Black pepper corns in a dish

Fresh black pepper corns

Spices play a critical role in food production, both for taste and medicinal purposes. Knowing which spices assist in what situations can help us be better cooks, but also can help us as we use food as medicine. Let’s take a look at pepper!

Pepper is a wonderful spice that has been used for many thousands of years. It comes in many colors as whole peppercorns which are then ground or powdered for table use. As with any food, it has the most nutrition when used immediately after harvest. Using whole peppercorns that are ground on the spot is optimal for medicinal values. 

Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition says, “Black pepper (Piper Nigrum L.) is an important healthy food owing to its antioxidant, antimicrobial potential and gastro-protective modules.” In fact, they explain black pepper as an, “Antioxidant, antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, gastro-protective, and antidepressant activities.”

They go on to say, “The free-radical scavenging activity of black pepper and its active ingredients might be helpful in chemoprevention and controlling progression of tumor growth. Additionally, the key alkaloid components of Piper Nigrum, that is, piperine assist in cognitive brain functioning, boost nutrient’s absorption and improve gastrointestinal functionality.”

In another publication, years later, Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition found, “Piperine, while it is non-genotoxic, has in fact been found to possess anti-mutagenic and anti-tumor influences. Dietary piperine, stimulat(es) the digestive enzymes of (the) pancreas, enhances the digestive capacity and significantly reduces the gastrointestinal food transit time.”

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They specifically found piperine assisted in situations of oxidative stress, lowered lipid peroxidation, beneficially influenced cellular thiol levels, anti-mutagenic and anti-tumor influences. They also credit piperine with, “Increased absorption as a result of its effect on the ultrastructure of intestinal brush border.”

The Indian Journal of Pharmacology reported a study on rats which found, “Supplementing piperine significantly reduced not only body weight, triglyceride, total cholesterol, LDL, VLDL, and fat mass, but also increased the HDL levels, with no change in food intake.”

The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of The United States of America reported a study saying, “Administration of piperine to mice during caloric restriction had no effect on a series of parameters. The main effect of piperine appears to be to mitigate fat gain during caloric overload.”

They also reported, “Rodents fed high-fat and glucose diets for extended periods have higher blood glucose levels and show insulin resistance. Addition of piperine to their diets lowers levels of blood glucose and insulin. Piperine also improves the rate of glucose removal in a glucose tolerance test. Piperine has many of the qualities that would be required for any compound to be useful as a therapeutic treatment for metabolic diseases in humans. It is well tolerated at high doses in rodents, with no obvious side effects.”

The Pakistan Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences reported a study of black pepper and bacteria. Bacteria was removed from the oral cavities of 200 people, isolating 176 bacterial isolates. They found, “Aqueous decoction of black pepper exhibited 75% antibacterial activity.”

Arthritis Research & Therapy reported a study which was looking for connections to mitigation of rhumatoid arthritis and arthritis. They found remarkable effects of piperine on the joints reporting, “These results suggest that piperine has anti-inflammatory, antinociceptive, and antiarthritic effects in an arthritis animal model.”

Pepper can be an amazing medicinal support for a healthful diet. It has many benefits that are simply a tool in the toolbox, where a person can take control of their own health. Click here for a quality forms of pepper. 

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*Nourishing Plot is written by Becky Plotner, ND, traditional naturopath, CGP, D.PSc. who sees clients in Rossville, Georgia. She is a Board Certified Naturopathic Doctor, through The American Naturopathic Medical Association and works as a Certified GAPS Practitioner who sees clients in her office, Skype and phone. She has been published in Wise Traditions, spoken at two Weston A. Price Conferences, Certified GAPS Practitioner Trainings, has been on many radio shows, television shows and writes for Nourishing Plot. She serves on the GAPS Board of Directors and has recently been named “The GAPS Expert” by Dr. Natasha and will serve teaching other Certified GAPS Practitioners proper use of the GAPS protocol. Since her son was delivered from the effects of autism (Asperger’s syndrome), ADHD, bipolar disorder/manic depression, hypoglycemia and dyslexia, through food, she continued her education specializing in Leaky Gut and parasitology through Duke University, finishing with distinction. She is a Chapter Leader for The Weston A. Price Foundation. [email protected]

“GAPS™ and Gut and Psychology Syndrome™ are the trademark and copyright of Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride. The right of Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride to be identified as the author of this work has been asserted by her in accordance with the Copyright, Patent and Designs Act 1988.




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