoresin and capsaicin due to its high capsaicin content of 3-5%. Most Indian chili varieties are unsuitable for commercial capsaicin extraction, containing less than 1% capsaicin. The demand for oleoresin and capsaicin is substantial both domestically and internationally, making it a highly valuable product.

Fresh and dried Bhut Jolokia fruits have recently gained significant traction in the global market. Not only is it a favorite among Asians, but it is also increasingly embraced by Western countries, known for their traditionally milder palates. Restaurants proudly feature Bhut Jolokia in their menus, often making it a key ingredient in dishes. It is especially popular among those seeking quick relief from nasal congestion. Moreover, Bhut Jolokia has become a staple in chili-eating competitions in Europe and the USA and is used in the preparation of red hot chili sauces, surpassing even Mexican varieties.

In Assam, local initiatives are already underway to export value-added products made from Bhut Jolokia to European and US markets, demonstrating the chili's growing popularity and economic potential.

Future Potential

Many experts believe that the potential uses of capsaicin in medicine and beyond are only beginning to be discovered. With ongoing research and innovation, the future looks promising for this potent compound derived from the humble Bhut Jolokia.

(Source: Bina  Buragohain  Gogoi,  Manish  Dasand  and Prodyut  Bijoy  Gogoi, Indian Horticulture, May–June 2016, 37-38)

International No Diet Day 2024 Quiz Take a quiz

Related Articles

Share your comments
FactCheck in Agriculture Project

Subscribe to our Newsletter. You choose the topics of your interest and we'll send you handpicked news and latest updates based on your choice.

Subscribe Newsletters