It seems appropriate at this time of year to talk about all things pungent/spicy particularly in the Land of Enchantment or Land of Chile! What has fascinated me for years are the wild chiles, a distant cousin of our common cultivar. Chiltepins, as they are called by desert natives, are small round chile peppers that grow on bushes in south-central Arizona, south Texas and deep into northern Mexico. Our senses know it as hot on the tongue but the sensory experience also signals a much deeper log of information about chiltepins, or its near cousin Cayenne.
Native desert people such as the Tahono Odham of southwest Arizona often eat spicy native peppers to assist in digestion, relieve arthritis pain, and to ward off witchcraft. It is known as a counter-irritant topically, helping to bring blood and circulation to sore muscles and damaged nerves.