Pepper

lat. Piper nigrum (Piperaceae)

Group: Spices

Pepper Piper nigrum (Piperaceae)
Pepper Piper nigrum (Piperaceae)
Pepper Piper nigrum (Piperaceae)
Odor profile: hot and bracing note, short-lived and earthy spice, rendered through steam distillation of the berries of the piper negrum bush, which is very popular as a bright accent top note in fragrances. Featured prominently in Piper Negrum by L.Villoresi.

A depiction of Calicut, published in 1572 during Portugal's control of the pepper trade


Black Pepper, christened as “King of Spices” and “Black gold” is the most important and the most widely used spice in the world, occupying a position that is supreme and unique. Black pepper essential oil is stimulating, warming, comforting and cheerful. The quality of pepper is contributed to by two components. Piperine that contributes the pungency and volatile oil that is responsible for the aroma and flavor.
 


Botanical name: Piper nigrum

Family: Piperaceae
 



COMMON NAMES

Ayurvedic–Maricha (Charaka, Sushruta), Vellaja, Uushana, Suvrrita, Krishna

UnaniFilfil siyaah, Filfil safed

SiddhaMilagu

English–Black Pepper

Parts Used-Fruit

Common method of extraction-Steam distillation of the dried, unripe fruit

Aroma-Pleasant, fresh, spicy and peppery, warm, woody

Note-Middle

Blends well with-Sandalwood, rosemary, citrus, lavender, ginger, clove, lemon, coriander, geranium

HABITAT

Black pepper is a native plant of the Malabar, a region on the Western Coast of South India and originated in the tropical evergreen forests of the Western Ghats of India. The Malabar Coast of India was the center of the pepper trade from time immemorial. The plant is cultivated in the hot and moist parts of India, Sri Lanka and other tropical countries like Malaysia, China and Madagascar. However, Vietnam is the world’s largest producer and exporter of pepper.

HISTORY

Pepper has been highly esteemed in India since time immemorial and was one of the first of the oriental spices to be introduced into Europe, being well known to the ancient Greeks and Romans. From the Malabar Coast of India, pepper was carried by overland routes, as well as by sea. Initially black pepper was taken from the Malabar Coast to the Indonesian islands, and then it spread to various Pacific islands, South East Asian countries and later to tropical Africa and America.

BOTANY

Pepper belongs to family Piperaceae and genus Piper. Apart from black pepper (P. nigrum), the genus also includes economically important species like

P. longum–long pepper
P. betle–betel leaf
P. chaba–Java long pepper
P. cubeba–Cubeb, Tailed pepper

Piper nigrum is a perennial climber, climbing by means of roots which adhere to the support tree. The old stem becomes thick and produces numerous lateral branches. Runner shoots arise from the base of the vine. Leaves are thick, coriaceous, glabrous shape but much variable—commonly ovate, elliptic or elliptic lanceolate.  The size varies from small to large. The base is round, acute or cordate, the tip acuminate, and tge upper surface is dark green to light green, with lower surface being dull green. The pendent spikes form inflorescence and are borne opposite the leaves on the plagiotropic branches. They are 13-15 cm long, bearing 50-150 minute flowers borne in the axils of ovate fleshy bracts. The flowers may be unisexual, with monoecious or dioecious forms, or may be hermaphrodite.
 

ESSENTIAL OIL

Most of the pepper oil in commerce is produced in Western Europe and North America from imported black pepper. The most important types of pepper for processing into essential oil are the Indonesian (Lampong) and Indian (Malabar). The pepper is crushed to a coarse powder and on steam distillation in which ammonia is evolved (in common with, for example, ginger, pimento and cubebs) it yields a colorless to a pale green essential oil with a mild, non-pungent flavor. Pepper oil is used in perfumery and flavorings. Black pepper oil is obtained upon steam distillation of the spice as an almost water-white or pale greenish-grey, mobile liquid, which becomes viscous on aging.

CHEMICAL CONSTITUENTS

Fruits yielded piperine, piperetine and piperidine, amides-peperyline, piperoleins A and B and N-iso-butyl-cicosa-trans-2-trans-4-dienamide. The major constituent piperine (2-5%) showed CNS-depressant, antipyretic, analgesic, anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant and hepato-protective properties.

USES


• Dried seeds are used in prescriptions, for cough, rhinitis, consumption, anemia, fainting.

• Black pepper oil is used as blended massage oil, or diluted in a bath to assist with circulation, bruises, rheumatoid arthritis and muscular aches and pains.

• Black pepper is also used as a constituent in a blended cream which is commonly used to provide relief in muscular pain.

• In the winters, black pepper essential oil becomes a great substitute used as warmth-generating aromatherapy constituents.

• Black pepper essential oil is used as an aromatherapy massage oil, to increase the blood circulation.

• The essential oil can make a room feel warmer and cozier when used in an aromatherapy diffuser.


 

 


Author: Dr. Chandra Shekhar Gupta (cshekhar)

Fragrantica Writer

 

 



 

 

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