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How to Extract the Capsaicin from the Pepper PDF Print E-mail

Q: Dear Fellow Hothead,

How do manufacturers extract the capsaicin from the pepper to make a hot sauce hotter than a habanero?

Matthew Michel


A: Hello Matthew:

Hot red chile peppers are dried, ground, and pelletized.  They are treated with hexane, a petroleum distillate that acts as a solvent, and the result is oleoresin capsicum, a thick, reddish oil.  The oil is heated to release all the hexane, which is distilled and reused.  The spent chile pellets are sold as cattle feed.  The oleoresin is refined to remove the oil, and the result is a crystalline powder called capsaicin.  Simply put, what is happening is refining.  By removing all components that are not capsaicin, you are left with pure capsaicin.  An analogy would be sugar.  You start off with sugar cane, and through refining  you remove everything that is not sugar, and you are left with pure sugar.


Comments (3)

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I need to extract this for my school project, whats the most cost effecient way to do this? Do i have to ground this first or apply petroleum. Somebody please give me advice.
Amandeep Singh , November 28, 2012
Thanks for your quick reply! Will experiment this weekend :-)
wendy , April 04, 2012
I am doing a thesis on the Capsicum Anuum for my Herbalist degree. I would like to experiment making a heating joint cream using capsaicin. Do you think I can try extracting capsaicin from my chilli's at home?
Thanks, Wendy from Belgium

Hi Wendy, thanks for your question!

Here is Dave DeWitt's reply:
Just boil the hottest chiles you can find, chopped, in vegetable oil, to make a chile oil. Then add beeswax to make a cream.

Good luck with your joint cream.
wendy , April 03, 2012

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