(piper nigrum)


Article by Kaniz F. Shah

Botanical Name: piper nigrum
English Name:  Black pepper
Hindi Name:  kali mirch
Popular Name(s): piperaceae
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: piperales
Family: piperaceae
Genus: piper
Species: p. nigrum
Parts Used: fruit
Habitat: South Asia, India, Indonesia
Taste:  pungent
Odor: spicy, peppery, woody, musky with herbaceous undertones
Effect / Energy:  warming
Extraction method: steam distilled from dried berries
Blends with: sandalwood, frankincense, lavender, rosemary, marjoram, spices & florals in minute quantities



  • Psychological Properties:

  • Subtle Properties:

  • Associated animal:



Manganese (about 37% RDA), vitamin K (about 11% RDA), copper, dietary fiber, iron, chromium, calcium



Analgesic, anticatarrhal, anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, antispasmodic, antitoxic, aphrodisiac, expectorant, laxative, rubefacient, stimulant (digestive, nervous, circulatory), diaphoretic (promotes sweating), diuretic (promotes urination), antioxidant, antibacterial.


Black pepper is a flowering vine cultivated for its fruit (peppercorn), which is dried and used as a spice in cooking. Pepper oil is extracted from the dried peppercorns and used in Ayurvedic medicine as a massage oil and also in beauty and herbal treatments. Pepper should be stored in a dark place in an airtight container since it can lose its flavor, aroma and effects through light exposure and evaporation.
Pepper has been a prized spice since ancient times (over 4000 years) both for cooking and medicine. It was used to make bland foods taste better and fresher, thus was very helpful in the times when there were limited means of preservation.

Health Benefits:

In Chinese medicine, black & white pepper for long have been used in the treatment of malaria, cholera and digestive disorders (diarrhea, stomach ache, etc.). It has been used to help relieve fevers in Greece and Indian monks used it for increased endurance as they walked long distances by foot.
Some of the health benefits include:

  • Digestive aide:

    Black pepper stimulates the taste buds, sending an alert to the stomach to increase hydrochloric acid secretion, which helps digest proteins and nutrients. This helps food pass through the digestive tract more smoothly, preventing heartburn, indigestion, gas, diarrhea, constipation, loss of appetite, nausea and other digestive disorders.
  • Immune & Respiratory System:

    It is used to help fight colds, coughs, flu, chills, infections and viruses.
  • Prevents gas:

    It is a carminative, which helps prevent the formation of gas.
  • Burns Fat:

    The outer layer of the peppercorn stimulates the breakdown of fat cells, keeping you slim while giving you energy to burn fat.
  • Circulation, Muscles and Joints:

    Anemia, arthristis, muscular aches and pain, neuralgia, poor circulation, poor muscle tone (muscular atonia), rheumatic pain, sprains, stiffness.


This article is for informational purpose only. Black pepper is not a treatment for any disease or condition. Black pepper oil is an extreme skin irritant in high concentration due to its rubefacient properties. Use sparingly, diluted. Avoid during pregnancy. To ensure safety, it is best to do an allergy test. Consult your doctor before using for medical purposes.


  1. "Single Essential Oils." Modern Essentials: A Contemporary Guide to the Therapeutic Use of Essential Oils. 4th ed. Orem: AromaTools, 2012. 50-51.
  2. Complete Essential Oils: A Guide to the Use of Oil in Aromatherapy and Herbalism by Julia Lawless
  3. Book “Herbs for Health” written by John and Rosemary.