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Capsicum species are not only cultivated as vegetable and condiment crop but are also incorporated into a number of medicinal preparations in the ancient literature around the world. Naga chilli' or 'Bhoot Jolokia' (Capsicum chinense Jacq.) is a chilli variety indigenous to the northeast region of India and has been recognized as the hottest chilli in the world. It has also been used conventionally in treating various human ailments since time immemorial by the indigenous people of the northeast India. Despite being an important crop of the northeast India, the information on the biology and cultivation of Naga chilli is very scanty and scattered. The present article reviews the scientific literature on above aspects with particular emphasis on identifying the key regional issues which need to be addressed urgently by the policy makers in order to harness its potential as an important source of capsaicinoids. Further, an attempt has been made to collate the potential of capsaicinoids in various ethnopharmacological applications such as pain therapy, body temperature regulation, anti-obesity treatments, anticancer therapy and as antioxidant and antimicrobial agent. We anticipate that this literature analysis of traditional medicinal uses and experimental trials of Capsicum using modern scientific approaches shall provide a basis for suggesting important areas where sincere research efforts are warranted to bridge the gap between traditional medicinal knowledge and modern biomedical knowledge.
Defence Research Laboratory, Post Bag 2, Tezpur 784001, Assam, India.
This article was published in the following journal.
Name: Journal of ethnopharmacology
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