Scoville Heat Units For Peppers (SHU)
Scientific research and the Guinness Book of World Records has revealed to us which is the hottest pepper in the world. But how can measure something like hotness or spiciness? Isn’t hotness subjective? To some degree, it is. But there is a definitive way to gauge the hotness of foods. It’s called the Scoville scale, and it helps us quantify what we already know about some of the hottest peppers in the world: these little chilis are intense!
The Scoville scale is named for its creator, Wilbur Scoville, an American chemist. In 1912, he devised the Scoville Organoleptic Test while working for Park-Davis, a pharmaceutical test. His goal was to measure the piquancy (i.e. hotness) of chile peppers. This method directly measures the capsaicinoid content of the pepper.
Capsaicinoid is an organic compound produced by chili peppers. The main capsaicinoids, called capsaicin, is responsible for causing that burning sensation when it comes in contact with your taste buds (and other areas on your body). The reaction that capsaicin causes results in actual pain, and your body reacts accordingly, causing sweating, release of endorphins and muscle contractions. The more capsaicin that’s in a pepper, the greater the burning sensation.
The Scoville scale measures the hotness of a food or substance on a scale of 0 to 16 million Scoville heat units (SHU). Zero Scoville heat units represents no spiciness or heat, while the top of the scale—16 million Scoville heat units—is pure capsaicin. According to Material Safety Data Sheet for capsaicin, a 47.2 mg/kg dose of capsaicin has acute toxicity effects on humans, and can even lead to death.
So, when you eat very, very spicy foods or hot peppers, you are, in a sense, playing with fire.
When selecting peppers or attempting to gauge the relative hotness of each pepper, the Scoville scale can be useful for comparison purposes. Note, however, that while certain breeds of hot pepper have been known to fall within a certain range, depending on the conditions where it was grown, it may be hotter or sweeter than rated. No matter what the Scoville scale says about the pepper you’re eating, you should certainly exercise caution when handling or consuming hot peppers.
The Scoville scale is the rating that is used to determine the hottest pepper in the world according to the Guiness Book of World Records. Scoville heat units are also used among pepper cultivators and vendors, so it’s a good idea to have this page bookmarked as a reference. As more peppers are discovered and studied, we’ll be updating this page with the latest information about peppers and how they rate on the Scoville scale.
Have you been looking for a scoville scale for peppers, but can’t find one with very much information? We have taken the time to not only list each peppers SHU (scoville heat units), but also give you detailed information about each of the peppers.
Our website is very new and we will be adding more information and resources over time. We hope you enjoy the information we have collected.
Here is our list of some of the hottest peppers in the world, down to the sweetest peppers in the world…