Everybody has that one friend who can’t get enough of the heat on his food. He soaks his wings in some ungodly concoction that’s hotter-than-hell and downs jalapenos with ghost peppers like they’re breath mints. But, even those with an iron lining in their stomach will want to steer clear of the “Dragon’s Breath Pepper.”
The pepper was developed by Mike Smith in the United Kingdom. Mike owns a plant store across the pond where he worked on the pepper with the help of researchers at the University of Nottingham.
The pepper clocks in at 2.48 million units on the Scoville scale, per Live Science. For almost all of us, with the exception of the obscure spice aficionado, that means less than nothing, but consider this: a jalapeno is between 2,500 to 8,000 units. Tabasco hovers between 30,000 to 50,000 units. So, it’s safe to say that the Dragon’s Breath pepper is disturbingly spicy.
Eating a pepper this hot can kill you, but Professor Paul Bosland of New Mexico State University tells Live Science that first, your taste buds fail you. He explains, “What’s happening is that your receptors in your mouth are sending a signal to your brain that there’s pain, and it’s in the form of hotness or heat, and so your brain produces endorphins to block that pain.”
But, after eating the Dragon’s Breath pepper, you might lose a lot more than your tongue; your nervous system could even shut down.
Capsaicin, which is the chemical that makes food spicy, activates receptors in your body that detect heat. Essentially, your body thinks that everything around you is really cooking, and you’re at risk of going into anaphylactic shock. Your airway may even close up.
Of course, death by hot pepper is an extremely rare scenario. More likely, your body will bail on the pepper and you just vomit. Though it doesn’t even take a Dragon’s Breath pepper to make your stomach dish out your dinner; here’s a clip of a few news anchors eating a chip flavored with a Carolina Reaper pepper (the Carolina Reaper was the hottest pepper before Smith developed the Dragon’s Breath). Their segment goes off-the-rails when one anchorwoman hurls on the floor of the studio.
If you’re hoping to get your hands on a Dragon’s Breath pepper, you’re probably out of luck. They don’t seem to be for sale anywhere on the internet, and Mike Smith didn’t even develop it for eating. He says that the pepper is designed as a topical antiseptic for people who are allergic to some medicines. Honestly, we don’t care what you do with it, just don’t put it on our burger.