Botanical Name: Piper nigrum
- English: Black Pepper
- Ayurvedic: Maricha, Vellaja, Uushna, Suvrrita, Krishnaa.
- Unani: Filfil Siyaah, Safed.
- Also, known as: Prik Thai Dam, Milagu, Peper, Hu Jiao, Pfeffer, Kaalii Mirch, Merica, Pepe Nero, Pappaa, Lada Hitam, Pimenta Negra, Pimiento, Phrik Thai, Fulful, Filfil, Felfel, Bghbegh, Pghpegh, Jaluk, Gol Morich, Golmorich, Piper, Pipereni Zurna, Nayukon, Nga-Youk-Kuan, Ngayok-Kaung, Wuh Jiu, Pippuri, Poivre, Piperi, Koino Piperi, Mari, Kali Mirch, Gol Mirch, Gulki, Merica, Pipar, Menasu, Marts, Huchu, Pepeo, Pepo, Mak Phik Thai, Phik Noi, Phik Thai, Biber, Piper, Lada, Biji Lada, Kurumulagu, Yavanapriyam, Mire, Marich, Pimenta, Pimenta-Do-Reino, Pimenta-Da-Índia, Perets, Marica, Vella, Krishnan, Krishnadi, Pimienta, Milagu, Yavanappiriyam, Miriyalu, Miriyamu, Savyamu, Nalesham, Pho Ba Ril Bu, Fowarilbu, Karabiber, Vellaja, Fulful Aswad, Filfil Aswad, Kalo Marich, Cheren Piper, Hak Wuh Jiu, Hei Hu Jiao, Zwarte Peper, Felfel Siah, Poivre Noir, Schwarzer Pfeffer, Piperi Mauro, Kala Mari, Kali Mirch, Feketebors, Merica Hitam, Kari Menasu, Pullaek Pepo, Pepeo-Bullaek, Karutta Kurumulagu, Kalo Marich, Kara Biber, Karabiber, Prik Thai Dam, Karuppu Milagu, Svartpeppar, Pimienta Negra, Kalu Gammiris, Gammiris, Chyornyj Perets, Čierne Korenie, Piper Negru, Pimenta-Preta, Pimenta-Negra, Czarny Pieprz, Kalimori, And Milagu
Habitat: South India; Malabar region
Parts Used: Dried fruit usually known as “peppercorns”
Piper nigrum, is a woody stemmed perennial evergreen vine that typically grows to10-15 feet tall and as wide but may reach 30-35 feet tall in its native habitat. Pepper is cultivated since millennia. Black pepper is one of the oldest known spices, used in India for thousands of years. Throughout medieval Europe, this precious spice was commonly traded ounce for gold and was the most important commodity traded between India and Europe.
The black pepper plant is a woody climber and may reach heights of 10 meters by means of its aerial roots. Leaves are broad, shiny, green, ovate, alternately arranged, cordate, palmately-veined, 5-7-inch-long appear at the nodes on a stout but flexible climbing stems. Tiny, apetalous, yellowish-green florets bloom in summer on spikes to 4.5-inch-long that grow outward from the leaf stem joint. Florets are hermaphrodite but sometimes unisexual. The small flowers are in dense slender spikes of about 50 blossoms each. Florets are followed by spherical fruits that ripen to red. The fruits, which are sometimes called peppercorns, are drupes about 5 mm in diameter. Their odor is penetrating and aromatic; the taste is hot, biting, and very pungent. Ground black pepper contains up to 3 percent essential oil that has the aromatic flavor of Capsicum peppers but not the pungency. The characteristic flavor is principally derived from the chemical piperine.
There are different varieties of peppercorns you will find like red, white, and green in addition to the common black. All of these come from the same plant but are prepared differently to achieve the different looks and slightly different tastes. The traditional types are black and white; dried green peppercorns are a more recent innovation, but are now rather common in Western countries. The pungency is strongest in white pepper and weakest in green pepper, while black and green peppercorns are more aromatic than the white ones. Green peppercorn has a somewhat immature, herbaceous fragrance. Red peppercorns combine a sugary–sweet taste with the mature pungency and flavor of black pepper.
Black peppercorn: The fruits are picked when they begin to turn red. The collected fruits are immersed in boiling water for about 10 minutes, which causes them to turn dark brown or black in an hour. Then they are spread out to dry in the sun for three or four days. The whole peppercorns, when ground, yield black pepper.
White peppercorn: It is obtained by removing the dark outer part of the pericarp, and the flavor is less pungent than that of black pepper. The outer coating is softened either by keeping the berries in moist heaps for 2 or 3 days or by keeping them in sacks submerged in running water for 7 to 15 days, depending on the region. The softened outer coating is then removed by washing and rubbing or by trampling, and the berries are spread in the sun to dry. Whole white pepper can also be prepared by grinding off the outer coating mechanically.
Green peppercorn: Green peppercorns are harvested when unripe, then treated to preserve the green coloring by usually through freeze-drying, or other means.
Red peppercorns: They are harvested when fully ripe, then treated to preserve the red coloring.
The plant requires a long rainy season, fairly high temperatures, and partial shade for best growth. Propagation is usually by stem cuttings, which are set out near a tree or a pole that will serve as a support. Pepper plants are sometimes interspersed in tea or coffee plantations. They begin bearing in 2-5 years and may produce for as long as 40 years.
How to use:
As a spice.
Decoctions are suitable for roots, barks, large seeds & berries, and other dense material. The simple way to make decoction is, in a saucepan, add 1 tablespoon of dried herbs to 1 cup of water. Bring the water to boil, reduce heat and simmer for 30-60 minutes. Strain and squeeze out as much as liquid as possible and enjoy!
- You can sweeten your herbal decoctions with a bit of honey, natural fruit juice, stevia leaves powder and or licorice root powder.
You should consult with a qualified healthcare practitioner before using any herbal products, particularly if you are pregnant, nursing, or on any medications.
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This information has not been evaluated by Health Canada.
This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.