Scoville unit

Scoville unit
   a unit measuring the concentration of capsaicin, the "hot" ingredient in chile peppers. A measurement of, say, 50 000 Scoville units means that an extract from the pepper can be diluted 50 000 to 1 with sugared water and the "burn" of the capsaicin will still be barely detectable by the human tongue. (In practice, the measurements are now made with liquid chromatography.) The unit was invented in 1912 by the American pharmacologist Wilbur L. Scoville, who was working on the use of capsaicin in the muscle pain-relieving ointment Heet. Actual chile peppers have capsaicin concentrations from 5000 to 500 000 Scoville units.

Dictionary of units of measurement. 2015.

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