The spice Pepper is cultivated mainly in Asian countries like India, Thailand, Malaysia and Vietnam. The spice is one of the most traded spice in the world. The spice has been referred to as ‘Black Gold’. Pepper comes in different varieties such as Black Pepper, White Pepper, Green Pepper, Orange Pepper and Red Pepper. Pepper is known by its Scientific Name: Piper Nigrum and also known as Pfeffer (german), Poivre (french), Peper(dutch).
It is because of health benefits of Pepper, it has been used in ancient medicine forms like Ayurvedic, Unani and Siddha medicine. Traditionally it has been used as a remedy for various ailments such as Constipation, Diarrhea, Ear ache, Gangrene, Heart Disease, Hernia, Hoarseness, Indigestion, Insect bites, Insomnia, Joint pain, Liver problems, Lung disease, Oral abscesses, sunburn, tooth decay and toothaches.
Nutritional Facts of Pepper:
Pepper has high content of Vitamins especially Vitamin K, besides Vitamin A and C. Similarly the dietary fiber content is high. Pepper has no cholesterol and it is very low in sugar content.
Pepper is comprised of phytochemicals like Limonene, Camphene, Sabinene, Myrcene, Caryophyllene, Pinene. These are often responsible for its peculiar flavour, hotness and health benefits of pepper.
Health benefits of pepper includes its ability to treat respiratory system, reduce acidity in stomach, enhance enzyme secretion, aid digestion, reduce flatulence, amongst other health benefits. Some of the health benefits of pepper are discussed below:
Health Benefits of Pepper:
Pinene, a compound present in Pepper can be used as a liniment for Rheumatism. Pinene also works as a tonic of the mucus membrane of the respiratory system and offers health benefits to pepper.
Limonene, another compound present in Pepper because of its gastric acid neutralizing effect and its support of normal peristalsis, it has also been used for relief of heart burn and Gastroesophageal reflux (GERD).
Studies have showed that Limonene has anti cancer effects. Limonen is capable of increasing the levels of liver enzymes which are involved in detoxifying carcinogens. The Glutathione S-transferase (GST) is a system which eliminates carcinogens. Limonene seems to promote the GST system in the liver and small bowel, thereby decreasing the damaging effects of carcinogens.
Pepper is used to enhance the digestive tract and aids in digestion.
Another benefit of black pepper is its ability to diminish the amount of gas in the intestinal tract. This leads to less flatulence and bloating and is believed to be another benefit of increasing hydrochloric acid in the stomach.
Precautions: Black pepper oil may cause irritation to sensitive skins and using too much could over-stimulate the kidneys. It should be avoided in pregnancy due to its possible skin sensitizing effect.
It is because of the health benefits of Pepper, it truely deserves the name ‘Black Gold’.