Peppers are rated based on Scoville Units, a method developed by Wilbur Scoville in 1912. The test officially measures the pungency level of a given pepper or the amount of capsaicin present. There are other methods, but the Scoville Scale remains the most widely used and respected test to-date. As a result, various varieties of chile peppers can be ranked according to their heat, or pungency level.
Listed below is an approximate scale for several varieties of peppers.
Pepper Variety Scoville Units
* Cayenne, Tabasco, Piquin 100,000 – 450,000
* Jalapeno; Mirasol; Chipotle; Poblano 2,500 – 5,000
* Sweet Bells; Sweet Banana; and Pimento Negligible Scoville Units
* Habanero; Scotch Bonnet 100,000 – 350,000
* Yellow Wax; Serrano 5,000 – 15,000
The Red Savina Habanero is said to be the hottest of peppers. It has been tested at over 577,000 Scoville units! Although some chiles are quite hot, most are valued for their soothing effects on the digestive system and for their ability to provide relief from the symptoms of colds, sore throats and fevers. They’re also known to improve circulation, especially in the hands and feet. Others have used them as a hangover remedy.