Various spicy peppers on a countertop

While heat may seem like a simple sensation, it’s actually quite complex, and getting it right requires deep understanding.

We’re going to break it down for you into three areas of consideration so you can set the world on fire with your next heat-imbued application.

The Chemical Compounds

The sensations we experience we often identify as heat are caused by:

Capsaicin from Chili Peppers, Sanshool from Szechuan Peppers, Allyl isothiocyanate from Mustard and Horseradish, Gingerol from Ginger, Piperine from Black Pepper

The Physical and Chemical Reactions

Different compounds result in different physical sensations and chemical reactions. They include: 


Heat sources like capsaicin and piperine bind to pain receptors in our mouths, which sends a signal to the brain that the mouth is being burned and then we perceive pain.


Sweat glands are set into action in an attempt to cool the body down. Saliva The mouth secretes extra saliva to flush out the irritant.


A sense of pleasure is achieved with endorphins, which are released to reduce the perception of pain.

Nasal Burn

Pungent volatile compounds ,such as allyl isothiocyanate, travel up the nasal cavity for a unique sensation.


A buzzing and numbing sensation in the mouth is common after eating Szechuan peppers due to the sanshools present in the pepper.  

Got Milk? The reason milk is the answer when things get too hot is that it contains a protein called casein. It literally binds to the oil soluble capsaicin and takes it away!


The Possibilities

When you combine compounds, you can create multiple reactions resulting in varying intensities and timing.

Ginger + Mint

Combining Black Pepper and Szechuan provides heat and a delayed tingling sensation that lingers. This pairing is ideal for adding a little bite to your Szechuan cuisine.

Mustard + Chili Pepper

Popular in Chinese dishes, this combination, known as Mala, results in an experience that is spicy and numbing.

Ginger + Mint

Lingering heat from ginger combines with the cooling, menthol sensation of mint. This combination is perfect to dress up a classic Moscow Mule or Mint Julep on a hot summer day.

Mustard + Chili Pepper

Mustard provides a quick onset of nasal burn and spiciness that is boosted in intensity and lingering by the chili pepper. This dynamic duo can be seen in hot mustards and really complements a charcuterie board.

When you combine various sources of heat, the combinations are limitless—and so are the impact they have. HeatSync® crafted by Kalsec can provide these multidimensional systems. From timing and intensity to pungency perception and location, we can help you deliver precisely predictable heat experience, no matter how complex.