This chili pepper is so hot, it sent a man to the hospital.
The Carolina Reaper is the hottest pepper in the world. It can measure as high as 2.2 million SHU on the Scoville scale — which is up to 880x hotter than a jalapeño! It holds the Guinness World Record for the world’s hottest chili pepper, and touching it with your hands can cause severe burns. A man was even hospitalized after eating one.
According to the BMJ Medical Journal, during a chili-pepper-eating contest in New York State, the man experienced “thunderclap headaches” from eating a Carolina Reaper pepper. Immediately after the contest, he started dry heaving. He developed severe neck pain and “crushingly painful” headaches over the next few days. He ended up going to the emergency room, where he was diagnosed with reversible cerebral vasoconstriction syndrome (RCVS), which meant the arteries in his brain had tightened and restricted blood flow to the brain. This is the first case of RCVS caused by chili peppers.
RCVS usually clears up on its own, which happened in this case as well. A CT scan weeks later showed that man’s arteries has returned to normal.
The creator of the Carolina Reaper says he’s never seen this type of reaction, stating, “We eat them all the time and do not have any such reaction.”