Does Wasabi Have Capsaicin? (Why Is Wasabi Spicy?!)

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Did you ever wonder why wasabi has such a fiery flavor? Maybe you believe it has anything to do with the capsaicin. Well, youre wrong.

Does wasabi have capsaicin? No, wasabi has no capsaicin. Instead, it’s spicy because of a substance called allyl isothiocyanate (AITC), which is also found in mustard, horseradish, and broccoli. It also makes the flavor milder, and the overall burning sensation is shorter compared to capsaicin.

Continue reading if you’re interested in finding out more about capsaicin and wasabi!

Is capsaicin present in wasabi?

Wasabi does not have any capsaicin in it at all. So, what exactly is it in the root that gives it its distinctively bitter flavor? Such substance is known by its chemical name, allyl isothiocyanate.

Wasabi and horseradish both contain a compound called allyl isothiocyanate (AITC), which is also known as mustard oil. This compound is characterized by a pungent odor. Many people are taken aback when they find that it is even more powerful than capsaicin due to the fact that its impact on the body of a human being is more pronounced and noticeable immediately.

Since AITC is so volatile, according to the experts, if you place your face near to the grater while eating wasabi or drop your head while eating it, it might cause irritation of your nose and tear ducts, causing your eyes to moisten or feel like they are burning.

On the other hand, there are many who feel this has less to do with the strength of AITC and more to do with the rate at which it is eliminated from food.

Both fresh wasabi and fresh horseradish have a very narrow window of time in which they are at their most pungent. After being grated or crushed, AITC loses the majority of its heat because to evaporation roughly 15 minutes later.

Why is wasabi hot in the absence of capsaicin?

Wasabi has the same effect on the body that capsaicin does, regardless of whether it is consumed on its own or as part of a sushi roll, and this effect remains the same regardless of the amount of wasabi consumed. Since they are both isothiocyanates, capsaicin and the chemical molecule allyl isothiocyanate, which is produced when fresh wasabi root is ground up, are chemically related to one another.

But, they are in no way comparable, which is why consuming wasabi does not make you feel as if you are in imminent danger of passing away.

Mustard oil and methanethiol are produced when the components sinigrin and glucosinolate, which are both present in wasabi, are degraded. These two chemicals are responsible for the intense heat that is felt quickly after consuming raw wasabi. This heat reaches its height right after ingestion, but it dissipates within about ten minutes.

Wasabi’s spicy compound is what?

A substance known as allyl isothiocyanate is responsible for the pungent flavor of wasabi. This molecule is the byproduct of the breakdown of sinigrin, which is a compound that is present in many plants that belong to the mustard family. As you chew wasabi, the sinigrin in the plant is broken down, and as a consequence, you get this unique chemical.

While it has some structural similarities with capsaicin, allyl isothiocyanate does not have the same chemical make-up.

The way in which the molecular structures of these two chemicals absorb light energy is what differentiates them from one another (which we perceive as color).

A yellowish-green hue is produced when allyl isothiocyanate, which has a chemical structure that absorbs violet light more effectively than any other wavelength of light, is applied on white surfaces such as snow or paper.

Capsaicin, on the other hand, absorbs yellow light more strongly than any other hue, resulting in an orange or red appearance when it is placed on white surfaces.

Is wasabi good for increasing spice tolerance?

When you consume foods that are high in capsaicin, such as habaneros and ghost peppers, your body produces a receptor that prevents the chemical from entering farther into your mouth. This receptor is called a capsaicin receptor. It’s one of the reasons why it’s possible to build up tolerance to spicy meals over time: The moment you feel the burn, your brain will start sending messages to stop or otherwise combat it.

The same process occurs to your body when you consume an excessive amount of wasabi: Your body identifies the heat as an irritation and attempts to defend itself by producing these receptors. But, in comparison to other sources of capsaicin, wasabi is not very hot, so it will take some time for your tongue to get used to it before you will notice any significant change in your ability to tolerate spicy foods.

Why does wasabi sometimes taste like chemicals?

Wasabi may have a flavor similar to that of chemicals when it is eaten. This is due to the fact that wasabi includes the chemical compound known as sinigrin, which is also present in horseradish and mustard. Sinigrin in wasabi changes into allyl isothiocyanate when it comes into contact with the water in a person’s mouth and undergoes a chemical reaction (AITC). There is also a trace amount of allyl isothiocyanate in horseradish and mustard.

When AITC comes into touch with your mucous membranes, it activates the pain receptors that are located on those surfaces, causing you to experience pain. When you consume spicy foods like wasabi or hot sauce, this causes you to experience a burning sensation in your nose and eyes, similar to the feeling you get when you eat chili peppers. This is a very clever way for spicy plants to fight themselves against pests, therefore it’s nice that AITC does it.


To restate, wasabi is in a class of its own when compared to the other spicy peppers now available on the market. Wasabi is spicy because it contains allyl isothiocyanate, which is wasabi’s replacement for capsaicin. This chemical molecule is interesting in that it is volatile and undergoes change over time. If you’ve ever been left wondering why the wasabi-laced sushi you ordered one time tasted hotter than it did on another occasion, here is the explanation.

  • Is Wasabi Hot?
  • How Hot Is Wasabi?
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Is wasabi spicy because of capsaicin?

In contrast to peppers, spicy mustard, wasabi, and horseradish all produce a highly distinctive and very different kind of searing sensation and burning chemical. Wasabi and horseradish are notorious for producing a feeling that is described as a “nasal flare,” which is caused by allyl isothiocyanate. Capsaicin is the compound in peppers that causes the burning sensation.

Why is wasabi spicy but not spicy?

Wasabi is most certainly considered to be a kind of spice since it has a taste that is rather distinct, is produced from a plant, and can be added to food in relatively tiny amounts in order to impart more flavor. Yet, it is not spicy in the traditional meaning of the word (spicy hot, pungent). It does not have any capsaicin in it.

Is real wasabi supposed to be spicy?

The delicate flavor of the fish that is eaten with imitation wasabi is overpowered by the very robust flavor of the imitation wasabi. In contrast, authentic wasabi has a milder and more pleasurable taste, and it is not truly hot at all; rather, it has the scent of spice rather than the sharp kick that we are used to.

What’s the difference between wasabi and capsaicin?

The molecule found in wasabi is much smaller in size compared to the capsaicin found in chili peppers. Hence, whereas capsaicin would induce a burning sensation on your tongue, the tiny wasabi chemical vaporizes and travels up into your nose, where there are numerous receptors that are specific to the wasabi flavor.

Can eating too much wasabi hurt you?

Possible Dangers and Adverse Effects

What side effects may you expect from eating a lot of wasabi? You may find that in addition to the burning feeling that you feel in your nose and mouth, you also have some discomfort in your gastrointestinal tract. This is due to the fact that wasabi and other hot foods stimulate the liver and gallbladder, which in turn results in adverse effects such as nausea and diarrhea.

Why is real wasabi so spicy?

Wasabi gets its fiery flavor from allyl isothiocyanate, an organic chemical component that may be found naturally in the plant. In addition, the Brassicaceae plant family contains horseradish and mustard, both of which contain this particular chemical. It is possible that this chemical may cause some people to have watery eyes and a sensation similar to that of a spice “going up their nose.”

Is jalapeno hotter than wasabi?

Wasabi is not a pepper and thus cannot be assessed on the Scoville Scale since it does not contain any capsaicin. The only thing we have to rely on are our own personal estimations. It is stated that the heat level of wasabi is comparable to that of jalapenos, which range in intensity from 2,500 to 8,000 Scoville units.

Is real wasabi spicier than fake wasabi?

True wasabi does not have a hot flavor. It’s more like the scent of spicy food, but without the sharp bite that you get from the mustard seed flour that’s in the phony thing. Fake wasabi has an extremely strong flavor that completely overpowers the subtle flavor of the fish. Since it uses mustard seed flour, it packs a powerful punch of spice that may really wake you up in the morning.

Is wasabi spicy good for you?

It will help you maintain a healthy diet.

Those of you who consume wasabi on a semi-regular basis will be glad to learn that it packs a powerful nutritional punch in the form of an abundance of vitamins and minerals. Wasabi is an excellent source of a wide variety of essential vitamins and minerals, including vitamin C, potassium, magnesium, and zinc, amongst many others.

Why is there no real wasabi in the US?

The root of the wasabi plant is where authentic wasabi may be found. It is highly challenging to cultivate them since an excessive amount of moisture may destroy a whole crop of wasabi, and it is necessary to cultivate them in water beds, which is something that is not often done in North America. It takes the plant itself close to a year to fully develop.