Sichuan and Sansho — Pepper Berries That Create A Numbing and Tingling Sensation

The Sichuan Pepper is actually the lemon-flavored, numbing berry of the Prickly Ash Tree (Zanthoxylum simulans).

Sichuan Peppers cause a numbing and tingling or “buzzing” on the tongue. This effect is created by a substance in the berries called hydroxy-α-sanshool.

The term “sanshool” comes from the Japanese term for the Japanese peppersanshō (山椒) (literally, mountain pepper).

Dried Sichuan Peppercorns also known as Zanthoxylum simulans seeds

Flavor-wise, the berries have notes of pepper, lemon, and wood.

Sansho Berries — Japanese Mountain Pepper (Zanthoxylum piperitum)

You can find organic Sichuan Peppers and Sansho or Japanese Mountain Pepper Berries on Amazon.

Terre Exotique (Europe) has one the best selections of pepper berries from around the world. Épices de Crue (Canada) is another good source of rare pepper berries.

Sichuan Pepper Tree

Here is a list of other Zanthoxylum berries around the world:

  • Sansho or Japanese Mountain Pepper (Zanthoxylum piperitum)
  • Korean Prickly Ash or Mastic-Leaf Prickly Ash (Zanthoxylum schinifolium)
  • Majiao 麻椒 (Zanthoxylum bungeanum) – berry is used in Chinese remedies
  • Andaliman Wild Pepper, batak (Zanthoxylum acanthopodium) — from Sumatra, Indonesia — notes of lime and mandarin
  • Triphal (Zanthoxylum rhetsa) — from coastal India rainforest — lingering bitter notes
  • Timur Berry (Zanthoxylum armatum) — from Nepal — has distinct notes of grapefuit
  • American Prickly Ash (Zanthoxylum americanum) — from the United States
  • Hercules’ Club (Zanthoxylum clava-herculis) — from the United States
  • Canadian Prickly-Ash (Zanthoxylum americanum Miller) — from Canada
  • Mah Kwan pepper — from Northern Thailand
  • Mah Khaen pepper — from Northern Laos
  • Small Knobwood Tree (Zanthoxylum capense)– from South Africa
  • Senegal prickly-ash (Zanthoxylum zanthoxyloides) — from Western Africa
  • Hairy Chopi or Teol Chopi -a Zanthoxylum piperitum variety — f. pubsescens (Nakai) W. T. Lee, is called teol chopi (털초피) in Korea
  • Asakura zanshō — another variety of Zanthoxylum piperitum var. inerme Makino

1 thought on “Sichuan and Sansho — Pepper Berries That Create A Numbing and Tingling Sensation”

  1. There are two types of these peppers from Northern (in Xieng Khouang Province) Laos:
    One is Mah Khaen pepper (this one will NOT numb and tingle your tongue) and
    two is Mak Maak pepper (this one will numb and tingle your tongue)

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