Black pepper (Piper nigrum) is a spice which not only helps in enhancing the flavor of food but also useful in the preservation of food. It is acknowledged as “King of Spices” belongs to the family Piperaceae comprises over 1000 species. The name “pepper” originates from the Sanskrit word pippali, which means berry. Black pepper health benefits are used as an immune enhancer, treat against gastrointestinal disorder, fever, pain, flu, colds, asthma, chronic indigestion, gastric ailments, colic, insomnia, and epilepsy. Besides this other uses are like kitchens, perfumery, beauty products insecticides.
What is the difference between black pepper and white pepper?
Pepper is of two types namely white and black pepper due to their time of harvest and processing techniques. White pepper is harvest by removing the pulp from ripe fruit while the black pepper is obtained by drying unripe fruit until a wrinkled formed with pulp. Black pepper has strong flavor due to the presence of alkaloid piperine, volatile oil, and oleoresins (1).
Uses, common name and geographical distribution of Black pepper
It has a wide range of applications, like kitchens, perfumery, beauty products insecticides, and also in Ayurvedic and Unani medicine for immune enhancer, treat against gastrointestinal disorder, fever, pain, flu, colds, asthma, chronic indigestion, gastric ailments, colic, insomnia, and epilepsy.
Peppermint, black pepper, kali-mirch, peppercorn, and black gold.
Black pepper is native in tropical Asia such as India, Pakistan,Vietnam, Ceylon, Malaysia, Indonesia, and Brazil.
Constituents of Black pepper
Black pepper health benefits are due to rich dietary fiber, calcium, magnesium, potassium, manganese, phosphorus, vitamins A and K and β-carotene. Some other products from black pepper are ground pepper, oleoresin, and pepper oil. The oil of Black pepper is colorless to greenish liquid, with spicy (peppery) aroma and comprises about 1%-3%.
Major alkaloids present in black pepper are piperine, chavicine, piperidine, and piperetine. It also contains terpenes, steroids, lignans, flavones, and alkamides and other primary constituents as follows (2)
|Compound||Amounts per 100 g.|
|Total lipid (fat)||3.26 g|
|Fiber, total dietary||25.3 g|
|Sugars, total||0.64 g|
|Iron, Fe||9.71 mg|
|Vitamin B-6||0.29 mg|
|Folate, DFE||17 µg|
|Vitamin A, RAE||27 µg|
|Vitamin A||547 IU|
|Vitamin E (alpha-tocopherol)||1.04 mg|
|Vitamin K (phylloquinone)||163.7 µg|
|Fatty acids, total saturated||1.39 g|
|Fatty acids, total monounsaturated||0.74 g|
|Fatty acids, total polyunsaturated||1 g|
18 science backed black pepper health benefits
Black pepper is useful for depression, breathing problems, inflammation, cancer, depression, and anxiety. Let’s take a closer look at some of these proven health benefits below.
1. Anti-cancer properties of Black pepper
The free-radical scavenging activity and active ingredients like piperine, piperamides, kusunokinin, and piperloguminine show a wonderful effect on the treatment of different cancer colorectal carcinoma, lung, breast, colon cancer by inhibition of cellular growth (3,4).
2. Lowers blood pressure
Piperine in black pepper helps in lowering blood pressure and vasodilator effect (5).
3. Antioxidant properties
Consumption of black pepper on a daily basis helps in reducing lipid peroxidation as it contains piperine, which reduces the high-fat diet, induced oxidative stress to the cells (6).
4. Treat arthritis
Intake of black pepper (piperine) 20 – 100 mg/kg/day for 8 days significantly reduces nociceptive and arthritic symptoms by reduction of inflammation and pain in the ankle joints (7).
5. Black pepper improves blood circulation
Piperine, piperlongumine, and propionic acid in black pepper show a tremendous effect on increasing the blood flow in peripheral arteries. By stopping platelet aggregation and thrombosis formation. Therefore, black pepper helps in the treatment of disorders of poor peripheral blood circulation (8).
6. Enhance immunity
Piperine in black pepper act as an immunomodulating agent which enhance immunity by reduction of DNA damage and increased the total WBC count restore the cellular responses (9,10).
7. Treats Respiratory Infections
Oral intake of black pepper (200 mg/kg) helps in supporting respiratory health by reducing the accumulation of inflammatory cells. Thus black pepper may use to treat allergic asthma and reduce inflammation (11).
8. Anti-inflammatory properties of Black pepper
It is a rich source of alkaloids that act as an anti-inflammatory agent to reduce inflammation induced by different chemicals (12).
9. Black pepper oil prevents tooth cavities
The essential oil like β-pinene (34.4%), δ-3-carene (19.7%), limonene (18.7%) and α-pinene (10.4%) fights against Streptococcus mutans and Candida albicans that cause oral cavity and tooth decay (13,14).
10. Antibacterial properties of Black pepper
It helps in blocking the cell to cell communication in bacteria by its anti quorum sensing properties. Therefore, inhibiting the growth of various bacteria such as Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Escherichia coli, Bacillus cereus, Staphylococcus aureus, and Chromobacterium violaceum (15).
11. Insecticidal properties of Black pepper
A good amount of piperine, piperolein B and piperchabamide D which show insecticide effect against Hyalomma anatolicum, Rhipicephalus (Boophilus) microplus (tick), Plutella xylostella L. (16,17).
12. Wound healing properties
Black pepper essential oil is very effective for the healing of a wound by inhibiting the production of Collagen I, Collagen III, and plasminogen activator inhibitor. Thus black pepper may be useful for the treatment of wound and metabolic diseases (18).
13. Treat Alzheimer’s disease
Piperine, piperettine, and piperettyline (alkamides) found in black pepper possess anticholinesterase activity or the management of Alzheimer’s disease (22). Thus black pepper plays an important role in the treatment of neuron injury after apoplexy and memory impairment (19).
14. Mosquito repellents
Piperine obtained from black pepper is natural and have larvicidal activity against important vectors of dengue, Zika, and chikungunya. Therefore, black pepper is toxic for Aedes aegypti, Anopheles gambiae (20, 21).
15. Reduce pain
Black pepper contains a rich amount of piperine which acts as an analgesic agent increased nociceptive threshold, reduce the sensitivity to pain. Therefore, black pepper shows a wonderful effect on its analgesic and anti-inflammatory activities (22).
16. Black pepper helps in losing weight
Black pepper is beneficial to decrease body weight, fat %, plasma glucose, insulin resistance, lipid profile. Therefore black pepper in daily diet ameliorates high-fat diet-induced hyperlipidemia and its constituents (23).
17. Anti-parasitic properties
Visceral leishmaniasis is a protozoan infection caused by Leishmania donovani that is rapidly expanding after its association with AIDS. However, black pepper has a beneficial effect on Visceral leishmaniasis infection thus reduce leishmania (24).
18. Treat swallowing dysfunction
Older people generally suffer swallowing dysfunction (difficulty swallowing foods or liquids) which further develops to However, inhalation of black pepper oil reduces the risk of aspiration bronchitis or pneumonia (25).
Edited By: Asha Jyoti Bharati