Bhut Jolokia, Ghost Pepper, Naga Jolokia - World's Hottest Chile Pepper, Guinness World Record Winner

Bhut Jolokia, Ghost Pepper, Naga Jolokia, Naga Morich, Ghost Chili
(World's Hottest Chile Pepper)

The Naga jolokia (Bhut Jolokia, Ghost Pepper, Naga Morich, Ghost Chili), as it is commonly known—also known variously by other names in its native region, sometimes Bhut jolokia—is a chili pepper formerly recognized as the hottest in the world (it has since been overtaken by the Naga Viper). The pepper is occasionally called the ghost chili by U.S. media, possibly erroneously.
The Naga Jolokia is an interspecific hybrid from the Assam region of northeastern India and parts of neighbouring Bangladesh. It grows in the Indian states of Assam, Nagaland and Manipur, and the Sylhet region of Bangladesh. It can also be found in rural Sri Lanka where it is known as Nai Mirris (Cobra Chilli). There was initially some confusion and disagreement about whether the Naga was a Capsicum frutescens or a Capsicum chinense pepper, but DNA tests showed it to be an interspecies hybrid, mostly C. chinense with some C. frutescens genes. In 2007, Guinness World Records certified the Naga Jolokia as the world's hottest chili pepper, 401.5 times hotter than Tabasco sauce. As of December 3, 2010, the Naga Jolokia is no longer the hottest known chili pepper; it has been replaced by the Naga Viper, which has an average peak Scoville rating more than 300,000 points higher than an average Naga Jolokia - but still not higher than the hottest ever recorded Dorset Naga.

Scoville rating

In 2000, India's Defence Research Laboratory (DRL) reported a rating of 855,000 units on the Scoville scale, and in 2004 a rating of 1,041,427 units was made using HPLC analysis. For comparison, Tabasco red pepper sauce rates at 2,500–5,000, and pure capsaicin (the chemical responsible for the pungency of pepper plants) rates at 15,000,000–16,000,000 Scoville units.[18]
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In 2005, at New Mexico State University Chile Pepper Institute near Las Cruces, New Mexico, regents Professor Paul Bosland found Bhut Jolokia grown from seed in southern New Mexico to have a Scoville rating of 1,001,304 SHU by HPLC.

In February 2007, Guinness World Records published that the Naga Jolokia was the hottest chili pepper ever submitted for judgment.

The effect of climate on the Scoville rating of Naga Jolokia peppers is dramatic. A 2005 study comparing percentage availability of capsaicin and dihydrocapsaicin in Naga Jolokia peppers grown in Tezpur (Assam) and Gwalior (Madhya Pradesh) showed that the heat of the pepper is decreased by over 50% in Gwalior's more arid climate.


The pepper is used in India in homeopathic preparations for stomach ailments.[citation needed] It is also used as a spice as well as a remedy to summer heat, presumably by inducing perspiration in the consumer. In northeastern India, the peppers are smeared on fences or incorporated in smoke bombs as a safety precaution to keep wild elephants at a distance.
[edit] As a weapon

In 2009, scientists at India's Defence Research and Development Organisation announced plans to use the peppers in hand grenades, as a non lethal way to flush out terrorists from their hideouts and to control rioters. It will also be developed into pepper spray as a self defense product.

R. B. Srivastava, the director of the Life Sciences Department at the New Delhi headquarters of India's Defence Research and Development Organisation (who also led a defense research laboratory in Assam), said trials are also on to produce bhut jolokia-based aerosol sprays to be used by potential victims against attackers and for the police to control and disperse mobs.

Dorset Naga

Dorset Naga (Capsicum chinensis) is a Scotch Bonnet/habanero chilli, originally selected from the Bangladeshi chilli, naga morich.

Annually, since 2005, the heat level of Dorset Naga has been tested, taking samples from different sites, various seasons and states of maturity. The heat level has ranged from 661,451 SHU for green fruit in 2007, up to 1,032,310 SHU for ripe fruit harvested in 2009.

High as the results were, the BBC's Gardeners' World television programme recorded a much higher heat level for Dorset Naga. As part of the 2006 programming, the BBC gardening team ran a trial looking at several chilli varieties, including Dorset Naga. Heat levels were tested by Warwick HRI and the Dorset Naga came in at 1,598,227 SHU, the hottest heat level ever recorded for a chilli.

Guinness World Record 

New Mexico State University home to the world's hottest chile pepper

In fall of 2006, the Guinness Book of Records confirmed that New Mexico State University Regent's Professor Paul Bosland had indeed discovered the world's hottest chile pepper, Bhut Jolokia.

Bhut Jolokia, at 1,001,304 Scoville Heat Units (SHU), is nearly twice as hot as Red Savina, the chile pepper variety it replaces as the world's hottest. A New Mexico green chile contains about 1,500 SHUs and an average jalapeno measures at about 10,000 SHUs.
"The name Bhut Jolokia translates as 'ghost chile,'" Bosland said, "we're not sure why they call it that, but I think it's because the chile is so hot, you give up the ghost when you eat it!"

Paul Bosland, NMSU professor, shows off his Guinness World Records certificate for the world's hottest chile peppe According to Bosland, Bhut Jolokia is a naturally occurring inter-specific hybrid indigenous to the Assam region of northeastern India. A member of NMSU's Chile Pepper Institute visiting India sent Bhut Jolokia seeds back to NMSU for testing in 2001.

Sunny Anderson Eats a Bhut Jolokia 

Sunny Anderson is the host of two popular Food Network shows, Cooking For Real and How'd That Get On My Plate?

Pictures of Bhut Jolokia, Ghost Pepper

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