Fire Medicine - ".1 3'th drop of «sputum W in...

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Unformatted text preview: ".1 3'th drop of «sputum W in 1110.900 pm. of with? JAIL prodm a panhtmt [among '0] tin tom. 9W ' in one million drops ome. u I'M mm _ a p¢rc¢pt£b£¢ warmth." (m'fllws. 1908) CORNELL UNIVERSITY Dn. ELOY RonuIGUEZ } [[[[ ms A Poi-kins mepssnr nf Ennirmmrcnlaf Sludics L. Hr Enilry Ilnrlnrimn/l-‘lnnr Binlngy 'l'eleplmne: fit)? 254-2956 L‘Jivisirm nf fliuingicai Sciences Fax: 697 254-2952; 25'? Binlethnnlngy Blinding GUY‘ZGfi-BUHIS Come“ University E-Mnil: erJOGBcornL-ledu Ithaca. NY 14853-27l1‘1 l Rodin-jut} 5.1??3, Vrdc‘eea’sz 22F H.455 {6’95 Ewan/um . Inn! (7, flmrs- [2f I449: “5711113 NED'LB'LNE": THE SCIENCE OF CHILES - — Chiles have long formed a basic part of the diet of peoples of America. Archaeological studies have shown that the basic diet of the Pre-Columbian civilizations was based on corn, beans Chile, and squash. Of these four elements of the Mexican diet, chile has undoubtedly inspired more stories, folktales, and misconceptions. Chiles come from the plants of the genus Capsicum of the family Solanaceae, the same family that includes potatoes, tobacco, and tomatoes. In the opinion of contemporary botanists, cultivated chiles can be classified into five species. Two of the species Capsicum baccarum and C. pubescens are only cultivated in South America; another species C. chinensis includes a few tropical varieties such as Habanero. C apsicunt frutescens is a perennial species that is used to make Louisiana Tabasco sauce; C. annum includes all other common varieties, Poblano,‘Ancho, New Mexico, de Arbol, Piquin, Guajillo, and the non-pungent Bell Peppers. Incidentally, black pepper comes from a totally unrelated plant Piper nigrum of the family Piperaceae. Evidence indicates that the genus Capsicum first evolved in South America and then was spread to other parts of tropical American by fruit-eating birds. Latter the indigenous people of these lands started to eat the fruits of these species for medicinal purposes and as a Spice to improve the flavor of their food. The writings of the Spanish chronicles describe the characteristics of the Indian cultures and 1 atteSI to the fact that chiles were an important part of every meal. Columbus and other explorers carried chiles and other foods back to Spain and Portugal; latter trading ships carried chiles to Asia and Africa. Today Capsicum forms an indispensable element of the food of many countries, the paprika dishes of Hungary, the curries of India and Thailand; and the sambals of Indonesia. Chile are also indispensable for many Chinese, Korean, and African dishes. Chiles are especially famous for their pungency, (the characteristics, burning sensation in the mouth). However, chiles have other important constituents, fresh chiles have about twice as much vitamin C as oranges. Powdered chiles are an excellent source of vitamin A; one teaSpoon of dried chile is sufficient to satisfy the recommended daily allowance for this important nutrient. Dried chile is also rich in capsanthin, the red carotenoid pigment in paprika and other powdered Capsicum products. The pungent principle in chile is capsaicin, a naturally occurring, low molecular weight, amide with a vanilloid moiety. The Structure is given below: 0 H30 OH WT A single drop of capsaicin diluted in 100,000 parts of water produces 2 a persistent burning of the tongue. One drop capsaicin diluted in one million drops of water, will still produce a perceptible warmth on the tongue. There are also a few capsaicin homologues present in smaller amount, that are also pungent. Other natural chemical compound with vanilloid moieties are present in a variety of plants that are used as pungent spices. The compound includes piper-inc from black pepper, and zingerone from ginger. More recently resiniferatoxin, a natural compound for species of Euphorbia, has been isolated and found to be approximately ten times as pungent as capsaicin. The fact that all these pungent compounds certain vanilloid chemical moiety has led neurobiologist to conclude that there is an endogenious neuroreeeptor for theses types of compounds in the nervous system. This type of neuroreceptor seems to be restricted to mammals; other organisms such as birds, snails, or frogs are unaffectedby a concentration of capsaicin compounds that would cause extreme pain to humans. Capsaicin has been the subject of intense research by neurobiologists who have been studying the mechanism of pain. A literature search indicated that over eight hundred and fifty scientific studies on the effects of this compound have been published in the past five years. Capsaicin is being studied by research scientists who are trying to deveIOp new drugs to alleviate pain. The principal drugs used to control pain at present are the opiates, drugs that cause problems of dependence and addiction. Studies indicate that capsaicin acts on special proteins called the 3 vanilloid receptors that can be found on afferent neurons (nerve cells) that send pain messages to the brain. Investigators now think that capsaicin first interacts with these receptors to open gates in these neurons that allow a specific neuropeptide called substance P to diffuse out. Substance P than interacts with other receptors in adjoining neuron to send the actual pain message to the brain by the standard electrochemical impulse used to transmit messages in the nervous system. Studies have shown that capsaicin has the capacity to deplete these nerves of their supply of substance P. Studies also show that a continual application of capsaicin will prevent these neurons from accumulating any additional substance P; capsaicin thereby effectively shuts down the nerves that transmit the pain message. This effect of capsaicin is exploited to treat the pain associated with shingles, rheumatoid arthritis, and phantom—limb pain. Zostrix is a medication sold at pharmacies that contains 025% capsaicin. In light of the knowledge bf modern pharmacology, we can understand that the use of chiles by the Native Americans to treat the. pain of toothaches and childbirth. Chiles and capsaicin is often blamed for causing heart-bum indigestion, and ulcers. However recent studies at the Baylor Medical School have proven that capsaicin is not imitating. These studies were performed by videoendoscopy, a miniature television camera that can be inserted into the stomach. Meals of bland food (meat and potatoes) were compared with meals containing hot Chiles 4 and were found to differ little in the irritancy to the stomach. In contrast, aspirin was found to be highly irritating" to the stomach lining. In 1986 a team of researchers in Nebraska announced that chiles are mutagenic and could possible cause cancer. However, subsequent studies showed the capsaicin is also an antioxidant and retard the production of nitrosamines. At present most researchers have concluded that capsaicin has little net effect on the likelihood of getting cancer. Other studies have shown that capsaicin does have beneficial effects on the heart and arteries. First, capsaicin appears to reduce the number of blood clots in the blood vessels. Secondly, capsaicin reduces blood pressure by causing the arteries to relax; capsaicin simultaneously cayses the heartbeat to strengthen. Other studies have show that capsaicin decreases the amount of triglycerides in the blood. In addition to these beneficial effects on the heart and circulatory system of the chile eater, studies have shown that capsaicin increases the metabolic rate of the Chile eater and thereby can reduce weight gain from a meal spiced with chile. Capsaicin also increases the flow of saliva and the digestive juices of the stomach and can increase the enjoyment of a meal without the dangers associated with the fat of animal products or fried foods. Chile used in the diet of contemporary Mexican-Americans, or Chicanos can truly be the fire 5 medicine that can reduce obesity and heart attack that can do so much damage to our health and decrease the quality of lier Dr. Eloy Rodriguez Dr. Jan E. West Phytochemistry Laboratory University of California, Irvine hvine, CA 92717 (714) 856-6217 (714) 725-2902 FAX REFERENCES 1._ Andrews, J. Peppers, The Domesticated Capsicums, Univ. of Texas Press, 1984. g 2. DeWitt, D. and Gerlach, N. The Whole Chile Pepper Book Little, Brown, and Company, 1990. 3. Heiser, GB, The Fascinating World of the Nightshades, Dover Publictions, 1987. 4. Holzer, P. Pharmacological Reviews Vol. 43(2):143-201, 1991. a 5. Szallasi, Ae-and Blumberg, P.M., "Resiniferatoxin and its Analogs Provide Novel Insights into the Pharmacology of the Vanilloid (Capsaicin) Receptor", Life Sciences, Vol. 47, Pergamon Press. p. 1399-1408 ...
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Fire Medicine - ".1 3'th drop of «sputum W in...

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