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Eating One Pucker Butt Pepper a Day May Save Your Life

2013-06-18 13:20
Pucker Butt Pepper

A recent showing of CBS This Morning tells viewers that according to the testimony of one grower of Pucker Butt Peppers―Smokin’ Ed Currie, President, Founder, Mad Scientist and Chef of the Pucker Butt Pepper Company―his peppers could save your life as he believes have saved his life over the past 5 years.

According to an interview of Smokin’ Ed by CBS News' Mark Strassmann, Mr. Currie’s backyard is covered with nuclear-grade pepper plants that are among the hottest if not THE hottest in the U.S. The heat (or in some cases the burn) factor of his peppers are graded along a specialized chili pepper heat scale called the “Scoville Scale.”

The Scoville scale measures a pepper's heat categorized by Scoville heat units (SHU)―an indication of the amount of capsaicin found in a pepper. Capsaicin is the active component of chili peppers that gives many peppers their sting, and can be found in the white pith of the inner wall where the seeds are attached inside a pepper.

As anyone who cooks with spicy peppers can attest to, capsaicins are so powerful that even vapors from cooking a particularly hot pepper can irritate the mucous membranes of the nose and the mouth. The hottest varieties of pepper capsaicins are the active ingredients used in personal defense chemical pepper sprays.

So, just how hot is Mr. Currie’s hottest pepper? Currently Mr. Currie has created a unique variety by crossing a Sweet Habanero with a Naga Viper that has resulted in a new type of pepper that is 300 times hotter than a jalapeno—his patented “Carolina Reaper.” For comparison, a typical Jalapeño (Capsicum annuum) rates at approximately 2,500-5,000 on a Scoville Scoring system.

The Carolina Reaper is described as having a fruity, sweet taste with a hint of cinnamon and chocolate undertones that makes it perfect for hot sauces, salsas, cooking, settling old scores and combat.

But health-wise, there may be more to capsaicins than the flavoring of dishes or “Getting’ even.” The burning power of capsaicins has been promoted by health experts as one way to burn off belly fat by boosting your metabolism. This is accomplished by either eating a particular pepper or taking one of several capsaicin-based weight loss supplements. Furthermore, capsaicins have been promoted for use as a nasal spray to ease symptoms of a nasal sinus infection and are also used in a wide range of creams for treating minor aches and pain.

However, according to the CBS This Morning news report, capsaicins from Smokin’ Ed’s Pucker Butt peppers may have its greatest health benefit by preventing cancer―a concern of Mr. Currie, who not only has a family history of relatives succumbing to cancer, but has had several tumors of his own removed in the past.

“Currie, a 49-year-old thyroid and skin cancer survivor, has had seven tumors removed from his body. Though there is no scientific proof that eating peppers prevents cancer, Currie has stayed cancer-free since he started eating hot peppers every day five years ago. He said, ‘I believe that peppers are one of the cures for cancer, I really do. I've watched my father die, I've watched friends die....I just don't want to see anyone else die.’”

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As it turns out there may be some medical evidence backing up Mr. Currie’s belief that eating peppers may be an answer to cancer.

CBS News also reported that cancer researcher, Dr. Michael R. Freeman, Director of the Cancer Biology Program at the Cedars-Sinai Medical Center states that capsaicin has been known to kill cancer cells grown in a lab.

"Cancer cells can be induced to activate a suicide program biochemically by certain sorts of molecular processes. And capsaicin is known to bind to a protein on the membrane of certain cells, and in response to this binding, the tumor cell responds by killing itself," says Dr. Freeman.

Mr. Currie reportedly donated one-half of his pepper harvest last year to cancer research.

Purchase of Mr. Currie’s hot pepper seeds, sauces, mustards and jellies can be purchased online at his website http://puckerbuttpeppercompany.com.

Image Source: Courtesy of PhotoBucket

References:

Pucker Butt Pepper Company

CBS This Morning— “Grower says world's hottest pepper may be the answer to cancer”