Morocco is home to the spiciest ingrendient in the world
If you think Morocco is a hot destination in terms of tourism, did you know that it is also the land of the hottest ingredient in the world using the scoville scale? The magic ingredient is Resiniferatoxin.
Resiniferatoxin is an ingredient only found in Morocco and registers 16,000,000,000 scoville heat units. To put that in perspective, hot peppers register about 50 to 500 scoville heat units. Jalapeño registers between 5000 and 1000 SHUs. Ghost chili peppers considered by most people the hottest sauce. In 2007, Guinness World Records certified that the ghost pepper was the world’s hottest chili pepper, 400 times hotter than Tabasco sauce. The ghost chili is rated at more than 1 million Scoville heat units (SHUs). However, the ghost chili was shortly superseded by the Infinity chili in 2011, followed by the Naga Viper, the Trinidad moruga scorpion in 2012, and the Carolina Reaper at 1,569,300 (SHU) on August 7, 2013.
Resiniferatoxino on the other hand is 10 thousand times spicier than Carolina Reaper. It is a naturally occurring chemical found in resin spurge, a cactus-like plant commonly found in Morocco. It is an ultrapotent analog of capsaicin, the active ingredient in chili peppers.
This ingredient is so spicy is it in fact toxic and can inflict a chemical burning sensation in microscopic quantities. The primary action of resiniferatoxin is to activate sensory neurons responsible for the perception of pain. It is currently the most potent TRPV1 agonist known to science, with ~500x higher binding affinity for TRPV1 than capsaicin, the active ingredient in hot chili peppers such as those produced by Capsicum annuum.
It has been used for a while as a pain killer and new uses are being discovered to put this incredible chemical into good use. The ultimate goal, at least for the short term is that this chemical may be able to deliver permanent, local pain relief with a single injection. The compound works by destroying the neurons specifically responsible for inflammatory pain.