Pepper: medicinal properties, method of use and benefits

Pepper: medicinal properties, method of use and benefits


Piper nigrum





Pepper, scientific name Piper nigrum, belongs to the family ofPiperaceae and it is a plant that is cultivated for its fruits that give a very particular spice and known as "pepper".

The genre Piper it includes about 700 species but only a few are used for their spice and the main one is thePiper nigrum L.

The Piper nigrum It is a perennial, semi-climbing and shrubby plant that reaches even 4-5 meters in height. The leaves are oval-lanceolate, leathery, of a beautiful intense green, long sharp and provided with a thick down on the underside. The flowers are small, white, fragrant, devoid of petiole but collected in spike inflorescences carried by long petioles. The fruits are small berries that contain only one seed. According to the ripening stage of the harvest and the type of processing we have the different varieties of pepper: black pepper, white pepper, red pepper, green pepper (see: Aromatic plants: pepper).


Pepper is rich in tannins, starch, terpenes (lipids, essential components of molteresins and essential oils that give the different plants their characteristic aroma), pinene (aromatic compound found in conifers), limonene (alken which has a characteristic lemon scent or orange) etc. which all together give the pepper its extraordinary aroma.

The spiciness of pepper and its phytotherapeutic properties, however, are fundamentally given by piperine, a substance found in both pulp and seed (as opposed to capsaicin in chilli), not very soluble in water, partially soluble in ether but totally soluble in alcohol. Piperine is contained in almost all pepper species but is in the Piper nigrum which is found in greater quantity.

Its properties are linked to the use that has always been made of it: stimulant of digestion and expectorant.

The pepper is also attributed antiseptic, anti-inflammatory, diuretic properties and a mild aphrodisiac power.

It is normally used in Ayurvedic medicine to aid digestion, to improve appetite, for those with respiratory problems, diabetes, flatulence and anemia.


The berries are used from which the powders are obtained which are used for therapeutic purposes which have up to 95% piperine.


Pepper is used directly on foods, enhancing, among other things, their flavor.


Pepper is universally known as the king of spices. In ancient times it was a very precious commodity so as to be a bargaining chip.


It is not toxic but you should not overdo it in its use. In high doses it can cause irritation of the gastric mucosa. It is not recommended in case of gastritis, ulcer, hemorrhoids and hypertension.


You see: Pepe - The language of flowers and plants.

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