If you’re not used to eating habaneros, the burning sensation can feel overwhelming. However, every feeling passes after a while, giving you sweet relief from the heat. So, how long does the heat from a habanero last?
The heat from a habanero lasts for around half an hour in your mouth and throat, after which it will gradually subside. If habanero gets on your skin, the burning can last for 24 hours. Thankfully, there’s a lot you can do to relieve the heat.
Read further to discover why habaneros are so spicy and if there’s anything you can do to stop the burning. I’ll also explain if it’s unhealthy to eat too many habaneros.
Why Are Habaneros So Spicy?
Most people know that habaneros are incredibly spicy peppers and not for the faint-hearted. Still, what makes them so spicy?
Habaneros are so spicy because they contain high levels of capsaicin, the substance responsible for chili peppers’ fiery taste. Capsaicin activates the pain receptors in your mouth and throat and tells your brain that you’re in pain.
Scientists measure capsaicin levels using the Scoville scale. The measurement is Scoville Heat Units (SHU), and habanero peppers measure 100,000 to 350,000 SHU.
For comparison, bell peppers score zero, while jalapeños score between 3,500 to 10,000, making them three times less hot than habaneros.
In habanero peppers, the highest concentration of capsaicin is in the pith (the white, inner fleshy part) and the ribs.
When you eat a habanero pepper, it takes a couple of minutes for the fiery feeling to kick in, and the heat gradually increases over the next few minutes before peaking. With habanero peppers, the burning sensation is mainly in the back of the throat, and the burning feeling usually lasts for around half an hour.
The fiery feeling in your mouth doesn’t disappear suddenly but takes a few hours to subside.
If you get habanero pepper on your skin, the burning can last for around 24 hours if you don’t treat it.
How Do I Stop the Burning From a Habanero?
After eating a habanero, you might feel desperate to stop the intense burning sensation in your mouth and throat. Is there anything you can do to stop the burning?
You can stop the burning of a habanero by consuming foods that offer relief from capsaicin. These foods include dairy, painkillers, sugary foods, acidic foods, and mouthwash.
I’ll discuss why these methods work in more detail below:
Consume Dairy Products
Consuming a dairy product is many people’s go-to method for sorting out mouth-burning from eating peppers. Dairy products contain casein, a protein that breaks down the capsaicin in habaneros.
Habaneros are a common ingredient in Mexican food, and if this has been your meal, you may have some sour cream lying around. After eating a tablespoon of sour cream, you should feel better.
Alternatively, here are some other dairy products you could try:
- Cream cheese
Take an Over-the-Counter Painkiller
If the burn from eating a habanero pepper feels painful, consider taking an over-the-counter painkiller to dull the pain.
Bear in mind that most painkillers take around half an hour to work, so the sooner you take it, the better. Consider taking a fast-acting painkiller for quicker relief if you can’t bear the pain.
Tylenol Rapid Release Gels from Amazon have laser-drilled holes that quickly release the active ingredients in your stomach for fast absorption and quick capsaicin relief.
Consume a High-Sugar Product
When glucose comes into contact with capsaicin, it absorbs the capsaicin and breaks the molecules down. So, sugar can provide quick relief for the fiery feeling in your mouth.
Here are some examples of sugary products that can help:
- Maple syrup
- Soda (not the diet version)
- Fruit juice
- Sports drinks
Consume an Acidic Product
Capsaicin is an alkaline oil, and an effective way of reducing the burn in your mouth and throat is to neutralize it with an acidic product. Below are some common examples of acidic foods and drinks that you might want to have handy after eating a habanero pepper:
- Lime, tomato, or lemon juice
- Apple cider vinegar
- Citrus fruits
Rinse with Alcohol-Based Mouthwash
Alcohol is a powerful compound that can dissolve the capsaicin oil in your mouth and throat. If you’re home and have some alcohol-based mouthwash in your bathroom, take a capful, and swirl it around your mouth for as long as possible.
If you don’t have an alcohol-based mouthwash, you could always rinse your mouth with some high-proof alcohol such as vodka.
What Should I Do if I Get Habaneros on My Skin?
Now that I’ve explained what to do if your mouth feels like it’s on fire after eating habaneros, what do you do if you get it on your skin?
If you get habaneros on your skin, you should treat the area with dairy or baking soda or wash the area with soap or alcohol. Dairy, baking soda, alcohol, and soap will remove the capsaicin from your skin.
Washing the area thoroughly with soap and water helps break down the capsaicin, but wiping your skin with an alcohol wipe will help dissolve it if you don’t have access to soap and water.
The casein in dairy products (such as butter or cream) will break down the capsaicin, while a baking soda and water paste will absorb the capsaicin and relieve the burning.
Is It Unhealthy To Eat Too Many Habaneros?
It’s no secret that habaneros create a powerful burning sensation in your mouth and throat. But is this dangerous, and is it unhealthy to eat too many habaneros?
It’s not unhealthy to eat too many habaneros. The intense burning sensation won’t harm you, but as the capsaicin passes through your digestive tract, it can irritate your stomach or colon, causing diarrhea or vomiting. Thankfully, this is temporary.
If you suffer from acid reflux, eating habaneros can exacerbate the problem and further irritate the esophagus’s lining.
Those able to withstand habaneros’ spicy taste can benefit from their multiple health benefits:
- Rich in Vitamin A and C. Eating one habanero pepper gives you your daily recommended amount of Vitamin C, a vital nutrient for healthy immune functioning. It also has significant Vitamin A content for a healthy nervous system and skin.
- Rich in fiber. One tablespoon (15 g) of habaneros has 1 g (0.035 oz) fiber, five percent of your daily recommended amount.
- Capsaicin can boost your metabolism. Research has shown that capsaicin can help boost your metabolism and help you burn calories. Great news if you’re trying to lose weight!
- Capsaicin is an excellent anti-inflammatory. Capsaicin also has anti-inflammatory properties and may relieve symptoms of arthritis and injury in the body.
- Capsaicin can relieve pain. Many topical pain relief gels and creams contain capsaicin, a testament to its potent pain-relieving properties.
The heat from a habanero pepper is intense, but thankfully it only lasts for about half an hour. Habaneros measure high on the Scoville Scale due to their high capsaicin content, and although they can produce a burning sensation in your mouth and throat, they’re nutritious.
You can relieve the burning from habaneros by:
- Consuming dairy products
- Taking an over-the-counter painkiller
- Consuming an acidic or high-sugar product
- Using an alcohol-based mouthwash
- Alimentarium: The Scoville scale
- BBC: Carolina Reaper: 5 facts about the world’s hottest chili
- Tyler Farms: Orange Naga Viper Pepper Seeds
- WebMD: Casein Protein – Uses, Side Effects, and More
- WebMD: Apple Cider Vinegar
- National Library of Medicine: Dietary capsaicin and its anti-obesity potency: from mechanism to clinical implications
- Quora: How long does a habanero burn last in the mouth?