Antiviral activity of chili peppers or green chilies


In human food, the use of chilies dates back to the prehistoric period. Archaeological research has confirmed that in 2500 BC, South Americans ate and cultivated chilies. In many cultures, chilies are incorporated into their diet. Chillis and other similar species were kept isolated until the 13th century when they became available worldwide.


Capsicum is tiny annual herbs native to tropical South America, a part of the Solanaceae family. This genus of capsicum contains 20 distinct species. In warm, humid regions such as the tropics and subtropics, Capsicum species are commonly grown and their fruits are mainly used in local cuisine.

Why is chili spicy?

The flavor and pungent power of these green chilies vary widely and so do their contents of capsaicin and its capsaicinoid analogs.

Bioactive compounds and benefits

Analytical studies have shown that green chilies contain high concentrations of many essential nutrients, such as vitamin A, calcium, vitamin C (up to 6 times the orange concentration), vitamin B-6, iron, and magnesium. Green chilies have been commonly used for a number of illnesses, including respiratory issues, digestive problems, common cold, pain relief, immune enhancement, and blood sugar control.

Antiviral activity

Research studies have shown that Capsicum annuum is substantially active against HSV-1 and HSV-2 (herpes simplex virus 1 and 2). And, this study also shows that when paired with standard medications, we can increase the potency of green chilies.

Another research study found that cis-capsaicin in the guinea pig animal model is the responsible compound for antiviral activity (blocking the replication cycle of the virus) against the herpes simplex virus. Similarly, chilies have been reported to showing special effects on sensory neurons, which are directly involved in the spreading and persistence of HSV infection.