An organic natural weapon  

Posted by Denis Haack in , ,

In case you haven’t heard, there is a scale to measure spiciness—as in hot peppers. It’s called the Scoville scale, named after the developer, an American chemist named Wilbur Scoville. To give you some sense of how it works, here is the Scoville unit listing for several well-known items:

The ordinary Bell pepper: 0.
A lowly pimento: 100 – 500.
Tabasco sauce: 2,500 – 5,000.
Jalapeno peppers: 2,500 – 8,000.
Cayenne pepper: 30,000 – 50,000.

Turns out there is a pepper, called the Bhut jolokia, which leaves all these in the dust, clocking in at, I’m not making this up, at 855,000 – 1,050,000 Scoville units.

The bhut jolokia is grown in northeastern India and Bangladesh, and actually eaten there, my newspaper reports, “for its taste, as a cure for stomach troubles and a way to fight the crippling summer heat.” The first reason I understand. The second also makes sense since I assume that having the lining of one’s stomach cauterized would indeed cure most common stomach ailments. The third one, well, I live in the north so will not speculate.

Anyway, the Indian military has announced they are using the bhut jolokia “to make tear gas-like hand grenades to immobilize suspects.” Thinking about that made me realize that if they use a gourd as the casing and fertilizer as the explosive, this could be the first fully natural, organic, locally grown weapon.

One more good part of God’s Creation sadly perverted by the fall. Better than using a bullet, I realize, but still.

This entry was posted at Wednesday, March 31, 2010 and is filed under , , . You can follow any responses to this entry through the comments feed .


While living in Texas years ago I read something about field workers eating hot peppers to stay cool. Don't recall the specifics, but it has something to do with expanding blood vessels which contributes to body temperature regulation. One of life's paradoxes to be sure.

March 31, 2010 at 8:37 PM

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