Allspice is primarily used in condiments and as a culinary spice in different cuisines. Allspice berries are an ingredient in curry powder and are also used in mulled wine produced in many places. The allspice is said to possess a very potent aromatic taste, it is very popular as a warming cordial and is said to have a very sweet odour as well. Fractionally, the allspice oil is said to resemble the oil found in cloves, and this oil is sometimes used as an additive in some medicines - it is also utilized in perfuming soaps and other toiletries. Allspice was officially included in both the Pharmacopoeias of both the British Isles and the United States in former times. In the British Pharmacopoeia of 1898, both the oil of the Pimento and the Pimento Water were still officially listed. However, the Oil of the Pimento was finally deleted from the records of the British Pharmacopeia by 1914, at the same time, Pimento Water is still included in the British Pharmacopeia Codex of today. The United States Pharmacopoeia does not list the Pimento anymore; however, it was officially admitted to the National Formulary IV of the United States. Pimento is listed in the National Formulary IV of the United States as one of the principal ingredients in the Compound Tincture of Guaic. The action of the Pimento inside the body resembles the action of cloves; it is a potent aromatic stimulant and possesses a carminative effect on the gastrointestinal tract. The Pimento is mainly utilized as an additive in all kinds of tonics and purgatives - it is also used as an herbal flavoring agent in many culinary preparations. Pimento is also used in treating digestive disorders, the spirit and distilled water of the Pimento as well as the essential oil is very effective in treating cases of flatulent indigestion in patients, it is also used in treating hysterical paroxysms that affect some patients. Flatulence is easily rectified by giving a person about two or three drops of the essential oil in some sugar. The griping effect induced by some purgatives is corrected by giving the patient some of the essential pimento oil on sugar as well as mixed with pills. The essential oil of the Pimento was added to the Syrup of Buckthorn in former times to prevent the tendency to griping in some patients. The water of the Pimento - Aqua Pimentae - is often employed as a vehicle for many stomachic and purgative medications given to patients suffering from gastrointestinal problems. The Pimento water is made by using five parts of bruised Pimentos and adding this to two hundred parts of water - this mixture is then distilling down to hundred. A single dose of this water should ideally be about 1 to 2 fluid ounces per patient.
The allspice is found in the wild in the West Indies, it can be considered a native species of Jamaica, parts of Central America and some areas of Mexico. The allspice is now grown as a plantation crop in commercial plantations in many tropical and sub-tropical countries around the world, including South East Asian countries such as Indonesia and the Malay Peninsula. The herb grows best in hilly terrain on soils rich in limestone. The allspice tree can also be grown in greenhouses in colder temperate and northern zones - however, this herb does not flower in cold climates. The allspice tree is usually propagated in plantations using the seeds. These are collected only from the fruits of trees that have a high yield of berries annually. To get the seeds, the collected fruits are first subjected to soaking in water overnight, they are then rubbed and the seeds are slowly extracted by prying with a knife. Seeds collected in this manner are sown initially in nursery beds, in pots or in large basins to allow controlled germination of the seeds. The seed beds are normally mulched using dried leaves, straw, even paper or gunny bags to boost the germination rate. The normal time for the seeds to germinate ranges from nine to fifteen days. It is possible to propagate allspice vegetatively by means of artificial grafts, through budding techniques, by approach grafting techniques and by top working techniques. Allspice plants can also be propagated by using techniques based on tissue culture methods. The ideal time for field plantation of seedlings is when they are about six to ten months old. These seedlings are normally planted by spacing then at 6m x 6m distances, seedlings are sometimes planted even closer than this to each other. In the seed beds, each single hole will hold three seedlings; an individual hole is about 60cm� in size. To ensure proper pollination of the growing plants, the female to male plant ratio in any garden should ideally be 8:1. When these herbs are young, they require shade and regular irrigation to develop properly. It is also necessary to use manure and to mulch the seed beds at regular intervals, weeds may also need to be cleared from time to time. Insect pests of all types may also have to be eliminated and all necessary plant protection measures might need to be adopted if there is any threat of attack from the tea mosquito - Heliopeltis antonii spp. Allspice plants are also vulnerable to leaf spot disease induced by Cylindrocladium quinqueseptatum or even to leaf rot caused by Pestalotiopsis - if these diseases are noticed, it may be necessary to take precautionary measures to ensure the proper growth of the plants. Allspice berries are normally picked from the trees three to four months following the floral bloom, at this stage they are not fully ripe and are green. The collected berries are then spread out in the sun for drying for periods lasting three to twelve days before they are ground into spice. The raw berries turn from a fresh green to a dull reddish brown color as they are dried in the sun or in ovens. When shaken, the dried berries give off a crisp rattling sound. Dried berries are stored after they are cleaned by winnowing and then processed for commercial uses.
Allspice berries contain about 2 to 5 percent essential oil, the volume of oil present is dependent to a great degree on the time of harvest, and ripe fruits have a much lower content of the essential oil. The other principal components found in the berries, include compounds such as eugenol, eugenol methyl ether and different classes of terpenes - myrcene, 1, 8-cineol and ?-phellandrene are the most common terpenes. Jamaican allspice fruits have a eugenol content of 65 percent to 90 percent, and this compound is the primary chemical constituent of the oil. The compound methyl eugenol is found in lesser amounts at 10 percent, while the compound myrcene is found in trace amounts at just 1 percent. Mexican allspice berries on the other hand have the greatest volume of methyl eugenol at 50 to 60 percent with lesser amounts of the compound myrcene at 15 percent and eugenol at 10 percent. Smaller amounts of the essential oil are seen in the leaves of the allspice; however, the content of the essential oil in the leaves is high enough to make distillation profitable on a commercial basis. The chemical composition of the essential oil sourced from the leaves is similar to that found in the berries.
An ideal dose of the allspice is one to two capsules, taken twice daily with water before eating.