Black Pepper Essential Oil

Black pepper is perhaps the most well-known and most used spice in the world. An integral part of culinary heritage around the world, it is unique and diverse at the same time. Making up a quarter of the world's spice trade, black pepper is the most important seasoning from an economic point of view. In spite of, or perhaps as a result of, its diffusion, few consumers know where it comes from. Originating in Southeast Asia, Piper nigrum spread to Malaysia over 200 years ago in the fertile state of Sarawak one of the two states on the island of Borneo.

The plant has the form of a bush and grows around a post of ironwood (belian), the hardest, most resistant wood in nature, and the only one capable of enduring the equatorial climate. Pepper grains are collected when they turn from green to pale yellow. They are washed in water and left to dry in the sun.

Incredibly popular black pepper, often referred as “king of spice” is a well-known spice since ancient times. The peppercorn plant is native to tropical evergreen rain forest of South Indian state, Kerala, from where it spread to rest of the world. The Pepper fruit, also known as the peppercorn, is actually a berry obtained from this plant.

Botanically, peppercorn belongs to the family of Piperaceae of the genus of piper. This perennial vine and climber requires supporting tree or pole to grow in height; thus has similar growth characteristics that of beetle leaf plant. It begins to bear small round berries after about three to four years of implantation. Technically, the pepper fruit is a drupe, measuring about 5 mm in diameter, containing a single large seed at its center.

Biologists have discovered a new species of wild black pepper. It was found in the Andes Mountains of Ecuador. The research team gave the species, Piper Kelley, the nickname pink belly based on the pinkish undersides of the leaves (seen in the upper right). 

The biologists say the new species is a mini biodiversity hotspot. It is home to 40 to 50 insect species. Many of the insects are entirely dependent on the host plant for survival. The scientists have made nearly 30,000 observations of over 100 black pepper relatives over the past 20 years. They say the newly discovered species supports more specialized caterpillar and predator species than any other species in the black pepper family. 

Benefit & Uses: BlackPepper contains an impressive list of plant derived chemical compounds that are known to have disease preventing and health promoting properties. Black Pepper has been in use since ancient times for its anti-inflammatory, carminative, anti-flatulent properties.

Black Pepper is composed of health benefiting essential oils such as pipeline, an amine alkaloid, which gives strong spicy pungent character to the pepper. It also contains numerous monoterpenes hydrocarbons such as sabinene, pinene, terpenene, limonene, mercene, etc., which gives aromatic property to the pepper.

The above-mentioned active principles in the pepper may increase the gut motility as well as the digestion power by increasing gastro-intestinal enzyme secretions. It has also been found that piperine can increase absorption of selenium, B-complex vitamins, beta-carotene, as well as other nutrients from the food.

Black peppercorns contain a good amount of minerals like potassium, calcium, zinc, manganese, iron, and magnesium. Potassium is an important component of cell and body fluids that helps controlling heart rate and blood pressure. Manganese is used by the body as a co-factor for the antioxidant enzyme, superoxide dismutase. Iron is essential for cellular respiration and blood cell production.

They are also an excellent source of many vital B-complex groups of vitamins such as Pyridoxine, riboflavin, thiamin and niacin.

 

It has a good source of many anti-oxidant vitamins such as vitamin-C and vitamin-A. They are also rich in flavonoid polyphenolic anti-oxidants like carotenes, cryptoxanthin, zea-xanthin and lycopene. These compounds are help the body removes harmful free radicals and help protect from cancers and diseases.

 

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