Scientifically called as piper nigrum, the black variety finds its origin in southwestern India as well as other parts of Southern Asia. The fruit of this vine is dried and used as a spice seasoning, and this dried fruit is known as peppercorn. They are simply referred as black pepper (dried green pepper), green pepper (unripe black pepper) , white pepper (black ones with skin removed), and red pepper (fully ripen on the vine) .
Because of its incredible properties this spice is also referred as ‘black gold’. Just a pinch of this spice has lot to offer. It is a great source of copper, zinc, magnesium, Vitamin K, iron, fibre, and several other phytonutrients. It also contains essential oil piperine (which gives pepper its pungency) which helps with aching muscles, digestive issues and even inflammatory arthritis. Black pepper also possesses antibacterial immune boosting and fever reducing properties. According to studies it can also help individuals quit smoking.
National Institute of Nutrition in India found that black pepper had the highest concentration of antioxidants which enhance brain health. The piperine in the pepper inhibits one enzyme that breaks down serotonin (the calming neurotransmitter). This enzyme is also known to degrade the functioning of another hormone called melatonin (the sleep regulator). Piperine also has proved beneficial Parkinson’s diseases and for depression too. Black pepper has also been found to delay brain ageing and prevents Alzheimer’s.
This king of spice also helps in fighting many other diseases & lifestyle issues like – preventing cancer, lowering blood pressure, prompting weight loss, relieving cold & cough, fighting infections, improving oral health, enhancing fertility in men. The beneficial antioxidants in black pepper are also thought to stabilize blood sugar levels, cure acne and other skin diseases like vitiligo and for revitalizing hair.
The only care we need to take is that it should be consumed in moderate quantity and not in excess. And for best results, every time you want to use it, grind your peppercorn fresh in readily available pepper grinder mills.
Every pinch of pepper is powerful, so go ahead and sprinkle salt’s best friend on your salads, pastas and sandwiches.