Capsicum annuum L.

Last updated: 14 Nov 2016

Scientific Name

Capsicum annuum L.


Capsicum abyssinicum A.Rich., Capsicum angulosum Mill., Capsicum axi Vell., Capsicum baccatum Rodschied [Illegitimate], Capsicum baccatum Buch.-Ham. ex Wall. [Invalid], Capsicum bauhinii Dunal, Capsicum caerulescens Besser, Capsicum cerasiforme Mill., Capsicum cerasiforme Willd. [Illegitimate], Capsicum ceratocarpum Fingerh., Capsicum cereolum Bertol., Capsicum comarim Vell., Capsicum conicum G.Mey., Capsicum conicum Lam., Capsicum conoide Mill., Capsicum conoides Roem. & Schult., Capsicum conoideum Mill., Capsicum cordiforme Mill., Capsicum crispum Dunal, Capsicum cydoniforme Roem. & Schult., Capsicum dulce Dunal, Capsicum fasciculatum Sturtev., Capsicum fastigiatum Blume, Capsicum frutescens L., Capsicum globiferum G.Mey., Capsicum globosum Besser, Capsicum grossum L., Capsicum indicum auct., Capsicum longum DC., Capsicum milleri Roem. & Schult., Capsicum minimum Mill., Capsicum odoratum Steud., Capsicum odoriferum Vell., Capsicum oliviforme Mill., Capsicum ovatum DC., Capsicum petenense Standl., Capsicum pomiferum Mart. ex Steud., Capsicum purpureum Vahl ex Hornem., Capsicum purpureum Roxb., Capsicum pyramidale Mill., Capsicum quitense Willd. ex Roem. & Schult., Capsicum silvestre Vell., Capsicum sphaerium Willd., Capsicum tetragonum Mill., Capsicum tomatiforme Fingerh. ex Steud., Capsicum torulosum Hornem., Capsicum tournefortii Besser, Capsicum ustulatum Paxton, Capsicum violaceum Desf. [Illegitimate], Piper indicum Garsault [Invalid]. [1]

Vernacular Name

Malaysia Chabai, chabai achong, chaboi seberang, chaboi selaseh, chilli, chilli besar, lada merah [2]
English Aromatic hot pepper, aromatic pepper, bell pepper, bird pepper, bonnet pepper, capsicum, Cayenne pepper, chilli pepper, Chinese pepper, garden pepper, green pepper, Guinea pepper, mango pepper, paprika, paprika pepper, pimento, pimiento, red chilli pepper, red pepper, Spanish pepper, sweet pepper [2]
China La chiao, la jiao [2]
India Ahmur, birik, branmaricha, byadagi menasina kaayi, chabai, filfile, gach-marich, galakonda, gasmiris, jalakia, jeeni chedy, kappalmulaku, katuvira, kempu menasu, kogamiriya, lalmirca, lodachina, marcha, mattisa, menasina, mirapa kaayi, mirchee, mirsinga, mulakay, perangimuluk, raktamarica, seemai milagai, sudmirapakaaya, tiksna, upperimulaku, usimulagay, valmilagay [2]
Indonesia Cabe [2]
Laos Ngaam ngay [2]
Philippines Chilli, katumbal, kitikot, lagda, pasites, sili, siling-labuyo [2]
Japan Kidachi-tô-garashi, kôreigus, tô-gara-shi [2]
Tibet Tsitraka [2]
Saudi Arabia Felfel, felfel ahmar, felfel rumi, felfila, ifelfel [2]
Africa Filfil romi, forotu, kilikili, totoshi [2]
Congo Ndongo, ndongoya assuele, ndongaya assuêlê, pilipili [2]
Tanzania Biribiri, mpilipili, mpilipili hoho, pilipili, pilipili hoho [2]
Nigeria Aman-ntuen, asie, ata abalaye, ata abureku, ata-eiye, ata-isenbaye, ata-jije, ata sisebe, ata wewe, barkono, ekie, isie, koruuko, ntokon, ntueen, ose, ose etore, ose mkpe, ose nukwu, ose nwamkpi, ose-oyibo, sata-jije, tashshi [2]
Madagascar Malao, pilipilidia, pilipily, pilopilo, pilopilombazaha, piment de Cayenne, piment doux, piment enrage, piment Martin, poivron, rajakojakomena, sakaibe, sakaifantsinakoho, sakaipilo, sakay, sikafo [2].

Geographical Distributions

The genus of Capsicum is a new world origin. It comprises of 5 domesticated and about 25 wild species. Mexico is believed to be the centre of origin of Capsicum annuum, whereas C. frutescens and the other cultivated species (C. baccatum L. var. pendulum (Willd.) Eshbaugh, C. chinense Jacq., and C. pubescens Ruiz & Pavón) are originated in South America. Capsicum peppers were introduced to Asia in the 16th Century by Portuguese and Spanish explorers via trade routes from South America. Widespread geographic distribution of C. annuum and C. frutescens has occurred on all continents, whereas the others are little distributed outside South America. Capsicum peppers are cultivated throughout Southeast Asia where the pungent forms having the greatest distribution and importance. [3]

Botanical Description

C. annuum is a member of the family Solanaceae. It is very variable, normally as an annual herb or subshrub that can reach up to 0.5-1.5 m tall, erect, much branched and grown as an annual. The taproot is strong while the lateral roots are numerous. [3]

The stem is irregularly angular to subterete, measuring up to 1 cm in diameter much branched, often hairy near the branching, green to brown-green and often with purplish spots near the nodes. [3]

The leaves are arranged alternately, simple and very variable. The petiole is up to 10 cm long. The leaf-blade is ovate, measuring up to 10(-16) cm x 5(-8) cm, acuminate at the apex, usually entire at the margin, nearly hairless and light to dark green. [3]

The flowers are usually borne singly and terminal. The pedicel measures up to 3 cm long in flower and measures up to 8 cm long in fruit. The sepal is cup-shaped, persistent and enlarged in fruit. It is usually with 5 conspicuous teeth. The petal is bell-shaped to rotate, with 5-7 lobes, measuring 8-15 mm in diameter and it is usually white. There are 5-7 stamens and with a pale blue to purplish anther. The ovary is 2(-4)-locular, with a slender style is white or purplish and with a headed stigma. [3]

The fruit is a non-pulpy berry, very variable in size, shape, colour, and degree of pungency. It is usually more or less conical, measures up to 30 cm long, green, yellow, cream or purplish when immature and red, orange, yellow and brown when mature. [3]

The seed is pale yellow orbicular, flattened, measuring 3-4.5 mm in diameter and measures about 1 mm thick. [3]


Soil Suitability and Climate Requirement

C. annuum requires well drained soil for optimum growth and thus best suited for sandy loam, clay loam, bris and tin tailings. With good management, it can also be planted on peat soils. The average monthly rainfall of about 200 mm is required during the crop growing seasons. The plant also needs ample sunlight for good growth. [4]

Field Preparation

Land Preparation

The planting area should be plough to the depth of 15-22 cm at least twice to improve the soil structure and eliminate weeds. Liming should be done during the first plough if the pH is less than 5.0. C. annuum is quite sensitive to water-logging and thus it is recommended to be planted on beds. The recommended bed size is 120 cm wide (furrow to furrow) and 20-30 cm high. Proper in-field drainage system should be developed to avoid flash floods. [4]

Production of Planting Materials

The seeds are relatively small and thus are recommended to be firstly sown in the nursery beds or sowing trays. The seeds start to germinate at 10–14 days after sowing. The germinated seeds are then selected and transplanted to the planting trays when it has 2-3 pairs of leaves. The seedlings are raised for another 2-3 weeks in the planting trays before field planting. At this stage, it has 3-4 pairs of leaves. [4]

The C. annuum seedlings ready for field planting


Field Planting

C. annuum is recommended to be planted on the planting beds. The recommended planting system is single row planting at the planting distance of 80 cm within plant in a row. Interrow (furrow to furrow) spacing is 130 cm. This will give the population density of about 9,500 plants/ha. The use of silver shining plastic mulch can helps to solve the weed problems, conserve moisture and reduce the spread of virus. The drip tape irrigation system should be installed before the beds are covered with the mulch. [4]

Field maintenance


C. annuum requires both the organic (chicken dung) and compound inorganic fertiliser (N:P:K:Mg=12:12:17:2) for maximum growth. Chicken dung should be given at one week after planting at the rate of 3-4 t/ha. The recommended rate for the compound fertiliser is 1.5 t/ha to be given at 2, 8 and 14 weeks after planting. Trace elements should be given as the foliar fertiliser when there are some symptoms of microelement deficiency. Planting on the sandy soils such as bris and tin tailing soils requires higher rate of chicken dung (10-15 t/ha). [4][5][6]

Weed Control

Good land preparation is very important in the post planting weed control. The use of silver shine reflective plastic mulching to cover the planting beds is no doubt the best practice in control weeds. The reflective plastic mulching also helps to conserve moisture and reduce the pest infestations especially aphids. [4][5][6]

Water management

Supplementary irrigation is needed in providing water for maximum growth during dry days. Drip irrigation system is recommended if the plastic are used. Drip irrigation is easy to handle, cheap and does not need a large water source. For alluvial soil with a large water source, furrow irrigation can be used. [4]

Pest and Disease Control

The common pests of C. annuum are aphids, thrips, fruits borer, arrmy worms and fruit flies. The most common diseases on the other hand are anthracnose, leaf spots, stem rots and bacterial wilts. These pests and diseases can be controlled by practicing good phytosantary measures and the proper use of pesticides and fungicides. [4]


The plant starts to bloom at 40-50 days after planting. The fruits will mature and be ready for harvesting 30-40 days after flowering. Harvesting can be carried at weekly intervals and lasts for about 3-4 months from the first harvests. The potential fresh yield of C. annuum is about 10 t/ha. [4]

The harvested fruits ready for consumptions


Postharvest handling

The fruits are normally marketed fresh for culinary purposes. The harvested fruits should be cleaned, graded, packed and kept in a cool and dry place if there is a need to store stem before sending to the market. [4]

Marketed fresh for culinary purposes

Estimated cost of production

The estimated total cost of production for C. annuum is RM 19,500 per hectare. The cost covers the both the cost agricultural inputs and labours. At the production level of about 10,000 kg/ha, the cost of production for a kilogram of fresh C. annuum is about RM 1.90 per kg. The cost of production was estimated based on the current inputs cost during writing of this article. [4]

Chemical Constituent

Fruits of C. annuum have been reported to contain trans-p-feulyalcohol-4-O-(6-(2-methyl-3-hydroxypropionyl) glucopyranoside and luteolin-7-O-(2-apiofuranosyl-4-glucopyranosyl-6-mal-only)-glucopyranoside, trans-p-feruloyl-β-D-glucopyranoside, trans-p-sinapoyl-b-d-glucopyranoside, quercetin 3-O-a-l-rhamnopyranoside-7-O-b-d-glucopyranoside, luteolin 6-C-b-d-glucopyranoside-8-C-a-l-arabinopyranoside, apigenin 6-C-b-d-glucopyranoside-8-C-a-l-arabinopyranoside and luteolin7-O-[2-(b-d-apiofuranosyl)-b-d-glucopyranoside]. [7]

Plant Part Used

Fruit. [8]

Traditional Use

C. annuum has been used historically to treat asthma, pneumonia, diarrheal, cramps, toothache, flatulent dyspepsia without inflammation, and peripheral circulation insufficiency [9].

Externally, topical preparation of C. annuum oleoresin (0.25-0.75%) is used for pain associated with arthritis, rheumatism, and cold injuries. Taken orally, C. annuum has been reported to increase peripheral circulation and improve digestion. Cultures that eat C. annuum regularly have a lower incidence of stroke due to an increase in fibrinolytic activity and coagulation caused by constituents in the pepper [10].

In addition, C. annuum has theraupetic effect on other diseases such as rheumatic diseases, cluster headache, painful diabetic neuropathy and postherpetic neuralgia. It also acts as a great treatment for abnormal growth-related nerve fibers diseases including arthritis, cystitis, and human immunodeficiency virus [11].

Besides, the low intake of C. annuum in dietary are potentially decrease the level of serum, myocardial and levels of cholesterol [12].

In Malaysia, the fruits are normally used in flavouring soup and curry preparations. The bioactive compounds that contribute to its pungency are capsaicin and other aliphatic hydrocarbons, fatty acids and esters. The fruits of the hot and pungent cultivars when taken in small amounts have antiseptic and antirheumatic properties. The fruits are also taken as treatment for fevers, asthma and digestive problems. [4][5][6]

Preclinical Data


Anti-inflammatory activity

Capsaicin isolated from C. anuum has been reported to exhibit anti-inflammatory activity by activate some unmyelinated primary afferent sensory neurons (Type “C"). Many of cayenne’s positive effects on the cardiovascular system are thought to be due to excitation of neurons in the vagus nerve. [13]

Some of the unmyelinated sensory fibers sensitive to capsaicin contain the neuropeptides Substance P and somatostatin. Capsaicin reportedly stimulates the release of these neuropeptides from both central and peripheral terminals of these primary afferent neurons [14].

The release of the neuropeptide Substance P is associated with desensitization, analgesia and anti-inflammatory activity. Prolonged exposure to capsaicin results in a gradual desensitization to acute effects, potentially due to the depletion of substance P and somatostatin from the primary afferent neurons. Topically, capsaicin has been reported to be useful in alleviating post-herpetic neuralgia, post-mastectomy pain syndrome, arthritis and rheumatoid arthritis, painful diabetic neuropathy, psoriasis,[15] pruritus, and other conditions [16][17].

Immunomodulatory effects

Substance P, a calcitonin peptide, is the main transmitter released from capsaicin-sensitive sensory-motor fibers having positive inotropic and chronotropic effects on the heart. This causes vasodilatation in the coronary arteries and elsewhere in the peripheral vasculature [18]. Capsicum has been reported to have immunomodulatory effects, causing local vasodilation and increased accumulation of neutrophils [19].

Energy metabolism activity

In another study, the effects of dietary hot red pepper on energy metabolism at rest and during exercise were examined in long distance male runners. Plasma epinephrine and norepinephrine levels were significantly higher in those who had only hot red pepper at 30 min after the meal. These results suggest that hot red pepper ingestion stimulates carbohydrate oxidation at rest and during exercise. [20]

Colon cancer prevention

Both the gastric and duodenal mucosa are thought to contain capsaicin-sensitive areas which afford protection against acid and drug induced ulcers when stimulated by capsaicin or hydrochloric acid. Stimulation causes an increase in mucosal blood flow and/or vascular permeability, may inhibit gastric motility, and may activate duodenal motility [21]. Internal use of capsicum in laboratory animals was recently reported to reduce oral bioavailability of aspirin, likely as a result of the gastrointestinal effects of capsaicin [22]. Of interest is a study indicating that capsaicin might be useful for the prevention of human colon cancers [23].

Cayenne also has been reported to inhibit glucose absorption in laboratory animals and in humans [24]. Another more recent study reported that cayenne pepper may stimulate carbohydrate oxidation at rest and during exercise. The dietary cayenne significantly elevated respiratory quotient and blood lactate levels at rest and during exercise. Oxygen consumption at rest was slightly but nonsignificantly higher in the hot red pepper meal at 30 min after the meal. Plasma epinephrine and norepinephrine levels were significantly higher in those who had only hot red pepper at 30 min after the meal [20].

The maximum tolerable dose of cayenne significantly reduced fat intake in human volunteers and also lowered energy intake in comparison to volunteers who ingested the placebo [25]. Of interest are two recent studies conducted to investigate the effects of capsaicin on feeding behavior and energy intake in human subjects [26]. In the first study, the effects of dietary cayenne pepper added to high-fat and high-carbohydrate meals on subsequent energy and macronutrient intakes were examined in thirteen Japanese females. The high-carbohydrate breakfast significantly reduced the desire to eat and hunger after breakfast. The addition of cayenne pepper to the high-carbohydrate breakfast significantly decreased the desire to eat and hunger before lunch. Differences in diet composition at breakfast time did not affect energy and macronutrient intakes at lunch-time; however, the addition of cayenne pepper to the breakfast significantly decreased protein and fat intakes at lunch-time. In the second study, the effects of a cayenne pepper appetizer on energy and macronutrient intakes were examined in ten Caucasian male subjects. After ingesting a standardized breakfast, the subjects took an experimental appetizer with the addition of cayenne pepper. The cayenne appetizer significantly reduced the cumulative energy and carbohydrate intakes during the rest of the lunch and in the snack served several hours later. Moreover, the power spectral analysis of heart rate revealed that this effect of cayenne pepper was associated with an increase in the ratio sympathetic to parasympathetic nervous system activity. The authors concluded that the results indicated that the ingestion of cayenne pepper may decrease appetite and subsequent protein and fat intake in Japanese females and energy intake in Caucasian males, with the effect possibly being related to an increase in sympathetic nervous system activity in Caucasian males [26].

Absorption and bioavailability of some medications may be altered by concurrent use of cayenne. One report suggests that use of cayenne may decrease the bioavailability of salycilates when used concurrently [22]. Another laboratory animal study reported that concurrent use of cayenne and theophylline increased areas under plasma curves, peak plasma levels, and mean residence times for the theophylline product. A second administration of the capsicum suspension, 11 hours after dosing, produced a new rise of theophylline plasma levels in every rabbit [27].

In addition, antioxidant activity was affected by the changes of phytochemical during maturation process. When the peppers matured the antioxidant constituents's concentration also increases. Carotenoids components are responsible for coloring of the peppers. The green color of fruit was influenced by the existing of carotenoids constituents like xanthophylls, violaxanthin,neoxanthin, utenin for green color of the fruit while final red color of fruit because of existing of capsanthin, capsorubin and capsanthin 5,6-epoxide. The previous research showed that red pepper higher antioxidant activity compared to others. [28]


No documentation

Clinical Data

Clinical findings

No documentation


Do not apply cayenne topically for more than 2 consecutive days with a 14 day time lapse between due to potential damage to sensitive nerve endings [29]. Cayenne can cause minor burn in the mouth due to its sharp and caustic effect [11].

Side effects

No documentation

Interaction & Depletion

No documentation


No documentation

Poisonous Management

No documentation

Line drawing



Figure 1: The line drawing of C. annuum [3]


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