Chilli is the dried ripe fruit of the genus Capsicum. Capsicum annum is an annual sub –shrub, the flowers of which are borne singly and fruits usually pendent, which provide red peppers, cayenne, paprika and chillies and sweet pepper (bell pepper) a mild form with large inflated fruits. Capsicum frutescence is a perennial chilly with small sized pods which are highly pungent. It is commonly known as ‘bird chilly’ and ‘Tabasco’.
Chilli is reported to be a native of South America and is widely distributed in all tropical and sub tropical countries including India. It was first introduced in India by Portuguese towards the end of 15th Century. Now it is grown all over the world except in colder parts.
India Chilli Varieties
BIRDS EYE CHILLI (DHANI):
- Grown in Mizoram & some areas of Manipur
- Blood red in colour, highly pungent
- Harvesting season-October to December
- Available in Calcutta market
- ASTA colour value-41.7
- Capsaicine – 0.589%
- Grown in Dharwar Karnataka
- Red in colour with less pungency or without pungency
- Harvesting season-January to May
- Annual Production-21,000 tonnes
- Available in Hubli-Dharwad markets
- ASTA colour value-159.9
ELLACHIPUR SANNAM-S4 TYPE
- Grown in Amaravathi District of Maharashtra
- Reddish in colour and very hot
- Annual Production – 1800 tonnes
- Harvesting season-September to December
- Available in Bombay,Delhi,Ahemedabad and Nagpur
- ASTA colour value – 70.40
GUNTUR SANNAM-S4 TYPE
- Grown in Guntur, Warangal, Khammam Districts of Andhra Pradesh
- Skin thick, hot and red
- Harvesting season – December to May
- Annual Production – 2,80,000 tonnes
- Available in Guntur market
- ASTA colour value- 32.11
- Grown in Hindpur in Andhra Pradesh
- Red in colour,hot and highly pungent
- Harvesting season- December to March
- Available in Hindpur
- ASTA colour value- 33.00
- Grown in Kheda, Mehsana & in South Gujarat
- Highly pungent, light red in colour,short and the seeds are compact
- Harvesting season-September to December
- Available in Unjha market
- Grown in Kerala & some parts of Tamil Nadu
- Short and ivory white in colour with high pungency
- Mainly grown as a homestead crop
- Available in the markets throughout the year
- ASTA colour value- 2.96
- Grown in temperate regions such as Himachal Pradesh,Jammu & Kashmir and also in sub-tropical regions of North India during winter season
- Long,fleshy,deep red in colour
- Harvesting season- November to February
- Available in major markets of North India
- ASTA colour value- 54.10
MADHYA PRADESH G.T.SANNAM
- Grown in Indore, Malkapur Chikli and Elachpur areas of Madhya Pradesh
- Red in colour and pungent
- Harvesting season-January to March
- Annual Production – 7500 tonnes
- Available in major markets of Madhya Pradesh.
Dry chilly is extensively used as spice in curried dishes. It is also used as an ingredient in curry powder and in seasonings. Bird chilly is used in making hot sauces as pepper sauce and Tabsco sauce. Paprika, Bydagi chilly, Warangal chapatta and similar high colour less pungent varieties are widely used for colour extraction. This colour is highly popular among food and beverage processors for its use as a colourant, since this being a ‘natural plant colour’. As a medicine it is used as an counter irritant in Lumbago, Neuralgia, and Rheumatic disorders. Capsicum has a tonic and carminative action. Taken inordinately it may cause gastro-enteritis. The enzyme isolated from chilly is used in the treatment of certain type of cancers. Oleoresin capsicum is used in pain balms and vaporubs. Dehydrated green chilly is a good source of vitamin ‘c’
Antioxidant: Chillies are natural source of antioxidants like Vitman A, B & C and help us to ward off many diseases and boast our immune system. Green chillies is helpful for prostrate. American Association for Cancer Research has stated that capsaicin has the power to kill leukemia and cancer cells. Chilies can inhibit tumor growth and cancer.
Heart Health: Chillies contain Potassium which helps reduce blood cholesterol and hence reduce the risk of developing cardiovascular diseases. They also help preventing blood clot formation, hence reducing the likelihood of a stroke or heart attack.
Iron present in green chillies helps to boost the formation of red blood cells. The increased haemoglobin levels in the blood helps to fight against anaemia.
Metabolism & Weight Loss: Chillies are known to increase our metabolism and aid in weight loss. Chillies have no calories or very low calories. Chillies help induce perspiration and helps burn calories.
Also read about the benefits of other commonly used spices like Ginger, Fenugreek, Fennel, Curry Leaves, Cumin Seeds, Coriander, Cloves, Cardamom, Bay Leaves, Basil, Asafoetida, Aniseeds, on our digestion and metabolism.
You may also like to read Diet and Weight Loss.
Diabetes: Some studies have shown chilli pepper prevents diabetes due to capsaicin component.
Sinus and Flu: Heat due to capsaicin helps to clear mucous from the nasal passage and also fights sinuses. which unblocks the respiratory passage and provides relief during cold, cough and Sinus infections.
Improves Cognitive Functioning: Chillies are rich source of iron and help maintain level of oxygen in our blood. Chillies also increase circulation of blood in our body. Chili peppers can decrease the chance of getting cognitive disorders like dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. Green chillies also contain Vitamin E which prevents aging and enhances youthful appearance.
Healthy Hair and Skin: Chillies help blood circulation around scalp. The presence of Iron in the hot peppers also promotes hair growth by increasing oxygen level in the circulated blood. Chillies also protect the hair follicles against DHT or dihydrotestosterone which causes hair thinning and hair loss.
Green chillies are loaded with Vitamin C which increases collagen production in the skin. Phytonutrients present in chillies has antibacterial properties and helps in getting rid of acne, rashes and blemishes.
Anti Bacterial and Anti Fungal: Chilli peppers are antibacterial and anti-fungal. Capsaicin can kill bacteria such as H. pylori and cure inflammatory bowel diseases like diarrhoea.
Anti Inflammatory: Due to its anti-inflammatory properties, green chillies help to lower the pain levels in the body and are very beneficial for people suffering from inflammatory diseases like arthritis and osteoporosis. Chilli can combat headache, migraine and sinusitis.
Spices Board of India: http://www.indianspices.com/
Harvard Health Publishing: Ask the doctor: How does hot pepper cream work to relieve pain? – Harvard Health