Here's Where The Scoville Scale Becomes Deadly

Can you take the heat? Well, maybe — to a certain degree. For all you fearless spicy food lovers out there, it just so happens that there is indeed a limit to the amount of heat your daredevil self can handle. Even if you think you're brave enough to douse your dishes in the spiciest of hot sauces, we're sorry to report that you've barely scratched the surface. In fact, the hottest peppers on earth are considered lethal. That's right! These peppers are so ridiculously hot that they would literally kill the person attempting to eat them.

How is this even possible? It all has to do with the Scoville scale, which is the measurement of the pungency — or heat level — of chili peppers, recorded in Scoville Heat Units (SHU). A pepper's heat level depends on the concentration of its capsaicinoids, the chemical compounds that give peppers their kick, if you will (via Chili Pepper Madness). So, exactly how hot is the hottest pepper ever cultivated, and why is it so dangerous?

At what point on the Scoville scale are chili peppers deadly?

There actually is a chili pepper that is so hot, not even its grower has the nerve to taste it. It's called the Dragon's Breath chili, and it measures at a whopping 2.48 million SHU. To put this not-so-subtle zest in perspective, military-grade pepper spray gauges about 2 million SHU. Mike Smith, the Welsh grower of Dragon's Breath, says that the demonic fruit is roughly 22 times hotter than the popular habanero (350,000 SHU) and nearly 300 times spicier than the jalapeño (8,000 SHU), per Live Science.

The Dragon's Breath has never been consumed, mainly considering the fact that the high amount of capsaicin in the pepper could cause one's airways to close up and lead to anaphylactic shock. Yikes. To tell the truth, the pepper was created for an entirely different purpose than culinary enjoyment. According to Smith, the pepper was developed to treat those allergic to anesthetics during surgery. The pepper's heat is so strong, its oils can be used to literally numb the skin. But if someone were to eat this pepper, it would likely be the last thing they ever taste. Seriously, folks. Stick to the normal hot sauce. You'll never find this villain bottled up anyway.