Black pepper

Piper nigrum (black pepper)

Description

Black Pepper has been prized since ancient times when, in Greece, the spice was used not only as a pungent seasoning but as a currency and a sacred offering. Today pepper is a staple of kitchens around the world. Black and white peppercorns are the same fruit; the difference in their colour reflects varying stages of development and processing methods. Pink peppercorns are derived from a completely different plant species (Schinus molle). Today, the major commercial producers of pepper are India and Indonesia.

Parts used

The berries of the black pepper plant.

Constituents

Black pepper contains manganese, iron, vitamin K, dietary fibre and copper.

Medicinal uses

  • Improves digestion.
  • Promotes intestinal health.
  • Helps prevent the formation of intestinal gas.
  • Promotes sweating.
  • Encourages urination.
  • Has an antioxidant and antibacterial effect.
  • Stimulates the metabolism, improves vitality and helps break down fat cells.
  • Eases symptoms of bronchitis.
  • May have an inhibitory effect on the progression of tumour growth.

CAUTION

Talk to your medical practitioner before taking any herbal supplements.
Both black and white pepper are rarely allergenic, that is, they are safe when used as a seasoning in food and might be safe for most people when used in medicinal amounts. Do not, however, give young children large amounts of pepper. Consult your medical practitioner before taking black pepper for cancer, or if on a regimen of drugs, including Lithium.

Flora Force Products containing Black Pepper

Domestic & culinary uses

Black pepper

Few savoury dishes do not contain pepper, but here are some ideas to boost your intake of this delicious spice:
* Rub steaks with crushed peppercorns before cooking to create the classic dish, steak au poivre.
* Add generously to venison steaks or stews for a depth of flavour.
* Use to season salad dressings.
Remember that black pepper is best served freshly ground. Buy whole peppercorns instead of powdered black pepper.

Cultivation

Piper nigrum flourishes in hot and humid tropical climates. It is not commonly grown in southern Africa.

Photo credits

  1. By Dvortygirl (Own work)
[GFDL or CC-BY-SA-3.0-2.5-2.0-1.0], via Wikimedia Commons.
  • By Bunchofgrapes (en:Image:Dried Peppercorns.jpg) [GFDL or CC-BY-SA-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons
  • Information in our herb library is intended only as a general reference for further exploration. It is not a replacement for professional health advice and does not provide complete dosage information, format recommendations, toxicity levels, or possible interactions with prescription medicines. Accordingly, this information should only be used under the direct supervision of a suitably qualified health practitioner such as a registered homeopath, naturopath or phytotherapist.