FAO Nutrition Meetings 
    Report Series No. 48A 
    WHO/FOOD ADD/70.39


    The content of this document is the 
    result of the deliberations of the Joint 
    FAO/WHO Expert Committee on Food Additives 
    which met in Geneva, 24 June  -2 July 19701

    Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations
    World Health Organization


    1 Fourteenth report of the Joint FAO/WHO Expert Committee on Food
    Additives, FAO Nutrition Meetings Report Series in press; Wld Hlth
    Org. techn. Rep. Ser., in press.


    Biological data

    Biochemical aspects

         Non-pharmacologic Aspects

         Injection of paprika extract or its active ingredient capsaicin
    into cats produced either a drop in blood pressure with low doses or a
    biphasic response with higher doses (Varady & Katuruya, 1931). I.v.
    administration of capsaicin in dogs and cats produced apnoea,
    bradycardia and hypotension. Vagotomy abolished the response in dogs
    and produced a pressor effect and hyperpnoea in cats (Toh et al.,
    1955). This was probably due to simulation of baroreceptors at the
    pulmonary bifurcation as well as other central and peripheral factors
    (Pórszász at al., 1957). Intragastric administration to cats reduced
    body temperature (Högyes, 1878). Crystalline capsaicin raised the acid
    secretion of the stomach by local irritation (Toh et al., 1959).
    Capsaicin administered parenterally or locally to guinea-pigs, rats
    and mice depressed a sensatory excitability (Jancso, 1955).

    Acute toxicity


    Animal    Route          LD100               Reference
                             mg/kg body-weight

    Cat       i.v.           1.6-4.3             Janesó, 1955

    Large oral doses failed to kill dogs but guinea-pigs are very
    sensitive. Rabbits, mice and rats die from hypothermia after large
    oral or parenteral doses while guinea-pigs die from anaphylactic shock
    (Molnar, 1965). Capsaicin is a local skin irritant (Csedö, 1962).

    Short-term studies

         Rat. 10% chill was added to an artificial rat diet containing 10%
    ardein (a groundnut protein) which produces in controls fatty liver
    and cirrhosis. Out of 26 rats sacrificed after 7 months, 15 had
    neoplastic changes in the liver. Hepatomata multiple cystic
    cholangiomata, solid adenomata or adenocarcinomata of the bile duct
    occurred (Hoch-Ligéti, 1950).

    Long-term studies

    None available.


         The active principle capsaicin has systemic and local irritant
    action. The effect observed in the short-term study in rats on a
    grossly subnormal diet is not relevant to an evaluation for human use.


         Use as a spice will be self limiting and governed by good
    manufacturing practice.


    Csedö, K. (1962) Thesis, Tirgn-Mures

    Hoch-Ligéti, C. (1950) Res. Comm.  V. Congr. Int. Canc., 122

    Högyes, A. (1878) Arch exper. Path. Pharm., 9, 117

    Jancsó, N. (1955) Speicherung, Virl. Akad. Kiado, Budapest

    Molnár, J. (1965) Aroneim. Forsch., 15, 718

    Párszász, J., György, L. & Porszasz-Gibiszer, K. (1957) Acta. Phys.
    Hung., 12, 189

    Ton C. C., Lee, T. S. & Kiang, A. K. (1955) Biol. J. Pharmacol.,
    10, 175

    Varady, M. & Koturuya, M. (1931) Thesis, Univ. Sfegedia

    See Also:
       Toxicological Abbreviations