The Many Uses for the Ghost Chili

            Other than being known for its use in spicy food or spices, the Bhut jolokia has many other practical uses. To start, the compound in which all plants in the genus Capsicum produce as a defense mechanism towards herbivores, capsaicin, is used in many medical situations.  Capsaicin, to start, is used as a dermal patch to relieve pain in damaged areas. Surgeons have studied the use of the compound in operations as well.  Post surgery patients who apply capsaicin to the injury are said to become less dependent on dangerously addictive painkillers quicker than patients who do not apply the chili’s compound.  Creams that contain capsaicin can be used to temporarily relieve pain of strains, sprains, or simple backache. The most popular use of capsaicin in the medical field is pain relief from arthritis or minor aches and pains for elderly people.

As reported by National Geographic (see ) native people of Assam, India have been using the Bhut jolokia as a repellant against elephants. Fences, lined with a combination of grease and crushed ghost chilies, surround sugar cane crops to ward off unwanted wild elephants.  The natives have also developed smoke bombs with dried bhut jolokia as the main ingredient.  Along with defending their crops with this smoke bomb, the defense weapon is used to protect the homes of the locals as well. In fact, Fox news ( reported on March 19, 2010 that the Indian military has reveled it “hottest” weapon yet. The national military has developed a more efficient and potent version of the Assam local’s smoke bomb, a Bhut jolokia grenade.  This weapon is non lethal, but it is an effective crowd control.  The victims do not only taste the incredible spice, they are blinded by it for hours and are literally choked by the bhut jolokia powder that is scattered through out the air.  There have been talks as using this against terrorists as well, but for now riot control is the only use.

The reason why I chose this organism was because of it infamous, scorching, spice that has caused pain for so many people who have dared to conquer it.  The Assam native chili sets a very high mark on the Scoville heat unit rating system at 1,001,304. This is about twice as hot as Mexico’s red savina habanero that ranks at 577,000 scoville units and one hundred times as hot as a jalapeno pepper (10,000 scoville units).  The Bhut jolokia currently is the 3rd hottest chili on the planet, has been featured on many TV shows, and is served in restaurants all over the planet.