Studying chilli peppers is helping scientists create a new type of painkiller which could stop pain at its source.
A team at the University of Texas says a substance similar to capsaicin, which makes chilli peppers hot, is found in the human body at sites of pain.
And blocking the production of this substance can stop chronic pain, the team found.
They report their findings in the Journal of Clinical Investigation.
Capsaicin is the primary ingredient in hot chilli peppers which causes a burning sensation.
It does this by binding to receptors present on the cells inside the body.
Similarly, when the body is injured, it releases capsaicin-like substances - fatty acids called oxidized linoleic acid metabolites or OLAMs - and these, via receptors, cause pain, the researchers have found.