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Pepper

Introduction:  Pepper, known by its botanical name, Piper nigrum, from the family of Piperaceae, found within two main genera, namely Piper and Peperomia, is cultivated for its fruit which is then dried for its spice nature.  It is initially dark red before dried with 5 mm in diameter which is described as black pepper, green pepper which is dried unripe fruit and white pepper which are ripe fruit seeds.  The main varieties are

  • Black Pepper
  • White Pepper
  • Green Pepper
  • Wild Pepper
  • Orange Pepper
  • Pink Pepper.

The plant is grown in tropical region, South India, mainly across Kerala and it's surrounding area which is known for its climatic condition favouring the pepper.  The major cultivation/producer is from Vietnam which accounts to 34% of world production.  They are one of the most common spices added to cuisines around the world which is due to piperine which is also used as traditional medicine.

Medicinal Uses:  Pepper is well known for its multiple medicinal uses, particularly in gastrointestinal disorders such as constipation, diarrhoea, indigestion, and dyspepsia.  Pepper has been repeatedly documented in many books of tradition for diarrhoea.  They have antibacterial, antioxidant, increase immunity properties.  They are also known for aiding in asthma, weight loss, sinus issues, risk of cancer, and issues with liver and heart.  They are also used in traditional medicine for skin issues such a vitiligo (lose of skin pigmentation).  Recent study suggests that they also have their control in cognitive function, mainly in early stage of Alzheimer's patient and dementia which is an age-related malfunction. They are used to treat in peptic ulcer, mainly dealing with gastric mucosal damage.

                               

Pharmacology:  Black pepper has rich source of minerals like potassium, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, sodium, and vitamins such as thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, and vitamin B6.  They have high content of dietary fibre and has a moderate amount of carbohydrate and protein. 

The Piper nigrum contains variety of phytochemicals, and piperine was considered the first pharmacologically active compound in Piperaceae family. The other isolated compounds are Phenolics, flavonoids, alkaloids, amides and steroids, lignans, neolignans, terpenes, chalcones and many other compounds.  Piperine is reported to have four isomers viz; Piperine, Isopiperine, Chavicine and Isochavicine. The isolated compounds isolated from P. nigrum are Piperine, pipene, piperamide and piperamine, found to have diverse pharmacological activities.

Pepper Tea:

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup of milk
  • 1 teaspoon of turmeric, powdered
  • 1 teaspoon of pepper, powdered fresh
  • 2 teaspoons of honey.
  • 1 teaspoon of tea powder
  • 1 Teaspoon of lemon.

Add 1 cup of milk to the pan and add turmeric powder, pepper powder, and tea powder to it and boil it.  Now add honey and lemon to it and leave it for couple minutes in simmer and serve it hot.

Uses:  Pepper helps in relieving mucous cough along with honey since it is natural cough reliever and antibiotic nature in it. 

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