Capsicum and capsaicin--a review: case report of the use of hot peppers in child abuse

J Toxicol Clin Toxicol. 1987;25(7):591-601. doi: 10.3109/15563658708992659.


Capsaicin, the active principle of hot peppers of the genus Capsicum, exhibits broad bioactivity. It targets neuronal structures which contain substance P, clinically seen as gastrointestinal and dermatologic irritation, bronchospasm and fibrinolysis. As a research tool, capsaicin profoundly alters neurologic anatomy and function. We review the toxicity of capsaicin and comment briefly on the use of hot peppers in child abuse.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Capsaicin / adverse effects*
  • Capsicum / adverse effects*
  • Capsicum / metabolism
  • Child
  • Child Abuse*
  • Child, Preschool
  • Eye / drug effects
  • Humans
  • Plants, Edible
  • Plants, Medicinal*
  • Skin / drug effects
  • Stomach / drug effects


  • Capsaicin