Black pepper is grown and harvested all over the world, especially in Vietnam. Large quantities of black pepper are produced and exported from Vietnam. As per record in 2008, Vietnam is the world’s largest producer of Pepper. The powdered or crushed Black Pepper has been used as a flavoring for food or as a traditional medicine from the olden days. It is a frequently used spice in European dishes. Black pepper is the world’s most widely traded spices because of its various health benefits. Basically, piper nigrum can be classified as
--> Black Pepper – Cooked fruit
--> Green Pepper – Dried unripe fruit
--> White Pepper – Seeds of ripe fruit
What is Black Pepper?
Black pepper is known as the King of spices or black gold and it is the most commonly used spice all over the world.
The botanical name of black pepper is Piper nigrum which comes under the family Piperaceae. Black pepper is obtained from the flowering plant.
Initially, black pepper is a fruit that is dried under the sunlight and then used. It is added to a variety of dishes for its spicy flavor.
Black pepper plants are grown in tropical and temperate regions.
Table of Contents
Common Names Of Black Pepper
Tamil Name – மிளகு, Milagu
English Name – Black Pepper, Common Pepper, Pepper
Hindi Name – Kalimirch, Mirch, Gulmirch, Golmirch, Choco mirch
Telugu Name – Miriyalu, marichamu, shavyamu
Bengali Name – Golmarich, Vellajung, Murichung, Kolukung
Marathi Name – Mirin, Kalamiri
Gujarati Name – Kalamri, Kalamuri, Kalominch, Kalamire.
Kannada name – Kari Manesu, Kalu Menasu, olle Menasu.
Malayalam Name- Nalla muluka, Kurumulaku, Lada, Nallamulaku.
Konkani Name – Kare Menasu
Urdu Name – Filfilsiyah, Kalimirch
Punjabi Name – Gulmirch
Persian Name – Filfile siyah, Pilpil, Filfile Aswad
Botanical Parts of Black Pepper
Black pepper is a flowering plant that is cultivated for its fruit. It is dried and then used for medicinal purposes. Black pepper plants are grown in tropical areas, the leaves and seeds of these plants have essential oil that produces a strong fragrance.
The pepper plant is a perennial woody vine that grows up to 4 m in height with a support system like trees or poles. Usually, they won’t grow in too dry soil, flooding, moist, well-drained, and organic-rich soil. Apart from soil conditions, this plant does not have the ability to produce a good yield at an altitude of 900 m above sea level. The propagation process of this plant can be done by the stem cuttings of the plant about 40 cm and then leave it to climb over the trees or climbing frames.
The leaves of pepper plants are alternate, petiolate, simple, and oval in shape. The size of the leaves is 2.0 to 3.9 inches in length and 1.2 to 2.4 inches in cross. The color of the upper region is dark green while the bottom is whitish-green.
Flowers are greenish-yellow in color and are arranged in spiral form. The flower spike gets out from the main stem node and the mature spike is about the size of 2.8 to 5.9 in.
The size of the fruit is from 4mm to 6mm. Initially, the color of the fruit is green, then the color changes from yellow or red when it matures, and finally black when dried. The single stem has 20 to 30 fruit spikes. The seeds occupy the largest area in the fruit.
Where Does Black Pepper Come From?
The origin of Black pepper is the Malabar coast of South India (Kerala) and there are various varieties of pepper species found in Burma and south India.
Almost two thousand years ago, pepper was harvested in the southeast parts of Asian countries like Malaysia, India, and Indonesia. Olden texts of Greek and roman civilizations say that the trade of pepper was from India and the western parts of the world.
Balancing the Doshas
Black pepper has a heat potency that treats the illness related to pitta dosha (Fire, Water) by increasing pitta and Vata dosha by reducing Vata (Air, Ether), and Kapha doshas (Earth, Water). The digestion process, body metabolism, and energy synthesis are related to pitta dosha. Therefore overconsumption of pepper heats up your body and may cause skin rashes, body heat, burning sensations, peptic ulcers, heartburn, and indigestion issues.
But to treat Vata dosha, Pepper is the best choice and that should be added to your diet. Balanced Vata provides warmth and stability to your body. Because, the attributes of Vata are cold, dry, light, and irregular. A person with imbalanced Kapha dosha will suffer from an illness like overweight, sleeplessness during night, asthma, depression, and diabetics. The attributes of Kapha are cold, heavy, and dense, that’s why pepper is preferred by most people.
Ancient ayurvedic text says that Ahara (food) can maintain the health of your body by balancing the doshas and aids the body metabolism, detoxification, circulation, and nerve transmission process better.
Medicinal Properties of Black Pepper
Taste (Rasa): Pungent (Katu)
Qualities (Guna): Lightness (Laghu), Strong piercing(Teekshna), enters minute body channels (Sookshma)
Vipaka (After Digestion): Pungent taste (Katu)
Veerya (Potency): Hot (Ushna)
Effect on Tridosha – Balances Kapha and Vata doshas
Chemical Constituents of Black Pepper
This spice has lots of active compounds such as oleoresins and alkaloids like piperine and chavicine. It also has antioxidants, flavonoids, essential oil, and other phenolic compounds that provide various health-boosting properties.
Black pepper contains 5 to 10 % of Piperine, Piperethine, Piperolein A & B, feruperine, Dihydroferuperine, Citronellol, Cryptone, Dihydrocarveol,a-b acid, Piperonal, Camphene, B- Caryophyllene, B- alanine, Pipecolic, niacin, and 13-carotene
Black pepper is also a rich source of vitamins and minerals namely Vitamin C, Vitamin K, Vitamin E, Vitamin A, Thiamine (B1), Riboflavin (B2), Pantothenic Acid (B5), Vitamin B6, Manganese, Copper, Iron, Calcium, Phosphorus, Potassium, Selenium, Zinc, and Chromium.
Amazing Health Benefits of Black Pepper
Apart from adding flavor to your cuisines, black pepper also provides various health benefits because of its bioactive compounds piperine. The pungent taste of black pepper is due to the presence of this natural alkaloid piperine. Piperine has many health-supporting abilities which are given below.
1. Abundant Antioxidants
Black pepper is rich in piperine which is a powerful antioxidant and is useful in blocking the free radical damage in the body.
Usually, Free radicals are produced by our body while exercising or during the digestion process. But excess free radicals are inconsistent molecules that may cause damages to your cells.
Further, the amount of the free radical in your body gets increased when exposed to pollution, cigarette smoke, and sun. This may lead to severe diseases like cancer and heart-related issues.
2. Anti-inflammatory Properties
Inflammation may be the reason behind various illnesses in the human body such as cancer, asthma, arthritis, etc. And inflammation can be treated with the piperine compound present in the pepper. Scientifically it is tested with animals and provided a better result.
3. Anti-Cancer Properties
In black pepper, mostly all the credits go to the active compound piperine. Piperine has an important role in the prevention of cancer cell formation, and it is double powerful when taken with turmeric. Because piperine found in Black pepper maximizes the absorption of curcumin found in turmeric.
Vitamin C, A, flavonoids, carotenes, and antioxidants present in black pepper eliminate harmful free radicals from the body and thus protect you from cancers. Studies found that piperine improves the effectiveness of docetaxel- chemotherapy medicine used in the treatment of various cancers.
4. Enhance Brain Functionalities
Piperine is the main substance found in black pepper and it is helpful in boosting the function of your brain. It is used to treat memory-related diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease. The substance piperine reduces the formation of amyloid plaques (accumulated damaged protein fragments) in the brain that is associated with Alzheimer’s disease.
Piperine relaxes the neurotransmitter of the brain by blocking an enzyme that breaks down serotonin. This regulates emotions and mood. Apart from that, it also decreases the function of melatonin – which plays a major role in circadian rhythms.
Piperine is also important in treating Parkinson’s disease. Parkinson is caused due to the lack of dopamine secretion which influences your mood. Consuming black pepper can cure Parkinson’s disease.
Regular intake of Black pepper also delays the brain aging process and is very helpful for stroke people. It also improves the nerve function in the brain, protects the nerve cells, and decreases premature cell death.
5. Controls Blood Sugar Level
As I have mentioned already, piperine properties present in black pepper have various medicinal properties that help to reduce blood glucose level. Black pepper eliminates the glucose level in the bloodstream same as the insulin hormone does.
Studies proved that black pepper oil will block two enzymes that convert starch into glucose. The product from this conversion process gets absorbed by the blood and makes diabetic symptoms worse. Here, intaking black pepper will delay and reduce glucose absorption. It is recommended to use along with metformin – a diabetes medication. And this will reduce the side effects of metformin.
6. Minimizes Heart-Related Problems
Black pepper reduces the risk of heart-related issues which is caused by elevated blood cholesterol levels. Like turmeric, black pepper increases the absorption of dietary supplements that decrease bad cholesterol.
Adding pepper regularly to your diet will maintain your arteries clean by removing cholesterol from the walls of them. Therefore, it can reduce atherosclerosis which is caused by the narrowing of blood vessels due to plaque formation. Plaque gets formed due to the accumulation of fats, cholesterol, and calcium.
7. Improve Digestive System
Black pepper increases the growth of good bacteria in your stomach. These bacteria improve the performance of the immune system, mood, and inhibits chronic diseases. Drinking black pepper water may reduce appetite, help in constipation, and eliminate the toxic substances from your body.
Black pepper triggers the secretion of hydrochloric acid in the stomach which aids to digest the food easier and absorb the nutrients found in your food. The carminative property minimizes the gas production in your intestines which may cause discomfort.
Absorption of nutrients: Black pepper maximizes the absorption of essential nutrients like calcium, curcumin (found in turmeric), beta-carotene, and B vitamins, and selenium in the intestine which is important for gut health.
8. Boost-up Immune System
A weakened immune system may be the reason for various health issues. To avoid those issues, you have to strengthen your immune system. And black pepper is a good additive to your food. The active compound piperine works well by boosting the secretion of WBCs (White blood cells) which fights against invading microbes.
9. Helps in weight loss
The outer portion of black pepper helps in the breakdown of fat cells in your body. When the fat cells get broken down energy gets released. And this energy is then utilized by our body to do other processes and reactions which may reduce the settling of unwanted fats. This aids in reducing the overweight problem.
How to Use
Prepare a tea with black pepper and drink it regularly to lose weight.
Add a small amount of ground black pepper with water and squeeze a lemon with it. Drink it on an empty stomach to promote weight loss.
10. Helps in Respiratory-related Issues
Black pepper possesses an expectorant property that aids in clearing mucus and phlegm deposits built up in the respiratory system and its tract. Thus, it will give big relief from cold, cough, sinusitis, and nasal congestion.
How to Use Black Pepper
1. Prepare a soup with black pepper and other spices and consume it to treat cold and coughs. It is also used in Ayurvedic medicine and Unani medicinal practices.
2. Crush the black pepper and make a paste with a small quantity of honey. Consume it, to get relief from chest congestion due to pollution, cold, or flu.
3. Add black pepper, eucalyptus oil with hot water and take steam to get instant relief from the cold.
11. Fight Against Bacteria
The antibacterial property of black pepper works against infections and insect bites. Studies found out that black pepper prevents the growth of food spoiling bacteria. In a research when examining black pepper chloroform extract with Escherichia coli and Staphylococcus aureus, it destroyed those harmful bacterial cells.
12. Treats Skin Problems
Black peppers are used to treat various skin-related issues such as wrinkles and vitiligo.
13. Exfoliates The Skin
Black pepper can be used to improve skin texture by removing unwanted dead cells from the face. Crushed pepper is the best natural exfoliator. Pepper improves blood flow, thus gives more oxygen and nutrients to your skin surface. Black pepper face pack removes toxins from the skin, further makes your face soft and radiant. It also prevents acne problems with its anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties.
How to Use Externally
Better add 1 teaspoon of curd with the 1/2 teaspoon of black pepper powder and apply it as a face mask. Leave it for a few minutes and then wash the face with warm water. Avoid using pepper directly on your skin. You can also prepare a scrub using black pepper to remove dead cells.
14. Prevent Wrinkles
Free radical is the main reason for the aging look and it also harms your skin. Here, antioxidants present in black pepper fight against free radicals and protect your skin from wrinkles, fine lines, and dark spots.
How to Use
Internally: Just add black pepper to your daily diet for skin-enhancing effects.
Externally: Mix a teaspoon of black pepper with equal amounts of honey or turmeric. If you want a smoother consistency, add few quantities of water. Then apply the paste as a face mask twice a day.
14. Treats Vitiligo
Black pepper also cures skin disease Vitiligo where the melanin pigment gets lost. When skin loses its pigmentation capacity, white patches appear on the skin surface. Chemical treatments are available but they cause harmful effects to the skin. Black pepper can be used as an alternative instead of cosmetic products.
15. Cure Dental Problems
We know that pepper has anti-inflammatory properties, therefore it aids to treat inflammation in gum areas and maintains oral health. Some of the massaging mixtures available in the market have black pepper as their main ingredient. Massaging with this mixture possesses antibacterial properties that give relief from toothache and other oral-related infections.
How to Use
1. Mix pepper powder and salt in the same ratio and add some amount of water to it. Rub this mixture over the gums to get relief from inflammation.
2. To treat toothache, just mix pepper powder with clove oil and then apply it to the infected area.
16. Fertility In Men
Black Pepper plays a significant role in boosting male fertility. Pepper is enriched with minerals such as Zinc and Magnesium which increases the level of testosterone hormone in males. Further, it increases the sperm count and density. Zinc is the main mineral used in the development and movement of sperms.
Research shows that treating male mice with black pepper improves fertility potential by increasing testosterone level, epididymal sperm concentration, spermatid counts, and the weight of epididymis tubules.
17. Aids to quit Smoking
Inhaling black pepper’s vapor or smoke will help to reduce cigarette smoking habits. But remember that smoke of black pepper will have a stronger pungent effect than the cigarette.
How to Use
Hold the black pepper using a tool and then show it to fire for a few seconds. Then inhale the vapor from it.
18. Treats Dandruff
Black pepper is the best natural ingredient for the treatment of dandruff. Vitamin C cleans up your scalp by removing dead cells. The hot potency of black pepper treats dandruff efficiently.
How to Use
1. Prepare a paste with a teaspoon of pepper powder and curd. Then, apply it over your scalp and leave it for 20-30 minutes. Then wash it with normal water. Here, don’t use shampoo.
2. Remember, use only a limited quantity of pepper. Because over usage of the pepper may cause burning sensation and discomfort.
19. Revitalizing Hair
Regular use of black pepper revitalizes the hair by strengthening the hair roots, and makes the hair shiny, and soft.
How to Use
1. Make a paste with a teaspoon of lemon and ground black pepper. Then, apply it to your scalp and hair. Leave the mixture for 15 minutes and wash it with cold water to revitalize hair.
2. Mix powdered black pepper with honey and apply it to your hair to strengthen the hair follicles. This prevents baldness.
Nutrition Facts of Black Pepper
Amount Per 1 tbsp,
- Calories 17
- Total Fat 0.2 g
- Saturated fat 0.1 g
- Polyunsaturated fat 0.1 g
- Monounsaturated fat 0.1 g
- Trans fat regulation 0 g
- Cholesterol 0 mg
- Sodium 1 mg
- Potassium 92 mg
- Total Carbohydrate 4.4 g
- Dietary fiber 1.7 g
- Sugar 0 g
- Protein 0.7 g
- Vitamin A 0%
- Vitamin C 0%
- Calcium 3%
- Iron 3%
- Vitamin D 0%
- Vitamin B-6 0%
- Cobalamin 0%
- Magnesium 3%
What is the Difference Between Black Pepper & White Pepper?
Both the black and white pepper come from the same Piper nigrum plant. These flowering vines are grown for their fruit.
The difference between these peppers are only the methods of harvesting and processing.
How are Both Harvested?
Black pepper is picked from the fruits of the unripe pepper plant. The unripened fruits are dried under sunlight, that gives dark black color to the skin of the pepper.
But, the white pepper is made with a ripe pepper plant seed. The seed is soaked in water for fermentation and the outer layer of the seed is removed, leaving the inner seed separate.
Apart from the appearance, you can also figure out some differences between white pepper and black pepper. As the skin is removed, White pepper gives a milder flavor. While the black pepper provides a more pungent and hot flavor. In comparison, the black pepper flavor lasts longer.
But, both the peppers have lots of similar health benefits. White and black pepper has chemical piperine that gives powerful anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, and antioxidant effects.
White peppers can be used in the preparation of creamy sauce or soups. White peppers are used in French cooking, American kitchens, Chinese, Vietnamese, and Swedish cooking.
Read Also : Health Benefits of White Pepper
How to Eat – Common
1. There are a lot of ways to use black pepper in your dishes. Here are some of them,
2. Add the black pepper in fish curry and cream soups.
3. You can also add it for marinades, stews, salad dressing, poached fish, and pickling.
4. Adding a small quantity of black pepper will enhance the taste of your dish.
5. You can use peppercorns as a coating for your food.
6. Black pepper gives extra flavor when you add it to the drinks and foods.
7. In Indian cuisine, black pepper powder is used in the preparation of spicy gravies and curries.
8. Better eat raw black pepper to get maximum benefits and don’t prefer to cook it along with food.
Adding black pepper to your regular diet not only makes your food tastier but also provides various health benefits. The benefits and trading values of black peppers are mentioned in various texts. People from the olden times and even now were benefited with the mesmerizing medicinal values and flavor of black pepper. Just try this beneficial spice in your diet!