Mmmm… peppery!

Did you know that there’s a twitter feed called molecule of the day? So now, courtesy of twitter, I get a text message every day containing one randomly selected interesting molecule. This is now one of my new favourite things on the internets — I believe the appropriate word would be NERDGASM!

*ahem*

But anyway, todays molecule caught my attention, because it’s relevant to my interests. This is caryophyllene, and it’s found in both hops and black pepper! Suddenly, I’m tempted to brew beer from peppercorns.

Anyway, I did a little background reading on it and rapidly discovered that this interesting little molecule shows its tiny carbonaceous face in a lot of places. It’s a main component in the essential oils of rosemary and cloves too, as well as basil, oregano, caraway, west african pepper, and cinnamon. I’d speculate that shared compounds like this are why several of those herbs taste good together. It’s most notable in black pepper particularly, though, because caryophyllene is one of the things that makes pepper spicy.

Oh yes, and it’s also found plentifully in err… cannabis sattiva. Amusingly enough. In fact it even binds to cannabinoid receptors. But not those cannabinoid receptors. Please no one go away and try smoking peppercorns. And if you do, please don’t say that some blogger on the internet told you to, ok?

(via @dailymolecule)

About Invader Xan

Molecular astrophysicist, usually found writing frenziedly, staring at the sky, or drinking mojitos.
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