The dried fruit of Black Pepper (Piper nigrum) has long been used as a culinary spice and as a traditional medicine, and today it is ubiquitous in most cuisines. Black Pepper is made from the plant’s unripened green drupes (stone fruit), which are called “peppercorns.” They are briefly boiled and dried or cooked. Native to southern and southeast Asia, Black Pepper’s use in Indian cooking dates to the first century BC, and it became popular across Europe during the Roman Empire. In ancient Greece, it was so valued that it was used as currency. The active constituent called Piperine is what gives Black Pepper its pungency.
In Ayurveda, Black Pepper is a very common herb. It is traditionally considered to be a hot, pungent herb that stimulates agni, or digestive fire, by supporting the secretion of fluids in the GI tract.*
Black Pepper’s most active constituent, Piperine, has been found to support the absorption of other herbs, specifically the Curcumins found in Turmeric, as well as Resveratrol.* One study found that combining Turmeric and Black Pepper increased the bioavailability of Turmeric by 154% versus Turmeric alone.* Piperine appears to support the inter-cellular permeability and uptake of Curcumins.* This active component works by supporting gastrointestinal transit, which promotes absorption.* According to research, Curcumins’ bioavailability is supported when combined with additional polyphenols and herbs.* This is why Gaia Herbs includes Black Pepper in all formulations that contain Turmeric.
Uses of Black Pepper
This information in our Herbal Reference Guide is intended only as a general reference for further exploration, and is not a replacement for professional health advice. This content does not provide dosage information, format recommendations, toxicity levels, or possible interactions with prescription drugs. Accordingly, this information should be used only under the direct supervision of a qualified health practitioner such as a naturopathic physician.