Q: Hi Dave,
I have read your article regarding capsaicin and it’s power and I am hoping you can answer a question for me. I am starting a home-based business making sports cream and I would like to use 99% PURE capsicum extract. My problem: The research I have done tells me that I can not exceed 0.075% capsaicin in my lotion per the FDA. Based on the trial formula I have made, I am using 0.5% Capsicum extract in my overall formula–but I don’t know how to determine the percentage of capsaicin in the overall lotion. Do you know what % of capsaicin is typically found in 99% pure Capsicum?
A: Hello Sue,
I think that there is a terminology problem here. Oleoresin capsicum, the extract from chiles, is usually around 500,000 to 1 million Scoville Heat Units. Pure capsaicin, which is a crystalline powder, is 16 million SHU. Generally speaking, .5% pure capsicum should mean .5% capsaicin, so that would mean 99 percent pure capsicum would be 99 percent pure capsaicin. Any substance approaching pure capsaicin is a DEADLY POISON and should not be used without proper breathing and skin protection. I’m not sure what the rules are for drugs or lotions, but any food sold in interstate commerce must be produced in an FDA-inspected facility. I’d rethink doing this at home if I were you. Regarding the chemistry and math for your lotion, that is beyond my knowledge–you should consult a chemist.