(Last Updated on : 30-01-2014)
Uses of pepper in Indian food immense and is known as the "King of Spices", Black Pepper is the oldest and a highly valuable spice in India. There have been many uses of black pepper, since the ancient times. The primary use of black pepper is medicinal, as it is used in remedies of several traditional medications in India. Mainly the dried fruits of black pepper, usually known as peppercorns are used to serve different purposes. Black pepper was one of the most valuable trade goods in the ancient India, and was often referred to as "black gold". It was mainly traded to Europe, Middle East, and North American countries from India.
Different uses of Black Pepper
Different parts of black pepper are used for different purposes. Black pepper contains several medicinal properties. The fruits are analgesic, antiseptic, antispasmodic, diaphoretic, febrifuge, rubefacient, stimulant, stomachic, acrid, bitter, carminative, aphrodisiac, diuretic, and digestive. Black pepper is aromatic, and has slightly musty odour. The essential oil of black pepper is found largely in its flesh and skin and its pungent taste comes from the alkaloids. The resins are found mostly in seeds of black pepper. The medicinal properties of black pepper have made it useful in the preparation of many remedies in traditional treatment methods like Ayurveda, Unani or Siddha.
Ayurvedic use of Black Pepper
, black pepper is used extensively for preparing medicines of various diseases. Black pepper is largely used in preparations of the medicines like Kat Rasa, Kat Vipakam, Ushna Veriyam, Vata Kapha haram, Pitta haram, Tikshnam, Ruksham, Lagu, Dipanam in Swasam, Soolam, Krimi hicca, etc. The fruits of black pepper contain a range of useful properties and have hot, light and anti-flatulent effects. It is particularly used to eradicate parasitic worms and as an appetizer. Black pepper is also used in treating coughs, colds, breathing and heart problems, colic, diabetes, anemia and piles
, etc. The stomach ailments like dyspepsia
, flatulence, constipation
and diarrhoea are also treated with black pepper. Black pepper can be mixed with other substances like castor oil, cow's urine or ghee and then used to treat the diseases. Apart from these, it is also prepared in the form of pills as a remedy for cholera and syphilis, sometimes combined with other substances. Black pepper has been used in tooth powder for toothache, as well and an infusion of black pepper can work as a remedy for sore throat and hoarseness. It can also be chewed to reduce throat inflammation.
External application of Black Pepper
Black Pepper has some external applications as well. It is applied in paste form to treat boils, hair loss and skin diseases. The essential oil of black pepper is renowned to alleviate itching. A mixture of powdered black pepper and the sesame oil is applied for areas affected by paralysis. Another mixture made of black pepper and honey is also used as a remedy for night blindness. Sometimes, black pepper is inhaled in comatose patients and it is also useful in treating hepatitis, urinary and reproductive disorders. Besides, Ayurveda and Siddha, black pepper is also used in Unani medicine. It is described as an aphrodisiac in Unani medicine
and is used as a remedy to alleviate colic. Black pepper is utilised in a preparation named "jawa rishai thurush", in Unani medicine. This is actually a composition of pepper, ginger, salt, lemon juice and the plants like vidanga (Embelia ribes) and mint
(Menthaspecies). This preparation is often prescribed to alleviate indigestion and stomach acidity. Black pepper is also occasionally employed as anti-periodic in obstinate fever either alone or with other drugs preferably quinine. Black pepper is used in dyspepsia, along with other drugs like Calumba and bismuth. It is also used in flatulency, in combination with the drugs like asafoetida and camphor.
Medicinal Use of Black Pepper
Black pepper is considered good for mental clarity. It is used frequently for improving concentration and also to prevent memory loss. It is warming and energising. It is used in Aromatherapy for serving various purposes. It is excellent for being used in messages for muscle pains and stiffness and can be used for treating sports injuries, as well. Black pepper can be taken as a steam inhalation, combined with eucalyptus or marjoram, for treating colds and flu. In fact, black pepper is used most commonly for treating the illnesses like constipation, diarrhoea, earache, gangrene, heart disease, hernia, hoarseness, indigestion, insect bites, insomnia
, joint pain, liver problems, lung diseases, oral abscesses, sunburn, tooth decay, toothaches, anaemia
, poor circulation, jaundice, etc. However, though it is commonly used in Ayurveda
, Siddha or Unani medicine, it is not compatible with the Homoeopathy treatment.
Uses of Black Pepper in Food
Apart from its numerous medicinal uses, Black pepper has some other notable uses, as well. Black pepper is extensively used in different types of cuisine, all over the world. It is an important spice in the Indian four-spice classic garam masala. It is widely used in the wintry cuisine of North India, mainly to impart warmth and pungency to vegetable dishes. In South India, black pepper is used as a flavouring spice in both vegetable and non-vegetable preparations. Black pepper is by far considered the most used type of peppercorns. It can be used for almost every kind of dish, even in making sweets. They are broadly used in making fruit salads and high-quality dark chocolate.
Black pepper can be used in many spice mixtures. It is used abundantly in India and is an integral part of the Anglo-Indian curry powder. Black pepper is used as flavour ingredient in most major food products in India. Some of the notable food products include the non alcoholic beverages, candies, baked foods, meat and meat products, Cheese, Condiments and relishes, etc. The black pepper oil is also utilised in making perfumes. Some of the other important uses of black pepper include defending against houseflies; keeping various insects from entering vegetable garden; fixing a heater leak temporarily; keeping the coloured clothes bright; preventing ants from entering kitchen; etc.
Black pepper is probably the most important spice in India that has diverse usages. The cultivation of black pepper has also increased due to its numerous uses. The cultivation of black pepper has now spread to the remote places in India.