The Top Ten Health Benefits of Black Pepper

Black pepper, or Piper nigrum, is widely believed to be the most common culinary spice in the world.
Pepper, either ground or as whole peppercorns, is found in cuisines as diverse as Asian, Middle
Eastern, and European. Black pepper has a centuries-long history of use and cultivation across all
the continents of the world.
While millions of people consume pepper in their food every day, most do not realize that black
pepper is also an important medicinal spice that can be used to treat a wide variety of physical
symptoms and diseases. Black pepper is a natural antibiotic and a great dietary source of fiber,
potassium, iron and vitamins C and K. It has a history of use in herbal medicine for stomach
ailments, anemia, impotence and heart disease, and has also historically been used to preserve food.
The Top Ten Health Benefits of Black Pepper
What follows are ten of the top health benefits of black pepper. This list is by no means exhaustive.
As further research is conducted, more medicinal uses for black pepper are likely to be revealed.
Black pepper aids digestion - Pepper's natural antibiotic properties make it an effective remedy for
intestinal diseases caused by bacteria. Pepper causes an increase in the secretion of hydrochloric
acid in the stomach, improving overall digestion by reducing gas, diarrhea, constipation and colic.
Black pepper helps relieve cough and colds - Pepper's antibacterial properties also make it an
effective remedy for respiratory conditions including colds, coughs and flu. Pepper's spiciness clears
congestion and helps clear up sinusitis.
Black pepper helps fight cancer - Research has revealed that pepper exerts a free-radical scavenging
activity, and thus may assist in preventing some cancers and slow the growth of cancer cells.
Black pepper may help in weight loss - The outer layer of the peppercorn contains substances that
boost fat metabolism. Adding black pepper to foods may help in the treatment of obesity.
Black pepper helps treat skin conditions - Research conducted in Great Britain has indicated that the
active chemical ingredient in pepper, piperine, is an effective treatment for vitiligo, a skin disease
that causes areas of the skin to lose their pigment. Pepper is also believed to decrease susceptibility
to skin cancers caused by excess ultraviolet radiation.
Black pepper improves bioavailability - Eating black pepper promotes the absorption of nutrients to
all the tissues of the body, improving overall health.
Black pepper improves dental health - Pepper helps fight tooth decay and provides relief from
Black pepper is a natural antidepressant - Black pepper has been the investigated for its
antidepressant properties. Animal studies showed that treatment with black pepper improved
cognitive function and stimulated the central nervous system.
Black pepper is a powerful antioxidant - Pepper has a rich natural content of phenols, organic
chemicals that have strong antioxidant properties.
Black pepper reduces inflammation - Animal research has revealed that pepper's active ingredient,
piperine, has natural anti-inflammatory effects.
Using Black Pepper to Improve Overall Health
Because it is a foodstuff, black pepper may be consumed safely in moderate quantities. Adding
pepper, along with other potent medicinal spices like turmeric, cumin, fenugreek, cinnamon and
ginger is a great natural way to enhance overall body health.
Dalby, Andrew (October 1, 2002). Dangerous Tastes: The Story of Spices, 89. University of California
McGee, Harold (2004). On Food and Cooking (Revised Edition). Scribner, 427-429. ISBN 0-68-
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Jaffee, Steven (2004). Delivering and Taking the Heat: Indian Spices and Evolving Process Standards
(.pdf). An Agriculture and Rural Development Discussion Paper from the World Bank.
Johri RK, Zutshi U 1992 An Ayurvedic formulation Trikatu and its constituents. Journal of
Ethnopharmacology 37(2):85

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