Department of General Medicine
Common name: Birds eye chilli, Kanthari
Botanical name: Capsicum frutescences
Capsicum frutescence or Bird Eye chilli is one of the cultivar groups of species Capsicum annuum. The pungent types of Bird Eye pepper considered a condiment or spice for seasoning and stimulating the appetite as well as used in local medicine mainly for herbal practitioners who prepare ointments for joint pains and rheumatism.
Bird’s eye chili is a chili pepper usually seen in Southeast Asian countries. In India, it is commonly seen in Meghalaya, Kerala and Assam.
Birds like to pick the ripe chili and since it is spread by birds they are called as bird’s eye chili. In Kerala, it is called as ‘Kanthaari Mulaku‘. Traditional Kerala dishes have this chili as their main ingredient. It is considered as one among the ten hottest chili peppers in the world. When compared to other chilies, its production is very low.
The Bird Eye pepper is a slow-growing short perennial shrub. Flowers are in clusters of 2 or more, waxy greenish, usually erect. Fruits elongate, usually upright, usually narrow and smalls, up to 5cm x 1cm, green to cream and yellow when immature and orange to red when mature, fruit wall are smooth and extremely pungent.
Chilis seeds are dispersed by birds and naturally distributed by birds dropping.
It can be cultivated from seeds extracted from the red fruits ; direct contact of fruit pulp with skin may cause burning sensation, which may last for few days. This seeds should be pre- treated with hot water and followed by ash powder for improving germination.
Each 100 g edible portion of fruits contains:
Water 86.0 g
Protein 1.9 g
Fat 1.9 g
Carbohydrates 9.2 g
Iron 1.2 mg
Calcium 14.4 mg
Vitamin A 700-21600 IU
Vitamin C 242.0 mg
Energy Value 257.0 Kj
Medicinal Values and Health Benefits of Birds Eye Chili
It reduces Blood sugar.
It lowers cholesterol and acts against arthritis and rheumatism.
Capsaicin has very powerful pain-relieving properties.
Chilies can also be used as an insect repellent when crushed with water.
It increases appetite by stimulating the gut.
People used this chili to treat bruises and swelling.
Various studies show that birds eye chilli has antifungal, antimicrobial and antibacterial activities.
It is also reported that it prevents blood clots, halts bleeding quickly, knocks out cold and flu.
It also reduces risk of heart diseases and tuberculosis.
Green or ripe chilies can be used in cooking or can be eaten raw with other dishes.
It has a very distinct smell and imparts great flavor to the food. Especially butter milk.
This Chilly may cause stomach irritation for the persons with ulcers or heart burn, Capsaicin can increase stomach acid, making certain drugs less effective.
Some Medicinal Values of Kanthari ; by Rajendran Pullad
KANTHARI MULAKU (Capsicum frutescences) ; Papanashini ; by manu nair.
Bird’s eye chillies – Kanthari mulaku (dried) – Health benefits ; NatureLoc ; by Siyanna.
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