Black pepper is a popular spice obtained from the peppercorn plant that is native to Kerala in South India.
The pepper is harvested when it is not completely mature and then sun dried. Piperine present in black pepper makes it hot and spicy.
Its unique aroma is due to the presence of various monoterpenes hydrocarbons including sabinene, pinene, terpenene and limonene which also offer variety of health benefits.
Health benefits of black pepper:
- Helps in digestion: Piperine present in black pepper promotes digestion of food by enhancing synthesis of hydrochloric acid in the stomach which helps in digestion of proteins and other foods. Thereby it prevents flatulence, constipation, indigestion, diarrhea and acidity. Instead of adding chili powder add black pepper to your food and feel the benefits of its carminative properties.
- Relieves cough and cold: Its antibacterial and warming properties help loosen mucus and thereby serve as a natural home remedy for relieving cold and cough and ease breathing. Just put a little amount of freshly ground black pepper powder on your hot soup or hot mint tea and see how it works wonder.
- Helps to cure vitiligo: Vitiligo or leukoderma is a skin condition wherein light patches appear due to loss or deficiency of the pigment melanin. Piperine present in black pepper is said to treat vitiligo effectively when oils and ointments containing it are applied on the affected area.
- Eases depression: By stimulating the central nervous system and enhancing levels of endorphins in our brain, black pepper helps in effective cognitive functioning, relieves stress, anxiety and depression. It uplifts mood and makes you feel cheerful.
- Anti-cancer benefits: In combination with turmeric, black pepper inhibits the development of carcinogenic cells. Anti-inflammatory phytochemical, piperine retards cytokines which in turn is beneficial in checking the growth of cancerous cells into tumors. The antioxidant and anti-bacterial properties of black pepper enhance its cancer protection quality by safeguarding the mucus membranes lining the stomach from microbial invasion. It also has a preventive effect on skin cancers caused by overexposure to the sun’s harmful ultraviolet radiation.
- Dental care: It takes care of our dental health by preventing tooth decays and cavities. You can add 3 teaspoons of black pepper powder and little salt in small amount of water and apply it to the aching tooth or cavities and get relief.
- Good for our heart: Piperine and chromium present in black pepper have anti-inflammatory impact on heart’s walls and arteries. Black pepper also reduces levels of LDL or bad cholesterol in our blood and thereby safeguards us against various heart diseases.
- Helps in reducing body fat: Black pepper enhances metabolism and as result is beneficial in reducing excess fat in our body. Naturopaths often recommend an obese person to inculcate black pepper in his daily diet as it enhances fat cell breakdown.
- Pepper oil is also applied topically to ease nerve pain and scabies.