Black pepper is a fruit (also called peppercorn), of a flowering plant. These fruits more precisely are known as black pepper(cooked and dried unripe fruit), green pepper(dried unripe fruit), or white pepper (ripe fruit seeds). Black pepper is native to south India and thus, it was used in all traditional south Indian cuisines as an alternative to chilli. Black Pepper is the most traded spice in the world.
Pepper is used to give aromatic and flavor qualities to soups and hot beverages, often combined with other ingredients such as lemon and sugar. Cracked pepper along with Olive oil, lemon juice and salt make a delicious salad dressing.Apart from being known as a spice, Black pepper is also used in traditional medicine— mostly because of the chemical compound ‘peperine’ present in it.
10 medicinal benefits of Black pepper—
1. Relieves cold and cough: Black pepper is antibacterial in nature, and therefore, It is one of the most effective home remedies for cold and cough. A teaspoon of honey with freshly crushed pepper does the trick. It also help alleviate chest congestion, often caused due to pollution, flu, or a viral infection. You can simply add a pinch of black pepper powder in your cup of tea or add it to hot water and eucalyptus oil and take steam. And given that black pepper is rich in Vitamin C, it also works as a good antibiotic.
2. Treats dandruff: In order to treat dandruff, black pepper is said to be good. All you need to do is to add some crushed pepper with some curd and add it to your scalp and let it dry for a minimum of 30 minutes. Also, make sure that you do not use excess black pepper as this can result in burning of your scalp. Make sure that you do not use shampoo for the next 24 hours after applying black pepper on your hair as this may cause side-effects. You can also add lime to the crushed pepper and apply it to your scalp and then wash it after 30 minutes. This will make your hair shiny and smooth.
3. Stimulates digestion: When the secretion of hydrochloric acid is low the digestive process becomes slow, Piperine in black pepper makes digestion easier and stimulates the stomach, which then secretes more hydrochloric acid that fastens digestion and absorption of proteins in food. So a bit of pepper in food will actually help you to digest it faster.
4. In cancer prevention: The chemical compound ‘piperine’ in pepper can be credited with the prevention of cancer, and becomes twice as potent when combined with turmeric. The spice also has Vitamin C, Vitamin A, flavonoids, carotenes and other anti-oxidants that help remove harmful free radicals and protect the body from cancers and diseases. The best way to eat pepper to harness maximum benefits is to eat freshly ground pepper, and not cook it along with food.
5. Improves skin: Crushed pepper is one of the best exfoliators present in nature. It shouldn’t be used directly though; add a bit of honey, curd, or fresh cream to it. It also enables blood circulation, and provides the skin with more oxygen. Adding it to your food also takes care of wrinkles. Black pepper is known to help in the cure of Vitiligo, a condition where the skin loses pigmentation, and creates white patches.
6. For stress and anxiety: High cortisol levels result in stress and anxiety. Peperine is known to bring your cortisol levels down and make you feel relaxed. It’s essentially an adaptogen and is loaded with antioxidants that calm you down. And black pepper not only relieves psychological stress , it also safeguards your body from physiological, metabolic, and chemical stress too.
7. Increases metabolism: Black pepper extracts nutrients from food. The outermost layer of black pepper contains phytonutrients, which helps to break down fat cells, and it also increases metabolism. It completely extract nutrients from the food. Fresh pepper, helps the body to get rid of excess water and toxins. The consumption needs to be controlled though – a pinch of its powder in food (one meal) is enough.
8. For joint pain: Black pepper is useful in alleviating joint pain. It also prevents gout. It can also be used by people experiencing spinal pain or discomfort.
9.Anti-Ageing properties : Pepper is known for its anti-oxidant property. The oxidant are known to damage the cells and cause skin ageing. The antioxidant destroys these free radicals in the body that damage the cells.
10. Controls blood sugar: It is highly beneficial in controlling blood sugar levels. It is specifically important for type 2 diabetes.