encyclopedia

Black Pepper

Scientific Names:   

Piper nigrum Linn. [Fam. Brassicaceae]    
     

Forms:    

Whole black pepper fruit; powdered fruit; black pepper extracts.    
     

Traditional Usage:    

– Allergies
– Antibacterial
– Antifungal
– Antioxidant
– Bone and Joint Conditions
– Circulatory Disorders
– Colds
– Coughs
– Digestive Disorders
– Drug Delivery
– Dyspepsia
– Energy Boosting (Pepper Oil Fragrance)
– Flatulence
– Gastrointestinal Disorders
– Graves' Disease
– Hayfever
– Heart Health Maintenance
– Hyperthyroidism
– Immune System Disorders
– Lethargy (Pepper Oil Fragrance)
– Low Energy (Pepper Oil Fragrance)
– Osteoporosis
– Respiratory Congestion
– Stimulant
– Vascular Deficiencies
– Weakness     
   
     
Overview:    

Black pepper, Piper nigrum Linn., [Fam. Brassicaceae], has long been used traditionally in India as an aromatic stimulant in weakness following fevers and coma, and as a stomachic in dyspepsia and flatulence. It has bacteriostatic and fungistatic properties. Piperine, one of the main alkaloids of black pepper, has been shown to possess bioavailability-enhancing activity with a broad range of different drugs. Research suggests that piperine may induce changes within the digestive tract that increases the absorptive surface of the small intestine and improves drug permeation through the epithelial barrier. Human studies show that black pepper tends to slow bowel movements and doesn't aggravate diarrhea. According to Dr. James Duke in the book Medicinal Plants, black pepper contains at least six different compounds known to reduce high blood pressure and four compounds that have anti-osteoporosis activity. Research on one product containing black pepper with six other herbs has demonstrated anti-allergic activity against hay fever and related conditions. Another study supports the usefulness of purified polysaccharides from Piper nigrum as a supplement for immune enhancement. One study found that fragrance inhalation of pepper oil caused a 1.7-fold increase in plasma adrenaline concentration compared with the resting state, while rose oil caused a 30% decrease. Research shows that piperine given to albino mice with daily oral doses of 2.50 mg/kg for 15 days lowered the serum levels of both the thyroid hormones, thyroxin and triiodothyronine as well as glucose concentrations with a concomitant decrease in hepatic 5'D enzyme and glucose-6-phospatase activity. No significant changes were observed in animals treated with 0.25 mg/kg of piperine, except an inhibition in serum triiodothyronine concentration. These changes were comparable to that of a standard antithyroid drug, Proylthiouracil (PTU). Researchers suggest that a higher dose of piperine may inhibit thyroid function and serum glucose concentration in thyroid patients.    
     
    
Active Ingredients:    

Black pepper contains: Piperine, chavicine, piperidine and piperettine.    
     
    
Suggested Amount:    

The recommended daily dose of black pepper for treating specific conditions is 2-6 grams daily. According to research at Our Lady of Mercy Medical Center in the Bronx, New York, pepper tends to slow down a tendency toward bowel movements. Participants in their human study were normal, healthy adults who consumed pepper daily using capsules containing either three-quarters of a teaspoon of black pepper or one teaspoon of cayenne pepper.    
   
     
Drug Interactions:    

None known.    
     
    
Contraindications:    

Peppery herbs are contraindicated in cases of gastrointestinal ulcers and inflammatory disorders of the kidneys. Peppery herbs are also contraindicated as medicines for children less than 4 years of age.    
     
    
Side Effects:    

In rare cases, gastrointestinal upsets.    
     
    
References:    

Amit A, Saxena VS, Pratibha N, D'Souza P, Bagchi M, Bagchi D, Stohs SJ. 2003. Mast cell stabilization, lipoxygenase inhibition, hyaluronidase inhibition, antihistaminic and antispasmodic activities of Aller-7, a novel botanical formulation for allergic rhinitis. Drugs Exp Clin Res. 2003; 29(3): 107-15.
 
Chun H, Shin DH, Hong BS, Cho WD, Cho HY, Yang HC. 2002. Biochemical properties of polysaccharides from black pepper. Biol Pharm Bull. 2002 Sep; 25(9): 1203-8.
 
Duke, J. 1997: The Green Pharmacy, The Ultimate Compendium of Natural Remedies from the World's Foremost Authority on Healing and Herbs. pp. 312; 415. Rodale Press.
 
El Hamss R, Idaomar M, Alonso-Moraga A, Munoz Serrano A. 2003. Antimutagenic properties of bell and black peppers. Food Chem Toxicol. 2003 Jan; 41(1): 41-7.
 
Haze S, Sakai K, Gozu Y. 2002. Effects of fragrance inhalation on sympathetic activity in normal adults. Jpn J Pharmacol. 2002 Nov; 90(3): 247-53.
 
Khajuria A, Thusu N, Zutshi U. 2002. Piperine modulates permeability characteristics of intestine by inducing alterations in membrane dynamics: influence on brush border membrane fluidity, ultrastructure and enzyme kinetics. Phytomedicine. 2002 Apr; 9(3): 224-31.
 
Panda S, Kar A. 2003. Piperine lowers the serum concentrations of thyroid hormones, glucose and hepatic 5'D activity in adult male mice. Horm Metab Res. 2003 Sep; 35(9): 523-6.
 
Ravindran, P. N. 2000. Black Pepper: Piper nigrum. Series: Medicinal and Aromatic Plants – Industrial Profiles. Centre for Medicinal Plants Research, Kerala, India. ISBN: 9057024535. Publisher Availability: In Stock CRC Press. Pgs: 1-526.