Szechuan pepper taps at nerve fibers

Szechuan pepper taps at nerve fibers

The spice makes lips tingle at 50 beats per second

By Laura Sanders, 13:53 PM September 10, 2013

As many Asian chefs know, a dash of Szechuan peppers delivers a lip-rattling experience. This fizzy, tingly sensation comes courtesy of specialized nerve fibers that detect physical vibrations, a new study suggests.

Szechuan peppers aren’t spicy, but chefs often pair them with hot chilies to elicit a devastating tingly hot culinary sensation. Although scientists had a good idea how Szechuan peppers affect mice, the new results are the first to describe how the peppers work in people, says Dian...

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