Health benefits of black pepper
Black pepper is identified as a spice globally and is recognized by the heat it provides to the food when consumed orally. Black pepper is recommended for neurological, broncho-pulmonary and gastrointestinal disorders, (including dyspepsia, flatulence, constipation and hemorrhoids). The hot flavor is itensified when the pepper is consumed freshly. The alkaloid present in the pepper, piperine, stimulate the skin as well as the tongue. Thus, they were traditionally used as local anaesthetics as they act by depleting the sensory nerves of the body and in turn, causes desensitization of pain receptors. Black pepper along with long pepper were traditionally used to treat a broad range of gastrointestinal problems by increasing the protective gastrointestinal mucous secretion. This formulation of black pepper with long pepper was targeted to improve the digestibility of food and thus, used for the treatment of acute and chronic gastrointestinal conditions. Black pepper may also facilitate nutrient absorption by decreasing inflammatory conditions at the site of absorption. Other health benefits established after thorough research on black pepper include its anti-bacterial, anti-colon toxin, antidepressant, anti-fungal, anti-diarrhoeal, antimutagenic, antispasmodic, anti-thyroid and hepatoprotective properties.
Home remedies with black pepper
Black pepper could be used as a part of daily diet along with honey or clarified butter (ghee) for up to two grams a day. Black pepper could also be used to sprinkle over soups, added to fruit juices, smoothies or as an excellent substitute to red chilli.
As mentioned in the Charaka Samhita, black pepper is used externally in the form of paste and cream for treating various skin-related diseases. External application of black pepper and coconut oil is known to cure itching. The pepper fruit powder is made into a paste with water and applied to the skin to improve blood circulation. Liniments flavoured with pepper oil are used for their heat-generating effect producing a counter-irritant effect. The pepper oil is also used in treating eczema, leucoderma and itching skin disorders. Brushing or gargling with black pepper powder and salt relieves tooth pain and has scraping effects which help in maintaining good oral hygiene. Hair loss caused by scalp ringworm could also be treated by applying black pepper with onion and salt.
The ayurvedic formulation involving black pepper, ginger and long pepper (trikatu) along with ghee, rock salt and black salt is used to stop vomiting sensation and cure viral fevers. Black pepper is also orally consumed with asafoetida and ghee during dysentery. Jaggery and curd with black pepper is an ideal combination for treating chronic cold while black pepper with honey and ghee is for cough. Consuming crushed black pepper with a pinch of salt cures throat pain and consuming black pepper powder mixed with ghee and salt with rice cures indigestion. Black pepper with curd rice reduces the burning sensation of the urinary tract while a mix of milk, turmeric and black pepper powder cure cold and cough. An equal quantity of pepper, mint, tamarind and cardamom with salt tends to relieve stomach aches.
Side effects of black pepper
As black pepper is hot, it increases pitta and therefore, consumption of black pepper by people with gastritis or sensitive stomach should be avoided. Men with fertility issues should avoid consuming black pepper as it is anaphrodisiac and could induce more fertility problems. Pitta dominant people may be allergic to black pepper and could cause vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal cramps and watery eyes. Excess consumption could also cause abdominal pain, vomiting, burning sensation in the bladder, etc. Black pepper consumption should be monitored in women during pregnancy, lactation and in children.
Author: Dr. Akhila K. Adisser
Note: The information and claims shared in this blog express the authors view or opinion.