Black pepper having botanical name Piper nigrum is a flowering vine in the family Piperaceae, cultivated for its fruit, which is usually dried and used as a spice and seasoning. It is native to South India and is extensively cultivated there and elsewhere in tropical regions.
Piper nigrum is a perennial vine. Leaves are simple, alternate, oval, leathery, upper surface is dark green and whitish green below. Flowers are greenish yellow arranged in a spiral along the spine. Fruit is an oval drupe, green in color, then become yellow to red and finally turns black color. Fruit contain a seed. The fruit, known as a peppercorn when dried, is a small drupe five millimetres in diameter, dark red when fully mature, containing a single seed.
Dried, ground pepper is one of the most common spices in European cuisine and its descendants, having been known and prized since antiquity for both its flavour and its use as a medicine. The spiciness of black pepper is due to the chemical piperine. Ground black peppercorn, usually referred to simply as “pepper”, may be found on nearly every dinner table in some parts of the world, often alongside table salt.
Chemical Composition –
Black pepper contains a chemical called piperine. This chemical seems to have many effects in the body. It seems to reduce pain, improve breathing, and reduce inflammation.
It is an excellent source of vitamin K and manganese. Studies have found that it is also a good source of iron, zinc, copper, chromium, calcium and dietary fiber. Besides this, it contains various health promoting compounds such as flavonoids, terpenes, tannins and alkaloids.
Part used –
Fruit, Dried Unripe Fruits, Known As Peppercorns are the parts used for various purposes.
It is one of the most commonly used spices in the world and is regularly eaten in foods. But as medicine, there isn’t enough reliable information to know what an appropriate dose of black pepper might be. Keep in mind that natural products are not always necessarily safe and dosages can be important. Be sure to follow relevant directions on product labels and consult a healthcare professional before using.
• Black pepper powder – 250 mg – 2 grams in divided doses per day.
• Black pepper essential oil is commonly used in aromatherapy. The oil is typically inhaled by adults for 1-2 minutes at a time.
• Stomach Ulcer
It plays a protective role against stomach ulcers. It inhibits the secretion of gastric acid that corrodes the inner lining of the stomach and relieves pain.
• Boosts Digestion
It helps in the digestion of food by enhancing the secretion of saliva and enzymes present in saliva. Black pepper stimulates digestion by activating the digestive enzymes present in pancreas and intestine.
Piperine reduces the volume of loose stools by reducing the accumulation of fluid. It further reduces the number of diarrheal episodes and thus prevents the loss of water and electrolytes from the body.
• Relieves Pain
“Beta-caryophyllene”, a compound present in black pepper essential oil has anesthetic activity. It is also beneficial for individuals with arthritis because it reduces inflammation and pain associated with it. Piperine blocks the pain receptors and reduces the perception of pain.
It is beneficial for hypertension. Piperine present in black pepper prevents calcium from entering the blood vessels. This helps in relaxation and widening of blood vessels, ensures smooth blood flow throughout the body and thus lowers high blood pressure. Reduce your salt intake and go for some black pepper.
Piperine reduces the level of oxidative stress and protects the brain cells against damage. Piperine also improves the communication and transmission of messages throughout the brain and body. It enhances brain activity and inhibits molecules responsible for depression.
Piperine inhibits the enzymes that promotes the formation of fat. Hence intake of black pepper lowers the accumulation of fat and enhances the removal of fat. Thus, it lowers the level of LDL cholesterol and increases high-density lipoprotein (HDL) or good cholesterol.
It helps in the treatment of tooth decay, tooth ache and oral abscess. It is a potent anti-bacterial agent that kills the bacteria which is responsible for dental caries. Mix equal parts of salt and black pepper with water to form a paste. Apply this paste on the affected teeth and leave it for 10-15 minutes.
• Male Infertility
Black pepper increases the level of testosterone (male sex hormone). It is rich in magnesium and zinc. Such a composition increases the level of male sex hormones. It improves the sperm count and sperm concentration. It contains zinc, a potent antioxidant that reduces oxidative stress and improves fertility. Zinc is important for the development and movement of the sperm.
Side Effects –
• Black pepper is LIKELY SAFE when taken by mouth in amounts commonly found in foods. It is LIKELY UNSAFE when taken by mouth in large amounts during pregnancy as it might cause an abortion.
• Black pepper is LIKELY SAFE when taken by mouth by breastfeeding mothers in amounts commonly found in foods.
• Piperine, a chemical in black pepper, might slow blood clotting. In theory, taking black pepper in amounts greater than those in food might increase the risk of bleeding in people with bleeding disorders
• Black pepper might affect blood sugar levels. In theory, taking black pepper in amounts greater than those in food might affect blood sugar control in people with diabetes.
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