Frequently Asked Questions

What is capsaicin?

Capsaicin (kap-say-sin)(8-methyl-N-vanillyl-6-nonenamide) is one of several capsaicinoid compounds found in chile peppers which give the peppers the sensation of heat.  The most commonly occurring capsaicinoids are capsaicin, dihydrocapsaicin, nordihydrocapsaicin, homocapsaicin, and homodihydrocapsaicin. 

Different chiles have different amounts of these capsaicinoid compounds, but the most prominent is capsaicin.  The different capsaicinoids react differently in the mouth and body which is why some peppers will hit hard and fast in the mouth, others will hit the gut, others will have the slow creeping burn or more of an endorphin rush. 

Pure capsaicin is a colorless, odorless, crystalline to waxy compound.  See the image on the home page

What is an SHU?

An SHU is a Scoville Heat Unit, based on the Scoville scale for rating pungency (or heat) of peppers.  The scale is named after its creator, American pharmacist Wilbur Scoville. His method, devised in 1912, is known as the Scoville Organoleptic Test.  Unlike current testing methods based on high-performance liquid chromatography, the Scoville scale is a subjective measurement dependent on the capsaicin sensitivity of testers and so is not a precise or accurate method to measure capsaicinoid concentration.

In Scoville's method, an exact weight of dried pepper is dissolved in alcohol to extract the heat components (capsaicinoids), then diluted in a solution of sugar water. Decreasing concentrations of the solutions are given to a panel of five trained tasters, until a majority (at least three) can no longer detect the heat in a dilution The heat level is based on this dilution, rated in multiples of 100 SHU.

Current testing methods use HPLC (high performance liquid chromatography) to measure the amount of capsaicinoids in a sample, which is then correlated back to the Scoville scale to give the sample a Scoville rating. 

16 mil SHU capsaicin?

Yes! We've found 16million 100% pure crystalline capsaicin, made from all natural chiles. It is not synthesized.

What is the difference between Capsaicin Drops and Extract?

The capsaicin powder used in our Capsaicin Drops and pepper extracts are both made from real chile peppers.  Solvents are used in making extracts.  The extracts are dark in color, have a noticeable odor and a very distinctive taste which is usually noticeable when added to foods or sauces.  

Capsaicin Drops are made from a refined crystalline capsaicin powder.  See the picture on our home page.  It is formulated and packaged in our processing facility.  Capsaicin drops have no odor or flavor and the various concentration levels allow for use in many different applications.