Pepper is one of the oldest spices known. Native to tropical Asia, the vine was traded along the spice route and used as currency. India, by the way, is the largest producer of pepper in the whole world.
WHAT MEDICINE SAYS
Pepper is rich in essential oils and the pungent piperidine alkaloids (derivatives of amino acids). It is an aromatic, warming herb that helps dispel intestinal gas, and promotes sweating and urination. It signals the stomach to increase the secretion of hydrochloric acid which is needed to digest food. This keeps food from sitting in the stomach too long and prevents conditions like irritation and flatulence.
Black pepper also has great anti-oxidant, antiinflammatory and anti-bacterial properties. It enhances the body’s absorption of several micronutrients including beta-carotene, coenzyme Q-10 and EGCG (a powerful antiinflammatory anti-oxidant).
Ayurvedic medicine uses pepper seeds for nasal congestion and sinusitis. Sucking peppercorns relieves throat irritation caused by a dry cough.