What qualities does black pepper have to bag the title of “King Of Spices”? pepper not only enhances the flavor of our food but has a long list of medicinal properties that can treat a wide variety of ailments.
If you have poor digestion you may experience bloating, flutulance, heart burn, nausea,poor apetite and other complaints. Poor digestion will also result in nutrients from food not being fully available to the body because the food is not fully digested. Pepper helps you in digestion and absorption.
If you wish to lose some fat, pepper can help you to break them down. So you see, pepper helps those who are malnutritioned as well as those who wish to be slimmer!
Pepper is also good for your respiratory system, help you to fight infection, lessen pain, lower fever, promote urination and is a mental stimulant as well. You can read about its therapeutic uses in more detail below. If you want to skip details, you can check out the ‘Quick reference guide’ in the left hand column. You can glance quickly through the “Quick ref” guide about the plant, its nutrients, properties and list of ailments treated with pepper.
In Section Two, you can check out some pepper homeremedies.
Some of its traditional uses are supported by scientific research
- Very high in dietary fiber
- Very high in Iron and manganese
- High in magnesium, potassium, calcium
- High in vitamin C
- Low in saturated fat and has no cholesterol
- Very low in sodium and sugar
Pepper essential oil is complex. The oil contains ten types of compounds
However, its most well known chemical componant, ‘piperine’ is a water-soluble alkaloid found in black pepper but not in the essential oil.
Tests has shown that pepper is Non-toxic and non-sensitising.
Expectorant, stimulant ,
AILMENTS TREATED WITH PEPPERTraditional healers use pepper as an active constituent in their remedies to treat The following ailments :-
Muscular problems :
Massage mainly - arthritis, rheumatism, excellent for muscle tension and stiffness, aches and pains. Can be used to treat sports injuries.
Digestive system :
colic, constipation, diarrhea, flatulence, heartburn, loss of appetite, dyspepsia
Immune system :
infections- cholera, malaria, dysentery, colds, flu, venereal diseases such as Syphilis and gonorrhoea
Respiratory system :
Used as an Expectorant and treats bronchitis, coughs, catarrh, chills and asthma.
For nasal congestion, sinusitis, colds and flu; it can be taken as a steam inhalation, combined with eucalyptus or marjoram.
hoarseness, oral abscesses, tooth decay and toothaches.
Mild depression, Mental confusion, anxiety, stress, PMS mood swings
Epilepsy, hernia, diabetes, liver problems, hives, scabies, hemorrhoids, intestinal worms.
THERAPEUTIC USESFor thousands of years, pepper has helped people with poor digestion and its attendant problems.
If someone has poor digestion, food will stay in his stomach for too long, ferment and cause heartburn or indigestion. The fermenting food may pass into the intestines, where it can be used as a food source for unfriendly gut bacteria resulting in the production of gas, irritation and/or diarrhea or constipation.
Black peppercorns contain compounds called alkaloids. One of these is piperine which simulates the enzymes of the pancreas that breakdown proteins, speeding up the digestive process. Both West and East have used pepper to treat constipation, diarrhea, relieve gas and help improve digestion.
piperine can dramatically increase absorption of selenium, vitamin B and beta-carotene as well as other nutrients.
This alkaloid also helps to increase endorphins in the brain [which helped to reduce pain and improve mood] thereby acting as a natural anti-depressant and increase brain functions.
Traditional belief held that it aids alertness and improves concentration.
Some experiments suggested black pepper and its constituent piperine helps increase pigmentation in the skin. It may have some potential in the treatment of vitiligo [A condition in which smooth white patches appear on the skin due to a loss of pigment producing cells.]
A study of Rose and Behm (1994) indicates that the inhalation of the vapor of black pepper extract may lessen smoking withdrawal symptoms.
Piperine also has good anticonvulsant property and is used to treat epilepsy or seizure.
The outer layer of the peppercorn encourages the breakdown of fat cells, keeping users slim while providing users energy to burn.
The Chinese uses this aromatic, pungent, warming and energizing spice to treat food poisoning, stomach chills and vomiting caused by excessively ‘yin’ condition. [Upcoming article on the Chinese concept of ‘yin/yang in Chinese medicine]
Some people swallow peppercorns whole as a general body tonic. For centuries there are monks who swallowed a few grains of pepper each day to maintain stamina in long journeys or performed significant endurance feats
In South Asia, practitioners of Ayurveda, Siddha and Unani medicine incorporate pepper in their remedies.
Ayurvedic medicine valued the berries for a range of properties including its hot, light and anti-flatulent effects. Ayurvedic Practitioners may mix pepper with other substances such as castor oil, honey or ghee together with other herbs or spices to treat stomach ailments.
Pepper also feature in Ayurveda remedies for hernia, diabetes, liver problems and skin eruptions. To alleviate hemorrhoids, pepper is used in the form of confection.
Pepper is used as an insecticide and is prescribed for eradicating parasitic worms.
In Unani medicine, black pepper has been described as an aphrodisiac.
People use Piperine’s anti-septic and analgesic properties to treat wounds and lessen pain
Black pepper is occasionally employed to lower fever either alone or with other drugs such as quinine.
Today, pepper accounts for a fifth of world spice trade. Vietnam has replaced India as the biggest producer.
- Pepper contains a small amount of mildly carcinogenic compound called safrole .
- if a person has abdominal surgery or ulcers, doctors advised that pepper be eliminated from his diet because of its irritating effect upon the intestines. They advised the patient to take a bland diet.
- Black pepper essential oil is very strong and is a irritant in high concentration. Usually it is diluted with a carrier oil. In small amount, it stimulates the heart and kidney. over use can cause irritation and may result in kidney damage. Avoid using this oil if pregnant.
As with the use of all essential oils, care should be exercised. if you are unfamiliar with the use of essential oils seek professional advice.