Dragon's Breath Is the World's Hottest Pepper — And Eating It Could Kill You

This pepper is the first one hotter than pepper spray.

hot pepper
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Some peppers are so spicy that one bite might leave you wishing you were dead. With this pepper, it's so spicy you could literally end up dead. Mike Smith, who runs Tom Smith Plants in St Asaph, Wales, claims he's bred a new pepper that is so spicy it's a shoo-in for world's hottest – with heat so strong consuming it could potentially kill you.

The Dragon's Breath pepper, as it's been named, reportedly measures 2.48 million on the Scoville heat units scale. If that number holds, the new Welsh pepper would easily beat out the current record holder, the Carolina Reaper, which set the Guinness World Record for hottest chili back in 2013 with an average of 1,569,300 Scoville Heat Units. Smith, who developed the pepper with the help of scientists from Nottingham Trent University, says he's already reached out to the Guinness Book and is anticipating a confirmation any day now.

The North Wales Daily Post went so far as to call the pepper "weapons-grade," pointing out how the US military uses pepper spray that registers around 2 million on the Scoville scale. The paper also points out that "it could potentially cause a type of anaphylactic shock for someone who eats it, burning the airways and closing them up," thus the pepper's touted deadliness. (They may surmise this based on the fact that pepper spray, coming in lower on the Scoville scale has been found to do this in the past.)

Unsurprisingly, for these reasons, no one has actually eaten the pepper yet, though Smith did come painfully close. "It's not been tried orally. I've tried it on the tip of my tongue and it just burned and burned. I spat it out in about 10 seconds," he was quoted as saying. "The heat intensity just grows." But though its culinary uses might be terrifying, its creators believe the ridiculously hot pepper may have medicinal uses. "This was developed because a lot of people are allergic to anesthetic, and this can be applied to the skin because it is so strong it numbs it," Smith explained, suggesting that the pepper could also be used as a cheaper source of anesthesia in poorer countries.

In the meantime, the Dragon's Breath chili is being kept in a specially sealed container so it can be put on display at the Chelsea Flower Show next week. It's guaranteed to be the hottest flower show on record. Pending the Guinness World Record people's certification, of course.

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