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Botanical Name :Piper nigrum
Species: P. nigrum
Common Name : Black pepper.
Black pepper : Popularly known as “kali mirch” and a native of the western ghats in India , it is endowed with anti-coagulant properties. It is one of the few herbs which ayurveda describes as helping to open obstructions in different channels of the body. Starting from common cold, cough, sinusitis and bronchitis, black pepper is useful in a number of ailments like abdominal colic and sluggishness of the liver. Its overuse can result in intense burning sensation in the mouth. Desi ghee is considered its anti-dote.
Habitat :Black peppers are native to India and are extensively cultivated there and elsewhere in tropical regions. Currently Vietnam is by far the world’s largest producer and exporter of pepper, producing 34% of the world’s Piper nigrum crop as of 2008.
Pepper has been used for the last 3,000 years. Native to India, Pepper was first cultivated in the tropics.Trade between India and Europe, introduced the Peppercorn to large audience. Once it arrived in the United States, Pepper become a common household ingredient.
The pepper plant is a perennial woody vine growing up to 4 metres (13 ft) in height on supporting trees, poles, or trellises. It is a spreading vine, rooting readily where trailing stems touch the ground. The leaves are alternate, entire, 5 to 10 centimetres (2.0 to 3.9 in) long and 3 to 6 centimetres (1.2 to 2.4 in) across. The flowers are small, produced on pendulous spikes 4 to 8 centimetres (1.6 to 3.1 in) long at the leaf nodes, the spikes lengthening up to 7 to 15 centimetres (2.8 to 5.9 in) as the fruit matures. The fruit of the black pepper is called a drupe and when dried is known as a peppercorn.
Pepper can be grown in soil that is neither too dry nor susceptible to flooding, moist, well-drained and rich in organic matter (the vines do not do too well over an altitude of 900 m (3,000 ft) above sea level). The plants are propagated by cuttings about 40 to 50 centimetres (16 to 20 in) long, tied up to neighbouring trees or climbing frames at distances of about 2 metres (6 ft 7 in) apart; trees with rough bark are favoured over those with smooth bark, as the pepper plants climb rough bark more readily. Competing plants are cleared away, leaving only sufficient trees to provide shade and permit free ventilation. The roots are covered in leaf mulch and manure, and the shoots are trimmed twice a year. On dry soils the young plants require watering every other day during the dry season for the first three years. The plants bear fruit from the fourth or fifth year, and typically continue to bear fruit for seven years. The cuttings are usually cultivars, selected both for yield and quality of fruit.
A single stem will bear 20 to 30 fruiting spikes. The harvest begins as soon as one or two fruits at the base of the spikes begin to turn red, and before the fruit is fully mature, and still hard; if allowed to ripen completely, the fruit lose pungency, and ultimately fall off and are lost. The spikes are collected and spread out to dry in the sun, then the peppercorns are stripped off the spikes.
When the yellow-red peppercorns are mature, they produce a single seed. Pepper plants are mature enough to bear seeds at the age of 2-years, and will constantly produce fruit for as many as 40-years.
As berries turn bright red, they are picked and collected. The berries are then dropped into boiling water, where they remain for about 10-minutes. The water causes the berry to turn black.
After the berries have been immersed in water, they are spread out to dry in the sun for several days. Once dried, peppercorns are shipped to pepper manufacturers and factories, where they will be ground and processed.
Grinding of whole peppercorns produces black pepper. After the short grinding process, ground black pepper is packaged and sold to distributors.
The pepper plant peppercorn can not only be made into common black pepper, but also white pepper. White pepper is made from ripe or overly ripe peppercorns. Instead of grinding the peppercorn, workers remove the outer shell of the peppercorn, after they have been exposed to high levels of moisture. The inside of the berry is then dried in the sun, packaged, and sold.
Green pepper, like black, is made from the unripe drupes. Dried green peppercorns are treated in a way that retains the green color, such as treatment with sulfur dioxide, canned or freeze-drying. Pickled peppercorns, also green, are unripe drupes preserved in brine or vinegar. Fresh, unpreserved green pepper drupes, largely unknown in the West, are used in some Asian cuisines, particularly Thai cuisine. Their flavor has been described as piquant and fresh, with a bright aroma. They decay quickly if not dried or preserved.
Orange pepper and red pepper
A product called orange pepper or red pepper consists of ripe red pepper drupes preserved in brine and vinegar. Ripe red peppercorns can also be dried using the same color-preserving techniques used to produce green pepper. Pink pepper from Piper nigrum is distinct from the more-common dried pink peppercorns, which are the fruits of a plant from a different family, the Peruvian pepper tree, Schinus molle, and its relative the Brazilian pepper tree, Schinus terebinthifolius.
Like many eastern spices, pepper was historically both a seasoning and a medicine. Long pepper, being stronger, was often the preferred medication, but both were used.
Black Pepper (or perhaps long pepper) was believed to cure illness such as constipation, diarrhea, Limonene, Safrole, earache, gangrene, heart disease, hernia, hoarseness, indigestion, insect bites, insomnia, joint pain, liver problems, lung disease, oral abscesses, sunburn, tooth decay, and toothaches. Various sources from the 5th century onward also recommend pepper to treat eye problems, often by applying salves or poultices made with pepper directly to the eye. There is no current medical evidence that any of these treatments has any benefit; pepper applied directly to the eye would be quite uncomfortable and possibly damaging. Nevertheless, Black pepper either powdered or its decoction is widely used in traditional Indian medicine and as a home remedy for relief from sore throat, throat congestion, cough etc.
Pepper is known to cause sneezing. Some sources say that piperine, a substance present in black pepper, irritates the nostrils, causing the sneezing; Few, if any, controlled studies have been carried out to answer the question. It has been shown that piperine can dramatically increase absorption of selenium, vitamin B, beta-carotene and curcumin as well as other nutrients.
As a medicine, pepper appears in the Buddhist Samaññaphala Sutta, chapter five, as one of the few medicines allowed to be carried by a monk.
Pepper contains small amounts of safrole, a mildly carcinogenic compound. Also, it is eliminated from the diet of patients having abdominal surgery and ulcers because of its irritating effect upon the intestines, being replaced by what is referred to as a bland diet. However, extracts from black pepper have been found to have antioxidant properties and anti-carcinogenic effects, especially when compared to chili.
Piperine present in black pepper acts as a thermogenic compound. Piperine enhances the thermogenesis of lipid and accelerates energy metabolism in the body and also increases the serotonin and beta-endorphin production in the brain.
Piperine and other components from black pepper may also be helpful in treating vitiligo, although when combined with UV radiation should be staggered due to the effect of light on the compound
Pepper has long been recognized as an ingredient for stimulating the appetite as well as being an aid in the relief of nausea and vertigo. It was used to treat gastro-intestinal upsets, flatulence, fevers and congestive chills. It is supposed to be of help in anal, rectal and urinary troubles. In India it has been used as a medicine since time immemorial for the treatment of anything from paralysis to toothache. East Africans are said to believe that body odor produced after eating substantial amounts of pepper repels mosquitoes. Black pepper contains four anti-osteoporosis compounds. It is of singular importance as a metabolic stimulant in Ayurvedic medicine. Black pepper has the ability to recirculate vital nutrients. When fasting, grind seven peppercorns and take them mixed with a little honey each morning.
BLACK PEPPER is a healthy addition to any diet. Pepper aids in stimulating circulation and digestion.
BLACK PEPPER is know as “The King of Spices” worldwide.
PEPPER is the single, most commonly used spice in the world today.
PEPPER is used in many popular brands of multi-purpose spices.
PEPPER contains minute amounts of essential oil.
Key Benefits of black pepper:
# Aids digestion.
# Improves the appetite.
# Prevents disease since it is anti-bacterial.
# It is beneficial in many diseases. If taken in adequate quantity, a man never suffers from flatulation.
# It helps in digesting the food of those people, who are accustomed to having rich food.
# Using rice in the diet with kidney beans, neutralizes its power of causing the formation of excessive wind. It becomes cool and gives complete nourishment
Disclaimer : The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplement, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.
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