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

The Sichuan Pepper is not actually a pepper. It’s the lemon-flavored, numbing berry of the Prickly Ash Tree (Zanthoxylum simulans).

Sichuan Peppers are not like chile peppers and not pungent like black peppers. Instead, when eaten, Sichuan peppers are numbing and tingling or “buzzing” on the tongue. This effect is created by a substance in the berries called hydroxy-α-sanshool.

Dried Sichuan Peppercorns — Zanthoxylum simulans seeds

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

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
Sansho Berries — Japanese Mountain Pepper (Zanthoxylum piperitum)

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