Latin Name – Piper nigrum
मरिच कटुकम तीक्ष्णम दीपनम कफवातजित ।
उष्णम पित्तकरम रुक्षम श्वास शूल क्रीमीन्हरेत ॥
तत आर्द्रम मधुरम पाके नातिउष्णम कटुकम गुरु ।
किंचित तीक्ष्णगुनम श्लेष्मप्रसेकी स्यादपित्तलम ॥
Black pepper probably is the one of the most used spice all across the globe. It is widely used to enhance the taste and also to provide a flavor to the food. Ancient wisdom of Ayurveda says, it is pungent in taste, sharp in action and stimulates digestive fire. It is known for its potential action over Kapha and Vata. Black pepper, due to its property of being hot, helps in liquefying the Kapha. Due to this property it becomes a drug of choice in cases of chronic cough wherein sputum is very sticky and creates congestion in respiratory system. That is the reason why in cases of Bronchial Asthma fine black pepper powder is advised for internal use. It immediately helps in broncho dilation due to stimulation effect and mobilizes the phlegm from bronchioles. It contains an alkaloid called piperin which makes this herb an excellent catalyst.
Black pepper increases digestive juices and stimulates digestive fire. In cases of gaseous bloating and chronic indigestion it is considered to be an effective medicine. It is hot in potency, so should be avoided by Pitta personalities and people with skin sensitivities. It is dry in nature, so effective in obesity for proper fat metabolism and may increase cellular activity.
Black pepper is traditionally known for its anthelminthic effect for ages. It is given in very small doses along with green tomato to kids in folklore practices. It can also be used in cases of tooth ache in form of decoction for gargles.
High doses of this herb may result in abdominal pain, and urethral burning. Excessive use of black pepper in food as spice and flavor may result in stomach burning and gastritis. So it should be consumed in low quantity under the physician supervision only.
Metabolic taste of tender or green form of the pepper is sweet. It is not so hot in potency and heavy to digest. It is good mucolytic and also increases pitta. One pinch of the black pepper powder along with one tea spoon of honey at night helps in relieving the respiratory congestion and as per traditional believe also enhances the immunity of respiratory tract.