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The Gut-Wrenching Science Behind the World’s Hottest Peppers

Mouthful of pain

In Nagaland, in northeastern India, the “world’s hottest chilis” were first used as solvents to strip the flesh off the trophy skulls taken by the headhunting hill tribes. They have also been used in crowd-control grenades. But, now, these Bhut Jolokia chilis are eaten. Mary Roach reports on attending a chili-eating contest. (Smithsonian Magazine).