The Dangers of Bhut Jolokia

by Meg Jernigan

Better known as the ghost pepper, the Bhut Jolokia is among the hottest peppers in the world. Used by head-hunters to dissolve flesh, the pepper has 1.02 million Scoville Heat Units, making it up to eight times hotter than a habanero pepper.

Use With Care

If you’re unaccustomed to eating spicy peppers, steer clear of the Bhut Jolokia. Even a tiny sliver causes your mouth to burn, and it may take up to 10 minutes for the effects to fade. Eating hot peppers can cause stomach and mucous membrane irritation or pain, so warn your guests if you’re hosting a dinner party featuring the fiery seasoning. Make sure you have milk or another dairy product, like yogurt, on hand to tame the heat if someone finds the dish too spicy.

Handle With Care

When preparing Bhut Jolokia, wear kitchen gloves to protect your hands if you have any open wounds and so there's no chance any residue will remain on your hands. If you don't wear gloves, wash your hands thoroughly with soap and warm water immediately after adding the chilies to your dish. Touching sensitive areas of your skin will cause burning, so don’t put your fingers in your mouth or near your eyes or head to the bathroom until your hands are completely free of pepper residue. Clean your kitchen knife and other utensils you’ve used before you use them for another dish.

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About the Author

Meg Jernigan has been writing for more than 30 years. She specializes in travel, cooking and interior decorating. Her offline credits include copy editing full-length books and creating marketing copy for nonprofit organizations. Jernigan attended George Washington University, majoring in speech and drama.