An Unbiased Review of the Star West Botanicals' 160,000 Organic Cayenne Pepper Option

I've been using 90,000 SHU (Scoville Heat Units) cayenne for about six or eight years now give or take.

A few months ago, I thought I was ready to "graduate" to the 160,000 organic cayenne pepper.

I might have been wrong. Let me explain.

I went over to Star West Botanicals where I buy almost all my favored medicinal herbs and spices and ordered the 160,000 SHU organic cayenne pepper.

I was anxious to try it out, and as all of Star West's products do, it came quite quickly.

It had a beautiful rich, burgundy color and even smelled strong.

I dug out a solid half of a teaspoon of the 160,000 SHU cayenne pepper powder and put it in a glass of four ounces of very warm water and drank it.

The normal burning in my mouth, tongue and lips was no more pronounced than the 90,000 SHU cayenne. "That was no big deal. There doesn't seem to be much of a difference between 90k and 160k cayenne," I thought to myself.

Mistake. A big mistake.

Within three to five minutes, large beads of sweat formed on my forehead and my entire body felt hot, which is natural given cayenne's natural thermogenic properties. This body heat felt different, though. It was pronounced. My stomach burned like it never had before. It was really painful.

That was not, however, the worst of it.

I was nauseated beyond anything I had ever experienced (except when I have to write checks to the IRS) and felt like I was going to vomit any second. I sauntered over to the bathroom sink and waited.

I didn't have to wait for long.

Over the next 10 minutes, I proceeded to vomit out the water and cayenne in small doses all the while wishing to myself I had never heard the term "cayenne pepper." After it was all gone, the nausea disappeared and my body's heat returned to normal.

Ten minutes after the vomiting stopped, you'd have thought I had never been sick, but I was. It was a very sobering experience and a strong lesson that I've not forgotten.

The next time I prepared the cayenne, I must admit I was a little apprehensive given the intensity of the nausea I felt upon using the 160,000 SHU organic cayenne pepper for the first time.160,000 Organic Cayenne Pepper

I scaled back the cayenne to about 1/32nd of a teaspoon or 1/16th or so with three to four ounces of very warm water.

That worked and that's what I've been doing since.

I apologize. You probably didn't expect my personal experience with the Star West Botanicals' 160,000 organic cayenne pepper, did you? I could've kept that story to myself but I wanted to illustrate to you how non-discriminating and potent cayenne can be. I'm a "seasoned" cayenne user and yet it was too potent for me.

My Unbiased Review of Star West Botanicals' 160,000 Organic Cayenne Pepper, Cont'd

So, now, let's get to some specifics for this review of Star West Botanicals 160,000 organic cayenne pepper.

It came via UPS in only a few days, which I always appreciate for when I buy a product, I don't want to wait for long. The cayenne is packaged in a silver packet. It's fairly nondescript with the product info as to the packet's cayenne contents on the front label. It opens and closes easily having a single thread strip. 

It smells good, too. The color is like the graphic on this page -- a rich, deep burgundy color.

As you can infer from the above story, its potency cannot be discerned by its smell, look, or even taste. It is certainly potent, though. In truth, it is VERY, VERY potent. Do not underestimate it!

What about pricing? It's only $29.42 -- and that's for a pound. Trust me that will last you a very long time.

What about quality assurance? Well, it is certified organic by the Quality Assurance International organization as well as the Kosher Certification Service.

My opinion? It is a very high quality cayenne pepper powder. It's also sold at a great price. However, the truth is most people can't take it as it's so potent. It's not for cayenne beginners to be sure.

Personally, I would stick with 90,000 SHU cayenne at the most for a while before you graduate to this one. Yes, the additional capsaicin, the active ingredient or secondary metabolite in this cayenne, will certainly give you enhanced health benefits. But there needs to be a trade off with usability.


If beginners use it, they will probably experience what I did -- even worse. Then, I doubt they would be persuaded to try cayenne ever again and that would be unfortunate. Cayenne has natural emetic capabilities, but the higher the capsaicin amount, the more pronounced the reaction is.

Thus, be patient before trying to use this one. If you do use it, I'd like to recommend you learn from my bitter experience: start really small and use just a little.

That has been working for me and I think it could work for you, too. Just be careful.

Believe me when I say that I've learned the truthfulness of the following saying by Confucius: "The cautious seldom err."

If you are going to use 160,000 SHU cayenne, I recommend you only start using it after you have been using 90,000 SHU cayenne for quite a while.

If you are interested in learning more about it, check out my "buy the best cayenne pepper on the market" page and you can see it there. To see a full product price list on a number of cayenne pepper products, go here.

Or, you can buy it over here. Or, just click on the graphic.

I hope this review of Star West Botanicals' 160,000 organic cayenne pepper has been useful to you.