Chilies and peppers are Solanaceae like tomatoes and potatoes and are found in the cuisine around the world: all of them belong to the genus Capsicum, native of America.
From genetics we have learned that they originated from a single common ancestor approximately 20 million years ago.
Mauro Gabriele, author of numerous genetic and chromosomal studies of 22 species of chilies, found that during the evolution of Capsicum three groups were determined: two with Andean origin having 26 and 24 chromosomes respectively; and one origins from the coastal regions of Brazil with 26 chromosomes.
The wild species have the genetic potential to be crossed with cultivated ones, so as to obtain some economically important characteristics, from organoleptic properties (taste, color, spiciness) to the resistance to drought and disease.
Although there are varieties that are not hot, such as sweet peppers, spicy and hot are the qualities most desired by consumers of peppers. The spiciness of chilies is caused by alkaloids called capsaicinoids, which were developed by plants to prevent mammals from eating the fruit, destroying their seeds in their digestive tract. However this problem does not occur when birds eat the fruits, which instead have indeed helped to spread the genre across America.
The domestication of the various species of cultivated chili came about independently in various locations approximately 10,000 years ago.
In Peru, the oldest archaeological findings show that the use of red pepper was found in the settlement of Caral, where the most ancient civilizations of the Americas is believed to have developed.
Four of the chili pepper compounds, including flavonoids and capsaicinoids, have an antibacterial effect, thus foods cooked with hot pepper can be maintained for a relatively long time. Chili has many anti-aging properties as it is a true antioxidant, promotes blood circulation and has obvious anti-inflammatory properties. It also has a slimming and nutritional effect. Capsaicin is able to increase mucus secretion of gastric juices and, therefore promotes digestion. It stimulates intestinal peristalsis and promotes transit and evacuation, the quickest intestinal passage along with antibacterial and antifungal effects, it avoids the fermentation and the formation of intestinal gases and toxins, particularly the toxins of candida albicans.
It is contraindicated for people suffering from gastric or duodenal ulcer and gastroenteritis.