Capsaicinoids are plant secondary metabolites, capsaicin being the principal responsible for the pungency of chili peppers. It is biosynthesized through two pathways involved in phenylpropanoid and fatty acid metabolism. Plant capsaicin concentration is mainly affected by genetic, environmental and crop management factors. However, its synthesis can be enhanced by the use of elicitors. Capsaicin is employed as food additive and in pharmaceutical applications. Additionally, it has been found that capsaicin can act as a cancer preventive agent and shows wide applications against various types of cancer. This review is an approach in contextualizing the use of controlled stress on the plant to increase the content of capsaicin, highlighting its synthesis and its potential use as anticancer agent.
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