capsaicin

Science Dictionary
capsaicin   (kāp-sā'ĭ-sĭn)  Pronunciation Key 
A colorless, extremely pungent, crystalline compound that is the primary active principle producing the heat of red peppers. It is a strong irritant to skin and mucous membranes and is used in medicine as a topical analgesic. Capsaicin is highly stable, retaining its potency for long periods and despite cooking or freezing. Chemical formula: C18H27NO3.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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