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There is already a superb post about "hot" spices like cayenne/pepper. I am not asking specifically about these spices, but in general all the spices. Spices can include a variety of items like cloves, black peppers, bay leaves, turmeric, ginger, garlic, etc. If you know what "Masala" means then I don't need to elaborate on this. My friend told me that eating too spicy a food can damage organs in the digestive system. I wanted to understand if this can be true?

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It may have to do with the chemical structure and how they bind to specific receptors (see: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Capsaicin on capsaicin) causing a "sensation of burning" and irritation. It does also seem to directly affect the GI lining:

"Many substances directly irritate the lining of the esophagus and can contribute to heartburn. These include spicy foods, citrus fruits and juices, tomatoes and tomato sauces, cigarette smoke, aspirin, and ibuprofen (with brand names such as Motrin and Advil). Some of these foods can also increase the production of stomach acid and decrease the LES pressure, leading to heartburn." http://www.emedicinehealth.com/script/main/mobileart-emh.asp?articlekey=59146&page=3

  • Good answer, and it is important to emphasize the word "CAN" - the effects depend on the individual's anatomy/physiology, as well as the quantity, timing, accompanying foods, etc. – DoctorWhom Oct 3 '16 at 6:39
  • CAN is not a direct term. It's also important to remember than CAN does not mean it will or won't. It's a wishy washy term that has a vague definition. It's scientifically not accepted as a proper term in many fields of study. It's just more of an outword comforting term for a patient, and a scapegoat word to avoid implicating yourself into an incorrect diagnosis if that situation occurs. – cloudnyn3 Oct 3 '16 at 14:41

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