Student Research Projects

The Societal Impacts of Chili Peppers throughout History

Student Areli Ibarra, '16
Faculty Mentor(s)
Department Foreign Languages and Literature
Course Spanish 375: Topics in Mexican Culture and History


Chili peppers are generally known for their heat, variety in color and use for different purposes. One of the main components responsible for their increasing popularity is capsaicin, which provides the heat and spice they\'re known for. Throughout history chili peppers have been utilized in religion, discipline, medicine, cuisine, and science. In the past indigenous people utilized chili peppers to hold rituals to relinquish ominous spirits as well as a method of interrogation and punishment. Nutritional and health benefits been increasingly acknowledged and used for various treatments. Therefore, the objective of this research was to determine how capsaicin in chili peppers has been beneficially used throughout history to impact society then and now in different areas. By investigating this main component, we can highlight the importance and journey of chili peppers though history, culture and society.