Fruit, essential oil.
The stimulating effect of the black pepper on the human digestive tract and circulatory system can be inferred from its familiar sharp taste, it can be used as a stimulant. Used by itself or as a part of some herbal remedies in combination with other well known herbs and spices, the black pepper is often used to warm the body, and to help in improving the performance of the digestive system, by stimulating its functioning, it is also used in the treatment of other disorders such as nausea, to treat all kinds of stomachache, to treat abdominal flatulence and abdominal bloating, it is also used in the treatment of constipation, and to treat people with a lack of appetite. As an herbal remedy, the essential oil from the black pepper is used to reduce the symptoms associated with rheumatic pain and to treat the painful sensations associated with toothaches and other dental problems. The black pepper based herbal remedies are also known to have antiseptic and antibacterial actions, and they are used in bringing about a reduction in the temperature of fever affected individuals. Plants that are related to the black pepper vine such as the cubeb berries, which produces pepper like fruits closely akin in shape to the cubeb pepper, or the P. cubeba, also possess many beneficial chemical compounds which have seen commercial utilization as natural antiseptics, as herbal carminatives, and as diuretics for the treatment of different disorders and conditions. In the tropical countries where they grow, these peppers are also smoked as additives to cigarettes, after they have been ground down into powder form, the smoke is said to bring relief from throat inflammations affecting patients. In addition to this use, several throat relieving lozenges also contain the essential oil of the cubeb as an important constituent.
Many tropical regions of the world are now under cultivation with the black pepper, this herb itself is indigenous to the south-western corner of the Indian subcontinent - where it has been used for centuries as a common spice. Harvesting of the pepper fruit is normally carried out only from plants that are more than three old as such plants give the best peppers. Different processes are used to make a variety of products, for example, the green and raw peppercorns are sometimes picked and pickled, while to make the black peppercorns, the pepper is still picked before ripening and then it is dried and processes as mentioned before. The red colored and ripened peppercorns are picked fully ripe and then dried to make pepper, while for the manufacture of white pepper, the peppercorns are picked when they are ripe and the peppers are then soaked in some water for a period of eight days before they are put to dry and eventually processed as mentioned previously.
Black pepper contains a volatile oil (including beta-bisabolene, camphene, beta-caryophyllene, and many other terpenes and sesquiterpenes), up to 9% alkaloids (especially pipperine, largely responsible for the herb's acrid taste), about 11 % proteins, and small amounts of minerals. White pepper contains very little volatile oil.
The main compound found in the black pepper is the chemical substance called pipperine, this extract is processed out of the pepper and used in a variety of products, the value of the pepper as a spice in fact lies largely because of the content of pipperine - this compound gives the black pepper its distinctive flavor and aroma. For this reason, the black pepper was one of the most highly prized spices throughout the ancient world. The pepperine compound is the agent that gives the pepper its distinctive "hot" flavor and taste, one remarkable property of this naturally occurring compound in the pepper is its ability to titillate the sense buds, and essentially turn what is very bland food into a flavorful repast - this is the power of spices. Pipperine is useful in many ways aside from its main role as the active flavoring agent in the pepper. Thus, scientists believe that this compound could influence metabolism in the human body, it may have some beneficial abilities on the whole metabolic process. In the human body, at any given time, the absorption of different nutrients differs depending to a large extent on the efficiency with which the body breaks down and utilizes the food and ingested supplements in the diet of the person. For example, on an average, older individuals tend to have a greater difficulty in absorbing the nutrients and the supplements in the diet; this is due to the age related reduction in the production of stomach acids and the varied digestive enzymes so important to metabolism. The absorption rate of various essential minerals and vital vitamins is also at times, retarded or blocked by the different compounds present in the most common kinds o foods, such as the mineral zinc, the presence of phytic acid in cereal, and the compound caffeine in coffee - these substances can inhibit the absorption rate of other compound important to the body. This problem can be complicated further in individuals who are on a long term low fat diet plan; as such people at times cannot absorb the fat-soluble vitamins including the important vitamins A, E, and D from the diet due to the total absence of fatty compounds in the meal. The absorption rate of nutrients in the body can be markedly improved by the use of pepperine as has been demonstrated in various studies. It has shown the presence of this compound can insure that a greater part of the essential nutrients required by various tissues will reach those target tissues. A group of healthy volunteers took part in a study, in which each of them was given 5 mg of a pepperine dose every day of the trial, along with this dose, selected nutrients and supplements, such as the compound beta-carotene, the mineral selenium, and the vitamin B6 were given daily. In all the controlled test subjects, it was found that the total blood levels of the compound beta-carotene had increased by at least 60 percent in two weeks of such treatment; this was compared to almost no increase in the levels of beta-carotene in test subjects who were not given pepperine. The relevance of the study can be understood from the fact that within a few hours following the dose of the pipperine, in the test subjects, the blood levels of the mineral selenium and the vitamin B6 were seen to be much higher in test subjects than in the placebo group. Side effects were not reported in any of participants who took pipperine - attesting to the safety of the compound.