A Spice which is famous worldwide and even called as black gold , now commonly known as Black pepper , is cultivated for its fruit which is usually dried and black in color. Black pepper comes from the family of Piperaceae. It is native to India and astronomically cultivated there and subsequently in other tropical regions. Currently Vietnam,Indonesia and India are the leading Producers of black pepper.
Origin and the History
Hot, pungent,sharp,biting and woody are some of the words which describes the flavor of black pepper on your tongue. Apart from its interesting flavor, its journey to your kitchen is more interesting. Well India is the country you can thank for originating black pepper. It has originated from the ghats of Kerala in South India which was known as Malabar in ancient times then it was further exported through sea to various parts of the world. It stills grows enormously in south India and believed to be of supreme quality.
There are many archaeological evidences which proves that pepper is as old as 2000 B.c in India. We know that pepper was exported from India to other countries but the quantity is still a mystery .There are evidences like stuffing of peppercorns in nostrils of Ramsey the great when he was mummified shows the trade from India to Egypt.
By 40 AD Romans started to trade pepper and other spices like cinnamon from India. They used to take all of them including incense oils to their trade hub in Alexandria.
80 percent of their recipes contained pepper in them and it was loved by nearly all. With the rising demand of black pepper Romans started to use it as a currency. When the Romans were attacked in 410 A.d they paid three thousand pounds of pepper. With the fall of Rome's imperial power other groups began to take over this spice Trade.
So Now came the Arab Traders, Soon they became the imperative force of its trade. To Maintain their monopoly in this trade and keep it as a secret and raise its value in market they created myths. One of the most spread-ed myth was that black pepper grows in those trees in India which are guarded by poisonous snakes, and it is extremely difficult to drive the snakes away, In order to do that they have to burn the tree and in the procedure pepper burns and turns out to be black which is originally white in color.
by 10th century pepper has become an Important spice through out the Europe. By the 14th century Arab traders were joined by many other traders through sea and Genoa became prominent commercial center with pepper.
Spice merchants from Alexandria brought pepper to Venice as well and during the 15th century sharp traders of Venetians raised its price by 40 percent. In 1497 Vasco De gama was sent to find the sea route to India by the King of Portuguese. By the end of 15th century A.d Portuguese took over the spice trade.Their journey was dangerous as every country wanted to dominate the trade, nearly 30 percent of trading vessels were lost. The high cost of importing pepper from India was paid by none other than its consumers. Slowly due to less support from political and military authorities Portuguese lost its control over the trade to British East India company which was highly supported by its dominant military.
Nutrition in Black pepper
Betaine 8.9 mg
Choline 11.3 mg
Folate 17.00 mcg
Niacin 1.143 mg
Pantothenic acid 1.399 mg
Riboflavin 0.180 mg
Thiamin 0.108 mg
Vitamin A 547.00 IU
Vitamin A, RAE 27.00 mcg
Carotene, alpha 12.00 mcg
Carotene, beta 310.00 mcg
Cryptoxanthin, beta 25.00 mcg
Lutein + zeaxanthin 454.00 mcg
Lycopene 20.00 mcg
Vitamin B6 0.291 mg
Vitamin E 1.04 mg
Tocopherol, alpha 1.04 mg
Tocopherol, gamma 6.56 mg
Tocotrienol, alpha 0.85 mg
Vitamin K 163.7 mcg
Carbohydrate 63.95 g
Fiber 25.3 g
Sugars 0.64 g
Fructose 0.23 g
Ga lactose 0.15 g
Glucose (dextrose) 0.24 g
Sucrose 0.02 g
Calcium, Ca 443.00 mg
Copper, Cu 1.330 mg
Fluoride, F 34.2 mcg
Iron, Fe 9.71 mg 54 %
Magnesium, Mg 171.00 mg
Manganese, Mn 12.753 mg
Phosphorus, P 158.00 mg
Potassium, K 1329.00 mg
Selenium, Se 4.9 mcg
Sodium, Na 20.00 mg
Zinc, Zn 1.19 mg
Protein 10.39 g
BENEFITS OF BLACK PEPPER
1) Improves metabolism - Its consumption increases the secretion of hydrolic acid in stomach, thereby facilitating digestion.It also helps in prevention of intestinal gas and consumption of black pepper
induces sweating and urination by which it removes toxins and foreign elements from the body.
2) Promotes weight loss- Black pepper helps you in your weight loss journey and keeps you in good shape when consumed regularly. Pepper helps in breaking the fat cells of your body and help you shed weight naturally.
3) Antibacterial property- Antibacterial Property of black pepper helps to fight against infections and insect bites. Black pepper in diet keeps the arteries clean and also removes excess cholesterol from its walls. It also reduces the risk of heart attack and stroke.
4) Prevents Asthma - Peppercorns also helps in preventing Asthma due to its strong inflammatory Properties.
5) Prevents Cancer- Black pepper increases the absorption of nutrients like selenium, cur cumin, beta-carotene, and b vitamins in your intestines which are vital for cancer prevention and healthy gut.
6) Controls Blood Pressure- It can lower blood pressure in animals , and according to a study in Slovakian similar effects are seen in Humans as well.
7) Treats common cold and cough- Black pepper clears the respiratory tract hence very beneficial in cough and for cold too it is very beneficial when combined with honey as the pepper stimulates circulation and the mucus flow and honey enhances its effect.
8) Improves oral hygiene- Anti-inflammatory properties in pepper removes inflammation of gum . It is also used in many ancient remedies when mixed with other ingredients for treating oral infections
and tooth ache. Mix equal amount of salt with black pepper for relief in tooth ache.
9)Improves fertility in Men- Due to the presence of zinc and Magnesium, peppercorns increases testosterone levels in men. it also improves the sperm counts and its concentration.
10)Anti-aging Property- Free radicals are responsible for aging and premature aging in our body . Antioxidant property of black pepper helps fighting with free radicals in our body. by using it regularly you can fight with the early sign of aging like dark spots , pigmentation. fine lines and even premature grey hair.
SIDE EFFECTS OF BLACK PEPPER
Simply avoid its contact to your eyes and nose as it can create irritation and redness in eyes.
Excess of everything is bad and in pregnancy as well , limit the dosage of black pepper as it can lead to miscarriage. So stay safe and limit its consumption to normal doses.
INTERESTING FACTS ABOUT BLACK PEPPER
1) United States of America is its biggest consumer till date, importing approximately 671 million dollars of pepper every year.
2)Black peppercorns are green in color when harvested, it changes its color when dried.
3)White peppercorns are basically black peppercorns without skin.
4)Red peppercorns become red in color when black peppercorns are left on vine for longer duration then normal.
5)Black pepper is also a high container of caffeine.
6)Black pepper loses it aroma and flavor when kept in sun, to maintain its aroma and taste keep it out of the sun and in an air tight container.
7)Black pepper was mostly eaten by riches in past, as it is said to be equivalent to gold and a man's wealth was measured by the amount of pepper he owned.
8)pepper gets its taste from the compound Peperine.
9)In Elizabethan times, pepper was sold by the individual grain, and guards on the London docks had their pockets sewn up so they couldn’t steal any spices.
10) In past peppercorns were also accepted as currency for dowries, rents and taxes.
11) Elias hasket derby, was the first american who became millionaire by importing black pepper.
BLACK PEPPER IN AYURVEDA
In Ayurveda as well black pepper holds its own importance as it is categorized as a healing spice. It is miraculous for human body when combined with long pepper and ginger.
It is a Ayurveda medicine for pacifying Kapha, helps pacify Vata and increases Pitta. it is orally used by women with amenorrohea to induce periods as well.
Black pepper Ayurvedic remedy
Ghee + Trikatu (Ginger, black pepper, long pepper)+ rock salt, black salt – Useful in vomiting due to increase in Vata Dosha.