A fatal case of pepper poisoning

Forensic Sci Int. 2001 Dec 15;124(1):43-6. doi: 10.1016/s0379-0738(01)00571-0.


An 8 month old infant died as the result of administration of a traditional remedy, given orally as an infusion of a red powder. The symptoms on admission were coughing with diarrhoea and vomiting. Analysis of the powder using high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) confirmed the suspicion of capsaicin. Pepper preparations, which are used as traditional medicines, are highly toxic and their use on infants should be discouraged.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Capsaicin / poisoning*
  • Chromatography, High Pressure Liquid
  • Fatal Outcome
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Medicine, Traditional*
  • South Africa


  • Capsaicin