Health Benefits of Black Pepper
by, Valerie Lull, MH
Black pepper is one of the most popular of all spices. It has been used for centuries in India where it originated. There is archeological evidence that people in India used black pepper as far back as 2000 BC. The Egyptians traded with India for pepper. The Romans loved it. In the middle ages the food was so bad that they used pepper and other spices and herbs to make it palatable. They used it as a preservative. Wars have been fought over pepper.
Pepper is a vine that produces small white flowers which develop berries that are called peppercorns. These are ground up into the spice we call pepper. Peppercorns come in white, and black. They both come from the same plant, they are just harvested at different times and processed differently. Black pepper is hot and smells strong and white pepper is hot but has less smell.
Most people think of pepper in terms of culinary uses, but black pepper has a number of health benefits as well. Black pepper stimulates the production of hydrochloric acid in the stomach which improves digestion. It also helps prevent the formation of gas in the intestines. It has diaphoretic properties that encourage sweating and diuretic properties that promote urination. Peppercorns stimulate the breakdown of fat cells.
The major active component of black pepper is piperine. It has anticancer properties and may help in preventing cancer. Black pepper is an anti-inflammatory and can reduce the pain of tendonitis, and osteoarthritis. It can help relieve constipation and diarrhea.
Black pepper essential oil can be used internally to promote circulation and possibly lower blood pressure. It can be part of a detox regimen and some folks believe that it relieves cigarette cravings.
Black peppercorns have potassium, calcium zinc, manganese, iron and magnesium. They also contain B vitamins, vitamin C, and vitamin A. They have antioxidants such as carotenes, zeaxanathin and lycopene. Anti-oxidants work against free radicals that can cause cancer and other diseases.
Another function of black pepper is that it increases the absorption of certain other nutrients like curcumin that comes from turmeric. The pepper can increase the absorption of turmeric by 2,000%. It can increase the absorption of beta carotene as well.
Black pepper has some unique household uses that I found interesting. It can be used as a laundry booster to keep the colors of your clothes bright. Sprinkle a half teaspoon of pepper into your laundry. It will wash away and your clothes will not fade.
Pepper can be used in your garden to keep pests and insects away as well as deer and rabbits. It makes an excellent scrub for your face. You can make a formula from sugar, massage oil, and 1/2 teaspoon of ground pepper. Add a few drops of your favorite essential oil. Massage the mixture into your face, then rinse. Black pepper is readily available in any supermarket. Organic pepper is the best.
About the Author
Valerie B. Lull, author of Ten Healthy Teas, is an herbalist and wellness coach. At the age of 45 she was diagnosed with Diabetes and staying in good health became her passion. She studied at the American College of Healthcare Sciences in Portland, Oregon.
Valerie has always had a passion for staying healthy and for the health benefits of teas and the various ways they can be prepared. Valerie’s passion for tea started in childhood, when she experienced a traditional-style teatime with her Canadian relatives.
Valerie’s new book, Glorious Garlic. Enjoy. Feel Good and live longer is now on Amazon. Check it out.
You can read her “Healthy Life” column on the 4th Monday each month here at Mustard Seed Sentinel.