Imagining recipes without a dash of black pepper is quite difficult. It is used in almost every cuisine (cooking). It was once used as currency and was considered very valuable. Like most of the spices it has antioxidant, antibacterial and antifungal properties. In Ayurveda it has also been called as kola as it stimulates taste buds or improves the taste sensation and known to be rejuvenator to respiratory system.
The stimulating property of pepper makes it spice that aids in digestion. It stimulates the gastric juices which prevents indigestion and flatulence. Its regular use keeps the gastro intestinal tract healthy, promotes digestion of food and prevents indigestion, diarrhoea and constipation. It also acts as diuretic and also increases sweating. Hence it beneficial in detoxification process of the body. The outer layer of pepper aids in fat metabolism, which makes it a wonderful choice for weight reduction.
Of all the uses of pepper as carminative, digestive, diuretic etc, this makes it an herb of choice for digestion. Its antibacterial and antifungal properties also make it useful for skin disorders. It is very useful in disorders of skin like acne, boils and corn for which black pepper can be used in following way.
- Poultice made from black pepper, salt and vinegar is benevolent (helpful) to soften the corn.
- Acne and boils: local application of black pepper is recommended.
- Chronic dysentery (pravahika): Mirch powder is given with asafoetida and ahiphena (papaver somniferum).
- Piles and rectal prolapse: Black pepper taken along with cumin and honey provides relief.
- Malaria (विषमज्वर): Piperine present in black pepper has anti-malarial properties.
- Cholera (विसूचिका) : In initial stages equal quantities of black pepper, asafoetida and ahiphena provide relief.
- Cough: In coughs black pepper powder taken along with ghee and honey/sugar. But in case of chronic cough it should be taken along with jaggery.
- Respiratory disorders and hiccups: Black pepper is given with bharangi and yavakshar( Alkali preparation of yava/barley) along with warm water.
- Convulsions: In convulsions black pepper taken along with vacha (acorus calamus) and curd is useful if taken empty stomach.
- Night blindness: Mirch rubbed with curd used as corrolyum (anjan) or applied with honey.
- Toothache and sore throat: Kwath is used for gargling.
- Cold, asthma and to decrease body fat: trikatu is used which is a combination of Black pepper, Sonth(dry ginger) and pipli.
- Hoarseness of voice: Black pepper along with garlic, draksha, haritaki and nagbala (Grewia hirsuta) are recommended.
- Chronic colitis: Black pepper powder with water works well.
- Best panacea: It is excellent panacea (remedy) for anorexia, dyspepsia, enlargement of liver and spleen. It is also beneficial for chronic skin disorder.
- Fever: Black pepper with fresh juice of holy basil leaves and honey is very beneficial.
- Appetite: Black pepper taken along with honey increases appetite. In low doses due to its sharp property it clears the blocked channels.
Black pepper may cause sneezing in some individuals.
- Parts used: Fruit
- Dose: Powder: 200 mg -1 gram
- Hindi name: Mirch (मिर्च)
- Guna (गुण): Laghu (लघु), Tikshna (तीक्ष्ण)
- Ras (रस): Katu (कटु)
- Virya (वीर्य): Katu (कटु)
- Vipaka (विपाक): Ushna (उष्ण)
- Doshkarm (pharmacological action): Kaphavatashamak (कफ़वातशामक), Pittavardhak (पित्तवर्धक)
The other Ayurvedic properties of black pepper are:
Modern scientific explanation
- English name: Black pepper
- Botanical name: Piper nigrum
- Family: Piperaceae
Chemical constituents: Fruit contains volatile oil and the crystalline alkaloids – piperine, piperidine, piperettine, chevicine along with a resin, Calcium, mineral, carbohydrate, protein, iron, vitamin etc.
- Black pepper shows antibacterial properties especially against gram negative bacteria.
- It also shows antifungal and anthelmintic properties.
- Black pepper also has hepatoprotective property.