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Aromatherapy
Black Pepper

Piper nigrum

Black pepper (botanical name Piper nigrum) is a blossoming vine belonging to the Piperaceae family. Black pepper clings to tall trees for shade as well as support. This plant is grown for its fruit that is generally dried and used for culinary as well as medicinal purposes. This species is indigenous to India and presently widely grown in other tropical regions of the world. Generally, the reddish spines of undeveloped berries are collected and put out to dry in the sun. When dried, the color of the berries changes from red to black. While the major part of black pepper is used as spice, only a small portion is used to prepare essential oil. Singapore is the commercial hub for making black pepper essential oil. The oil is distilled on the spot in places, such as Comorro and Nossi Be islands of the nation. These places usually produce superior quality of black pepper essential oil. This oil has a greenish-yellow hue and a pungent smell.

Basically, black pepper is a spice that is widely used all over the world to add essence to food. In fact, it is very popular worldwide and used in cooking. Black pepper has a hot flavour and also has a pleasant appetizing scent. In fact, black pepper is a dried out fruit of the pepper plant.

Long back, black pepper was regarded as something blessed and was also used as coinage. In fact, black pepper was such a prized commodity that it was used to exchange with gold - in those days, value of gold was much less compared to black pepper. It was a valuable commodity that was exported from India to other countries of the world. Chemical analysis of black pepper essential oil has revealed that it encloses chemical substances, such as alpha termineol, beta bisabolene, beta caryophyllene, camphene, linalol, limonene, myrcene, pinene, phellandrene, pinocarveol, sabinene and alpha terpenene. In addition to these substances, black pepper essential oil also has high concentration of essential minerals as well as vitamins. While it contains minerals like iron, calcium, manganese, phosphorus, selenium and potassium, the vitamins enclosed by this essential oil include vitamin K and vitamin A.

The essential oil obtained from black pepper possesses the aptitude to stimulate the mind and emotions and facilitates enhancement of stamina and aid awareness. This essential oil is also recommended to help in augmenting concentration and treating memory loss. In addition, black pepper is also known to act as an aphrodisiac.

Black pepper essential oil is said to be an excellent remedy for treating as well as preventing cold and flu. Add a few drops of black pepper essential oil to jojoba, and use it for a chest massage or rubbing on the feet during the cold and flu season and it will not only help to heat up the body, but also encourage blood circulation and boost up the immune system. This essential oil possesses analgesic (pain killing) as well as rubifacient (warming) properties, which makes it an important ingredient in massage oils used by sportspersons for treating throbbing muscles, aches and stiffness.

People suffering from nausea will benefit if they inhale black pepper essential oil. Take a tissue paper and put a couple of drops of this oil and breathe in its hot and balmy fragrance for one or two minutes. It will provide relief from nausea. According to the findings of a few researches, inhaling black pepper essential oil helps people desiring to quit smoking. In addition, the essential oil extracted from black pepper also possesses anti-inflammatory properties. As a result of this property, using this oil promotes blood circulation and also helps to generate warmth. It is known to be an effective remedy for chronic inflammation in body parts that are not warm or have a stiff and rigid sensation.

Black pepper essential oil is also effective in treating flatulence and constipation and stimulates the digestive system. If you are enduring any of the above mentioned problems, simply add a few drops of this essential oil to a suitable lotion and massage the blend on your tummy to get relief from flatulence, constipation as well as encourage digestion. It is important that this oil need to be used in a watered down state of one per cent, for instance, five to six drops of the oil for every ounce of the carrier oil.

Health advantages of black pepper essential oil

As discussed above, the essential oil extracted from black pepper possesses numerous health benefits. It is used to treat as well as prevent various medical conditions. Below is a brief discussion on the condition specific use of this valuable essential oil.

Digestive
Black pepper essential oil possesses the properties to diminish flatulence by expelling gas formed in the stomach and intestines and, hence, it is exceptionally useful to ease digestion. In fact, this essential oil invigorates the entire digestive system - beginning from the salivary glands in the mouth to the large intestine. Its usage encourages discharge of digestive juices, such as acids and bile, into the foods consumed and, in doing so, helps in digestion. This essential oil or the dried black pepper fruit is safe for use, as it does not result in any adverse side effects. In fact, black pepper can be used for seasoning foods for people who are on a plain diet or have been suggested to avoid chilies. It needs to be mentioned here that people suffering from ulcers in the mouth or any other part of the digestive system are advised not to consume chilies. Chilies are also prohibited for people suffering from jaundice.
Anti-Spasmodic
The essential oil extracted from black pepper also possesses anti-spasmodic properties and, hence, is extremely effective in providing relief when one is enduring cramps, muscle pulls, convulsions, spasms and other such problems.
Carminative
Black pepper essential oil possesses carminative properties, which means that it is an effective remedy to prevent formation of gas in the stomach as well as the intestines. In addition, this essential oil also helps in expelling the gas formed in the stomach and bowels and relieves flatulence and bloating. Most importantly, black pepper essential oil also slows down the development of bacteria that are to be blamed for the formation of gas.
Diaphoretic and Diuretic
While both these terms refer to the same thing - possessing the aptitude to encourage perspiration or sweating and urination, they are also different in some ways. Nevertheless, both these attributes actually have an important role in our well being as they help to get rid of the toxic substances and wastes from our body. When black pepper essential oil is used internally it performs this function, thereby, cleaning our system and the skin pores and, at the same time, helping in eliminating surplus water and fat from the body through perspiration and urination. In turn, sweating as well as urination also helps in reducing unwanted body weight. Those keen to loose a few extra pounds may try black pepper essential oil, it will prove to be beneficial. Simultaneously, the diaphoretic and diuretic properties of black pepper essential oil also help to lower high blood pressure or hypertension and facilitate the body to relax. By keeping the skin pores clean or open, black pepper essential oil helps to disinfect the body. Last, but not the least, the diaphoretic and diuretic properties of black pepper essential oil also facilitate in lessening inflammation.
Aperient
Black pepper essential oil also possesses mild laxative and purgative effects and is said to be safer for use compared to castor oil. This property of the oil facilitates in cleansing the intestines as well as heals contagions in the digestive systems. It also helps to cure infections of the excretory tract.
Antioxidant
Black pepper essential oil also possesses antioxidant properties and, hence, its use always safeguards the body from the harms caused by oxidants or free radicals. In addition, this attribute of the oil also helps to repair the body organs. This essential oil also postpones the unfavourable 'side effects' of aging, including macular degeneration, loss of vision as well as slackening of muscles, wrinkles on the skin, nervous disorders, memory loss, lack of mobility of joints and other problems.
Anti-bacterial
This essential oil also has anti-bacterial properties. Black pepper essential oil is widely used to treat bacterial infections in organs, such as the mouth, digestive system, colon, urinary tract and others. When added to foods as a spice, black pepper essential oil also prevents food from bacterial infections for prolonged periods. In fact, it helps to enhance the shelf live of some food.
Anti-rheumatic and Anti-arthritic
These two properties of the black pepper essential oil are, perhaps, its best and most useful attributes. These two properties of black pepper essential oil helps it to warm, stimulate as well as boost up the blood circulation providing instant respite in arthritis and rheumatism - applying this oil topically on the effected areas helps to alleviate pain. This is all the more effective during the winters when the symptoms of arthritis and rheumatism worsen. In addition, black pepper essential oil also aids in getting rid of toxins, such as uric acid, from the bloodstream. This helps people who are suffering from chronic arthritis, rheumatism, gout and other such conditions.
Additional benefits
In addition to the health advantages provided by black pepper essential oil mentioned above, this oil encloses rich amounts of essential minerals and vitamins. For instance, this oil also contains vitamin A, which is extremely useful for ocular health and also an excellent antioxidant. This essential oil also contains vitamin K, which is necessary for sustaining appropriate blood circulation as well as metabolic activities and maintaining the muscles, bones and other body parts. The valuable minerals enclosed by this essential oil include potassium, calcium and a trace mineral known as selenium. As is well known, calcium is beneficial for the bones, while potassium helps in controlling blood pressure. Selenium, on the other hand, is basically needed for appropriate development of the bones, nails, teeth, follicles, hair as well as the proper performance of the brain.

General properties

  • stimulant
  • stomachic
  • vulnerary
  • warming

Blends well with

General uses

Precaution

Caution needs to be exercised while using the essential oil obtained from black pepper. Always water down or dilute this essential oil before use to avoid skin irritation. In addition, black pepper essential oil is very potent primarily enclosing sesquiterpenes (any of specific type of terpene whose molecules enclose one and a half times as many atoms as a normal terpene) and, hence, it needs to be used in small doses. Apart from causing skin irritation, black pepper essential oil may also result in irritation and invigorate the kidneys when used in excessive amounts. In fact, using this essential oil in high doses may also cause damage to the skin. Like in the case of using any essential oil, additional precaution needs to be taken while using black pepper essential oil. It should never be used without consulting any professional aromatherapist or one who is familiar with the use of essential oils.

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