|Name: Black Pepper
Name: Piper nigrum
Names: Black pepper, pepper, white pepper, green peppercorns, Maricha, Gulmirch
Black pepper's aromatic, slightly musty odor comes from the volatile oils found largely in the flesh and skin; its pungent bite comes from the alkaloids-piperine and piperidine-and resins found mostly in the seeds. The oils go into perfumes and flavorings.
No plant since the apple of Eden has had a larger, more telling effect on human history than the black pepper vine. Beginning in 327 B.C., when Alexander the Great invaded India and discovered the pleasures of well-seasoned food, wars have been fought, kingdoms over- thrown, unknown oceans braved, and continents discovered-all for the sake of
Attila the Hun, holding all of Rome hostage, demanded 3,000 pounds of them as tribute. Throughout medieval Europe, pepper was commonly traded, ounce for ounce, for gold.
In 1488, in search of a water route to the spice markets of India, Bartholomeu Dias first sailed the raging waters around Africa's Cape of Good Hope. Four years later, looking for an easier route to the same markets, Columbus landed in the New World.
In the centuries that followed, European nations vied viciously with each other in colonizing tropical lands and trying to comer the spice market.
The black pepper is produced by a woody, broad-leaved evergreen vine that is cultivated today in many tropical lands, from India, Indonesia, and Malaysia to South America and the West Indies. The stout vine, which is allowed to climb poles or small trees in cultivation, bears many slender, densely packed flower spikes. The fruits that develop upon these spikes are generally harvested while still green; the signal is the reddening of the lowest fruits on a spike. The green fruits are dried until the flesh around the single hard seed is wrinkled and grayish black, then ground into black pepper or packaged and sold as whole peppercorns.
The milder white pepper is made from the same plant; but the fruits are allowed to ripen, and the flesh is removed before the seeds are ground.
anthelmintic, antipyretic, antiperiodic, carminative, expectorant,
Pepper has long been recognized as an ingredient for stimulating the appetite as well as an aid in the relief of nausea. In India it had been used as a medicine for variety of ailments from paralysis to toothache.
East Africans are believe that body odor produced after eating substantial amounts of pepper repels mosquitoes.
A Philippine folk remedy calls for a a generous pinch of black pepper and an equivalent amount of anise to be combined to 1 cup of brandy. Warm it over low heat (Do not boil.). Slowly sip
small amount of this while still warm. Retain in the mouth for 45 seconds before swallowing. This helps to reduce elevated body temperature due to fever.
Black pepper is used in liniments and gargles; they have been used as carminatives, reducing stomach and intestinal gas; and they have been found to stimulate the activity of the heart and kidneys.
It is also an effective insecticide against houseflies. Gardeners use pepper sprays against several kinds of pests.
Make a decoction of the pepper
by adding 1/8 teaspoon of black pepper to 1/2 cup boiling water. Stir, cover and simmer on low heat for 7
minutes. Steep, still covered for another 15 minutes. Strain.
For toothache, rinse the mouth with small sips
with warm decoction. Retain the liquid in the mouth for a minute or more. Repeat as needed.
Caution: May cause digestive
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