Herbs & Plants

Capsicum baccatum

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Botanical Name : Capsicum baccatum
Family: Solanaceae
Genus: Capsicum
Species: C. baccatum
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Solanales

Common Name:Locoto

Capsicum baccatum is a species of chili pepper that includes the following cultivar and varieties:

*Aji amarillo, or amarillo chili
*Lemon drop
*Bishop’s Crown
*Brazilian Starfish
*Wild Baccatum
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Habitat :  The Capsicum baccatum species, particularly the Ají amarillo chili (Aji is the caribean word for chili and/or peppers that the Spaniards colonizers extended to most of Central and South America), is typically associated with Peruvian cuisine, and is considered part of its condiment trinity together with red onion and garlic. Aji amarillo literally means yellow chili; however, the yellow color appears when cooked, as the mature pods are bright orange.

Today the Ají amarillo is mainly seen in South American markets and in Latin American food stores around the world where Peruvian and Bolivian expatriates are numerous. The wild baccatum species (C. baccatum var. baccatum) is most common in Bolivia with outlier populations in Peru (rare) and Paraguay, northern Argentina, and southern Brazil.

Pepper varieties in the Capsicum baccatum species have white or cream colored flowers, and typically have a green or gold corolla. The flowers are either insect or self-fertilized. The fruit pods of the baccatum species have been cultivated into a wide variety of shapes and sizes, unlike other capsicum species which tend to have a characteristic shape. The pods typically hang down, unlike a Capsicum frutescens plant, and can have a citrus or fruity flavor.

Edible Uses:
Aji amarillo is one of the ingredients of Peruvian cuisine and Bolivian cuisine as a condiment, especially in many dishes and sauces. In Peru the chilis are mostly used fresh, and in Bolivia dried and ground. Common dishes with aji amarillo are the Peruvian stew Aji de Gallina (“Chili of Hen”), Huancaina sauce and the Bolivian Fricase Paceno, among others.

The Moche culture often represented fruits and vegetables in their art, including Ají amarillo peppers.

Medicinal Uses;
The hot and pungent fruit is antihemorrhoidal when taken in small amounts, antirheumatic, antiseptic, diaphoretic, digestive, irritant, rubefacient, sialagogue and tonic. It is taken internally in the treatment of the cold stage of fevers, debility in convalescence or old age, varicose veins, asthma and digestive problems. Externally it is used in the treatment of sprains, unbroken chilblains, neuralgia, pleurisy etc

The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplements, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.


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Compound In Chili Peppers Protects Heart

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The main component found in chili peppers has been shown to prevent and reduce heart damage during a heart attack, according to a new study.

The study published in the journal Circulation, finds that applying capsaicin, which is the main component in chili peppers and the active ingredient in some common pain creams, to specific skin areas on mice caused sensory nerves in the skin to trigger signals in the nervous system.

These signals activate cellular “pro-survival” pathways in the heart which protect the muscle, the article further explains.

“If proven effective in humans, this therapy has the potential to reduce injury or death in the event of a coronary blockage, thereby reducing the extent and consequences of heart attack,” says Keith Jones, a researcher at the University of Cincinnati where the study was performed.

Capsaicin, which is used topically to treat pain, produces a hot feeling on the skin. It is approved for use by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
The research further supports the value of chili peppers as a natural health resource.

Chili peppers, which are high in vitamin C, have already been shown to help fight migraine headaches, relieve sinus congestion and aid digestion.

Source: Better Health Research. Dec. 17th.2009

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