Some peppers are so pungent that the farmer needs to wear gloves to avoid the skin on their hands from becoming blistered.
Some like it hot!
The heat of a pepper is measured in Scoville Heat Units, named after the pharmacist Wilbur Scoville. A sweet pepper scores 0, a jalapeño pepper around 3,000 and a Mexican habanero a scorching 500,000.
Pain against pain
The irritant effect of chilli peppers is used as a mask for pain from conditions such as rheumatism and nerve pain. Medicines such as these are known as counter-irritants and there are several containing extracts of chilli.
Spices on the move
Both species of chilli pepper originated in the Americas. They didn't arrive in South Asia until the 16th century, but India is now the world's largest producer.