Pepper (Piper nigrum) is an exotic spice native to the south of India and Sri Lanka, sold in different colors (green, white, red or black) that depend on how mature the grains were when picked.
In cooking, pepper, the king of spices, promises many health benefits and a high medicinal value!
Pepper has been used for centuries in Ayurveda medicine.
Benefits of pepper in the plate
Europe has known pepper since Greek and Roman times. Used mainly as a condiment, interesting therapeutic applications were soon attributed to it against rheumatism, digestive problems, bouts of fever and even depression.
- Pepper has certain antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties, and stimulating and antiseptic properties have been acknowledged, too.
- A hepatoprotective spice, pepper protects the liver. It is also a natural antioxidant.
- Ingesting pepper enhances digestion and stimulates appetite; it is a good idea in case of nausea, flatulence or constipation.
- Since it triggers endorphins production, pepper is a natural antidepressant that helps fight anxiety and depression.
- Take care, though because abusing pepper can provoke grave burning of the intestinal tract.
The other effects of pepper on health
In topical use, pepper also proves to be effective.
- Black pepper essential oil stimulates the body, allows it to fight against muscle pain and rheumatism. It is also effective to soothe the respiratory tract.
- Massages with black pepper essential oil relax contracted muscle areas (tendinitis, cramps). They are recommended for the physical preparation of athletes to warm muscles up.
Pepper, green, white, red or black?
- In cooking, black and white pepper are most used whole to flavor water used to boil food or for the various pickled vegetables and fruits. They are also appealing when crushed in marinades or spice mixes, and ground to be sprinkled on a dish during preparation or on the dinner table.
- Green pepper, used fresh or dried (and most often whole) is more used for poultry dishes and exotic preparations.
- Red pepper is less common still, and will surprise you in desserts: add a couple grains to your vanilla ice cream or applesauce…
Growing pepper for its health benefits
Pepper requires warm exposure (at least 60°F (15°C)) with light but must not be in direct sunlight.
Soil must be humus-rich, cool, deep and drained. If you’re growing the pepper shrub in a pot at home, spray it every day, it appreciates moist environments.
Remember to stake the plant.