Why do chile peppers burn? One might say that it was what they were put on this earth to do, just as I was put on this earth to worship my fair angel. As I am writing this, I am realized that there are two separate questions that need answering. The first is Why do chile peppers burn?. But what you really want to know is WHAT CAUSES chile peppers to burn?
Behold: the capsaicin molecule.
Why does a chile pepper burn?
The secondary story on this answer has to do with birds. Birds do not feel the pain and the seeds stay intact throughout their digestive system. The fruit is eaten; the seeds pass through the bird's gastrointestinal tract, and are spread, continuing the life cycle of that plant. If a mammal eats the seeds, they are destroyed within the digestive tract, making them useless for reproduction of that plant.
What causes the heat in chile peppers?
The bad thing about this bond created by the capsaicin is that it's not easily broken. Water just won't do the trick. If you think about it, water is the natural choice. You feel the "heat" and you naturally reach for something cold that will put out the "fire." You need milk, yogurt, or sour cream. I've even heard that bread is a good solid substitute.
Let's Get High
I'll admit it. I'm addicted. The only adverse reactions I ever had with eating too hot of chile peppers is what happens the next morning. You see, the mouth and tongue can sustain serious amounts of cap and often become tolerant. But the soft and sensitive tissues of your lower lower lower digestive tract do not.