- Chemical Defense
- Why Carry Pepper Spray (OC) Rather than a Conventional Weapon?
- What is Oleoresin Capsicum (OC)?
- Page 7
- Page 8
- Page 9
- Page 10
- Other Effects of Pepper Spray Usage
- Problems with Pepper Spray
- Types of OC Spray Nozzles
- Is Pepper Spray Legal?
- Where Can I Carry Pepper Spray?
- What is my Legal Liability with Pepper Spray?
- How Often Should I Replace My Canister of Pepper Spray?
- Are the Pocket Size or Key Ring Sprays Effective?
- What about a Ultraviolet (UV) dye in pepper spray?
- Get Proper Training
- All Pages
What is Oleoresin Capsicum (OC)?
OC is an oily extract of pepper plants of the genus Capsicum. There are many different kinds of peppers, ranging from jalapenos, chiletpin, cayenne, to habaneras, but all have one thing in common: they contain a powerful alkaloid called capsaicin (cap-say-a-sin). A burning sensation may be felt even with a single drop of tasteless and odorless capsaicin in 100,000 drops of water. In fact, capsaicin may be detected by humans at one part per ten million parts water! Each year, millions of pounds of capsicum are imported into the United States, primarily from India, Japan, Africa, and Mexico. It is used as a spice in salsa, chili, curries, and hot sauces and as a pharmacological agent in topical anesthetic and analgesic creams.
OC extract is comprised primarily of: (1) carotenoids, the red pigment found in many vegetables, (2) vegetable oils, and (3) a complex mixture of fat soluble phenols known as capsaicinoids, the compounds responsible for the "heat" or pungency. There are over 15 capsaicinoid compounds in OC, capsaicin (trans-8-methyl-N-vanillyl-6-nonenamide) and dihydrocapsaicin being the most potent. The other capsaiciniods, while comprising a larger percentage of OC are relatively inert with respect to pungency.
Capsaicinoids are produced by a gland in the pepper's placenta, which is the top partition just below the stem where the seeds are attached. Sources say the "heat" of the placenta is about 16 times stronger than any other part of the plant.
Relative hotness in peppers is measured in Scoville Heat Units (SHU), which is the greatest dilution of pepper extract that can be detected by the human tongue. In 1912, Wilbur Scoville, a pharmacologist, developed the standard for measuring the power of capsaicin, called the Scoville Organoleptic Test. The test was used to calculate the temperature of peppers used in many pharmaceutical products at that time, which were used for the relief of sore muscles, arthritic pain, and muscular sprains.