Black pepper (Piper nigrum) is a flowering vine in the family Piperaceae, cultivated for its fruit, which is usually dried and used as a spice and seasoning. When dried, the fruit is known as a peppercorn. When fresh and fully mature, it is approximately 5 millimetres (0.20 in) in diameter, dark red, and, like all drupes, contains a single seed. Peppercorns, and the ground pepper derived from them, may be described simply as pepper, or more precisely as black pepper (cooked and dried unripe fruit), green pepper (dried unripe fruit) and white pepper (ripe fruit seeds).
Black pepper is native to south India and is extensively cultivated there and elsewhere in tropical regions. Currently, Vietnam is the world's largest producer and exporter of pepper, producing 34% of the world's Piper nigrum crop as of 2013.
Health Benefits Of Pepper:
To prevent Cancer
The piperine in black pepper can be credited with the prevention of cancer, and becomes twice as potent when combined with turmeric. The spice also has Vitamin C, Vitamin A, flavonoids, carotenes and other anti-oxidants that help remove harmful free radicals and protect the body from cancers and diseases. The best way to eat pepper to harness maximum benefits is to eat freshly ground pepper, and not cook it along with food.
Again, the piperine in black pepper eases digestion and stimulates the stomach, which then secretes more hydrochloric acid that helps to digest proteins in food. So a bit of pepper in food will actually help you to digest it faster.
Relieves cold and cough
Black pepper is antibacterial in nature, and therefore helps to cure cold and cough. A teaspoon of honey with freshly crushed pepper does the trick. It also helps to alleviate chest congestion, often caused due to pollution, flu, or a viral infection. You can add it to hot water and eucalyptus oil and take steam. And given that black pepper is rich in Vitamin C, it also works as a good antibiotic.
Enables weight loss
You might not want to believe this, but black pepper is brilliant when it comes to extracting nutrients from food. And it's outermost layer contains phytonutrients, which helps to break down fat cells, and also increases metabolism. If you eat fresh pepper, and begin to perspire, that's the pepper helping your body to get rid of excess water and toxins. But you need to control consumption - a pinch with your food (one meal) is enough.
Skin Benefits Of Black Pepper
Vitiligo is a skin condition that causes the skin to lose its pigmentation in certain areas. When your skin loses its natural pigmentation, it turns white. There are many different treatments for this skin disease, but a majority of them involve the use of harsh chemicals. Many patients are now turning to black pepper as a cure. According to some researchers from London, Piperine found in black pepper stimulates the production of pigmentation in the skin, providing a safe, natural alternative to chemical-based treatments.
The high amount of antioxidants present in black pepper helps your skin by protecting it against the symptoms of premature aging such as fine lines, wrinkles and dark spots. Instead of buying expensive creams and serums that promise to rejuvenate your skin, add black pepper to your daily diet and see its miraculous effect on your skin.
Hair Benefits Of Black Pepper
If you are suffering from dandruff problems, black pepper is the best treatment. Add a teaspoonful of crushed pepper to a bowl of curd and apply it on your scalp, leaving it on for 30 minutes or so. Wash off with water. Do not use shampoo. If you want, you can shampoo the next day, as this will give the mixture ample time to work on dandruff. Remember not to overdo the pepper as an excess of this ingredient will make your scalp burn, causing extreme discomfort.
Mix a teaspoonful of ground black pepper and lemon seeds and apply to your scalp and hair. This will revitalize your hair, making it shiny, lustrous and soft. Leave the mixture on for 10 to 15 minutes and rinse off with cold water.