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Proc Soc Exp Biol Med. 1988 Jun;188(2):229-33.

Some pungent principles of spices cause the adrenal medulla to secrete catecholamine in anesthetized rats.

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Department of Food Science and Technology, Faculty of Agriculture, Kyoto University, Japan.


We recently reported that capsaicin, a pungent principle of hot red pepper, evokes catecholamine secretion from the rat adrenal medulla. In this study, the effects of some pungent principles of spices on adrenal catecholamine secretion were investigated as compared with that of capsaicin. An increase in catecholamine, especially epinephrine, secretion was observed not only on capsaicin infusion but also on piperine (a pungent principle of pepper) and zingerone (ginger) infusion. Even on infusion of the same amount (650 nmol/kg, i.v.), the order of potency as to catecholamine secretion was capsaicin much greater than piperine greater than or equal to zingerone. While, sulfur-containing and volatile pungent principles, allylisothiocyanate (mustard, etc.) and diallyldisulfide (garlic, etc.), did not even cause slight catecholamine secretion. Furthermore, these adrenergic secretagogues were readily transported via the gut into the body. These results indicate that some pungent principles of dietary spices can induce a warming action via adrenal catecholamine secretion.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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