Made from the still-green unripe drupes of the pepper plant, black pepper is widely used as an aromatic, hot spice for seasoning meats and vegetables.
The history of black pepper dates back to 4000 years and its origin is said to be in the Western Ghats of Kerala State in India. Mahabharata written in 4th century BCE refers to feasts that included meats seasoned by black pepper. The discovery of a trade route in India by the Portuguese explorer Vasco de Gama established a monopoly in black pepper trade by the Portuguese until 18th century.
Black Pepper Production
Drunes from the pepper vine is harvested and berries are separated from the clusters by handpicking or by trampling under clean feet. The separated berries then are dried in the direct sunlight for 3 to 4 days until the pepper skin around the seed shrinks and darkens into a thin, wrinkled black layer.
Black pepper is a a great source of magnesium, vitamin K, iron, and fiber. Rich with antibacterial, antioxidant, immune-boosting, and fever-reducing properties, black pepper has been used to improve health in many ways. Black pepper contains the essential oil piperine which is rich with healing properties.
Improves digestive health
Black pepper is said to stimulate digestive juices and enzymes which will ease the digestion process, especially when it is consumed with a meal.
Reduces blood pressure
The piperine in black pepper is identified to keep blood pressure under control.
Promotes weight loss
Studies have shown that the piperine in black pepper fights the formation of fat cells.
Relieves cold and cough
Black pepper’s ability to enhance the mucus circulation has made it a key ingredient in ancient Chinese medicine to relieve cold and cough.
Simply mix a teaspoon of powdered black pepper with 2 tablespoons of honey in a cup. Fill the cup with boiling water, cover it and let it steep for about 15 minutes. You can strain the drink and sip it. Do it thrice a day to clear congestion and sinuses.
As per one South African study, piperine in black pepper exhibits larvicidal effects (targeted towards dangerous insects in their larval stage of life) and help prevent infection and spread of disease.
Improves oral health
Pepper’s anti-inflammatory properties are beneficial in relieving gum inflammation. When combined with salt, pepper could be used as a massaging mixture to relieve dental issues.