Black pepper is a widely used spice from the ancient time. It is found to be a well known spice all over the world which brings the praise term “king of spices”. Piperine is the compound which brings spiciness and flavor to the pepper. Pepper’s spiciness is directly proportional to the amount of piperine in it. Approximately, Indian black pepper contains 4.6 to 9.7% piperine by mass.
Nature of Pepper:
Pepper is having the property of losing its flavor and aroma when exposed to air and sunlight for a long time. So ,it should be stored in a air tight condition and dark place .It’s flavor and aroma also reduces when it is ground and stored as the piperine gets transformed into one of its isomers called isochavicine, a tasteless form. This is the reason why we also use freshly ground pepper in our cuisines.
Potential benefits of Pepper:
Black pepper’s use is not restricted to the kitchen alone but extended to health and medicine. These are all due to the presence of some alkaloids and essential nutrients in pepper. 5 grams of black pepper contains Vitamin K (13% of daily value), iron(9% of DV) and manganese(18% of DV) along with some essential nutrients ,dietary fibers and phytochemicals such as amides, piperidines and pyrrolidines.
Pepper naturally possesses therapeutic potential and that is the reason for the usage of pepper in ayurvedic medicine for hundreds of years. Here are some of its uses.
1.Alleviates cough and cold:
In Indian ayurvedic medicine pepper is extensively used for the purpose of treating cough and cold. The decoctions prepared from pepper along with some other herbs could effectively alleviate cold related health issues. A glass of milk mixed with a pinch of turmeric and a teaspoon of crushed pepper do wonders in treating dry cough. Pepper along with a teaspoon of honey could relieve chest congestion.
Piperine in the pepper could help in ease the digestion by stimulating the secretion of digestive enzymes. In south India, for this reason alone a recipe named milagu rasam(pepper rasam) is included in the daily meal. This recipe should be included in the infant diet as it eases digestion for them.
Black pepper is widely acclaimed as an immune booster. The thing is that we have to incorporate it in our daily dietary drinks and meals to boost our immune system in a natural way. This would help one to stay away from the diseases including the recent pandemic, Covid-19.
4.Improves nutrient absorption:
Black pepper is having the ability to increase the absorption of nutrients such as selenium, calcium, curcumin and beta carotene effectively.
5.Herbal beauty treatments:
By crushing the peppercorns we could get the pepper spirit and pepper oil. Pepper spirit is used in production of herbal beauty products. Pepper oil is used in ayurvedic massage and beauty treatments to exfoliate skin.