Piper nigrum

Black Pepper

Piper nigrum

Black Pepper

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.

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Traditional Health Benefits of Black Pepper

Foundational Support, Digestive Support, Brain & Cognitive Support, Immune Support

What is Black Pepper Used for?

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 and circulation of blood 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 most formulations that contain Turmeric. Modern research has found that Black Pepper also provides its own foundational support similar to turmeric, and may aid cognitive function*.

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Active Constituents of Black Pepper

volatile oil (terpenes limonene, beta-caryophyllene, beta-pinene, limonene, eugenol), oleoresins, alkaloids (piperine, chavicine, piperidine); vitamins A and K, calcium, magnesium, potassium, manganese, phosphorous, beta-carotene; lignans, flavones and flavonol glycosides (quercetin, kaempferol, isoquercetin), alkamides

Parts Used


Additional Resources

Shoba G, Joy D, Joseph T, Majeed M, Rajendran R, Srinivas PS. Influence of piperine on the pharmacokinetics of curcumin in animals and human volunteers. Planta Med. 1998 May;64(4):353-6. Bajad S, Bedi KL, Singla AK, Johri RK. Planta Med. 2001, 67: 176-179. Srinivsan K. Black pepper and its pungent principle – piperine: a review of diverse physiological effects. Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr. 2007. 47(8):735-748. Lund, Kaleb C., Pantuso, Traci. Combination Effects of Quercetin, Resveratrol and Curcumin on In Vitro Intestinal Absorption. Journal of Restorative Medicine. 2014 April (3) 1. Butt M, Pasha I, Sultan M, Randhawa A, Saeed F, & Ahmed W. Black pepper and health claims: A comprehensive treatise. Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition, 53:9, 875-886.

Important Precautions

Not for use during pregnancy or lactation. If you have a medical condition or take pharmaceutical drugs please consult your doctor prior to use. Piperine may also enhance absorption and bioavailability of other pharmaceutical drugs.


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.

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