- Black pepper, which comes from the Sanskrit word pippali was once known as black gold. It has one of the longest histories as a sought after spice, due to its ability to flavor foods, act as a preservative, and add heat to a dish. Black pepper offers a range of health benefits in addition to its flavour enhancing properties.
- Piper nigrumis native to the tropical forests of the Malabar Coast in southwest India, around the regions of Kerala, Goa, and Karnataka. Black pepper is one of the most commonly used spices in the world. Black pepper and white pepper both come from the same plant species. But they are prepared differently. Black pepper is made by cooking the dried unripe fruit. White pepper is made by cooking and drying the ripe seeds.
- People take black pepper orally for arthritis, asthma, upset stomach, bronchitis, a bacterial infection that causes diarrhoea (cholera), colic, depression, diarrhoea, gas, headache, sex drive, menstrual pain, stuffy nose, sinus infection, dizziness, discoloured skin (vitiligo), weight loss, and cancer.
- People apply black pepper to the skin for measles, nerve pain, itchy skin caused by mites (scabies), and to treat pain.
- People inhale black pepper oil to prevent falls, to help quit smoking, and for trouble swallowing. In foods, black pepper and black pepper oil are used as a spice.
How does it work
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. Piperine also seems to improve brain function.
Black pepper is also a source of the following vitamins and minerals:
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin K
- Vitamin E
- Vitamin A
- Thiamine (B1)
- Riboflavin (B2)
- Pantothenic Acid (B5)
- Vitamin B6
Nutrients per Serving
- One teaspoon of black pepper contains:
- Calories: 6
- Protein: 0 grams
- Fat: 0 grams
- Carbohydrates: 1 gram
- Fiber: 1 gram
- Sugar: 0 gram
- Cholesterol: 0 milligrams
- Sodium: 0 milligrams
- More than just a food flavour enhancer, black pepper offers health benefits thanks to its bioactive compounds, with piperine being the most important. Piperine is a natural alkaloid that gives black pepper its pungent taste. It is also the main component that gives black pepper its health-boosting qualities.
- Piperine is considered a type of antioxidant that helps to the risk of chronic illness like atherosclerosis, cardiovascular disease, and neurological conditions.
- This compound has a positive effect on nutrient bioavailability as well. When you add black pepper to your meal, you increase the amount of nutrients absorbed into your bloodstream.
Digestion and Intestinal Health
Black pepper helps to stimulate hydrochloric acid in your stomach so you can better digest and absorb the foods you eat. It has carminative properties too, which help to reduce discomfort and gas build-up in your intestines.
- A strong immune system is important for helping you avoid illness, and black pepper can help here as well. Its active compounds have a role in boosting white blood cells, which your body uses to fight off invading bacteria and viruses.
- This pungent spice contains a variety of active compounds, specifically oleoresins and alkaloids like piperine and chavicine. It also has antioxidants, flavonoids, essential oil, and other phenolic compounds that help protect your cells and boost digestive health.
- Black pepper is a good source of manganese, a mineral that can help with bone health, wound healing, and metabolism. In fact, one teaspoon of black pepper offers 16 percent of your daily recommended intake (DRI) of manganese and 6 percent of your DRI of vitamin K.
Other health benefits:
- Discoloured skin (vitiligo)
- Itchy skin caused by mites (scabies)
- Menstrual pain
- Nerve pain
- Sex drive
- Stuffy nose
- Sinus infection
- Upset stomach
- Weight loss