Vibrating peppercorn used for pleasure and pain relief

WHAT'S the difference between a Szechuan pepper and a vibrator?

Not much, at least according to top scientists from a prestigious university in London, who claim that the sensation caused by eating the unique Chinese peppercorn feels exactly the same as pressing a vibrator to your lips.

In fact, recent experiments showed that when they tried to rub pepper extract on the lips of volunteers, almost none of them could tell whether they were eating peppers or undergoing mechanical stimulation.

It sounds far-fetched perhaps, but the scientists, researchers at UCL, one of the UK's top universities, hope it might lead to new ways of reducing chronic pain in sufferers of conditions like carpal tunnel syndrome or even paralysis.

Szechuan peppercorn is unique among all other ingredients in producing the sensation of vibration on the lips, but the study reveals that stimuli caused by chemicals in the pepper have the same effect on the human brain as actual touch does.

Read the full story at The Independent.