New Pepper Is So Hot It Could Kill You

Dragon's breath chili

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The new dragon's breath chili is killer hot, but is intended to help, not hurt, when used in medical treatments.

The culinary and extreme-spicy-food-eating worlds have been the recipients of a parade of increasingly really-super-hot peppers over the years, some so singe-worthy that a jalapeno utterly pales in comparison. The current record belongs to the Carolina Reaper, which rates at an average of 1.6 million Scoville heat units – by comparison, our wan jalapeno rings in at 2,500 - 5,000 in the heat scale.

Now a plant grower from Denbighshire Wales, Mike Smith, in collaboration with Nottingham Trent University, has grown a pepper so hot, so searingly painfully hot, that it could lead to a type of anaphylactic shock for unwary eaters, burning the airways and closing them up, reports the Daily Post.

It measures more than 2.48 million on the Scoville scale; US military pepper sprays register at around 2 million. Smith has

But as lethal as the chili might be, it was developed to help, not harm. Intended for use in medical treatments, it could be used as an anesthetic for its numbing properties, helping those with allergies to certain drugs. It could also be used in developing countries with limited access or funds for pharmaceutical anesthetics.

“This was developed because a lot of people are allergic to anesthetics, and this can be applied to the skin because it is so strong it numbs it,” says Smith.

The wee pepper is so potent that it is stored in a specially sealed container – it will be on display at the Chelsea Flower Show this year; no samples, obviously. Smith says he had not tasted one – it "would not be a pleasant sensation," he says, "the heat is beyond.”

Smith has entered the pepper for a Guinness World Record and is waiting for confirmation that the Dragon's Breath is indeed the world's hottest.