A useful spice to aid digestion and metabolism
From a particular processing of the fruits of Piper nigrum, a plant of the Piperaceae family originating in India, we obtain the spice we know as black pepper. Black pepper is produced from the unripe fruits of Piper nigrum which are blanched and left to dry in the sun for about 10 days: in this way the peppercorns dehydrate, blacken and assume the typical wrinkled appearance
Not recommended in cases of gastritis, ulcers or hemorrhoids because it irritates the mucous membranes.
The use of black pepper is also widespread for external use: the piperine it contains seems to be effective in combating vitiligo, in wellness centres it is used in eudermic treatments and for muscle and relaxing massages, while a bath with black pepper essence stimulates sweating and contributes to detoxing the body.
In popular imagination, pepper represents witiness and liveliness so much so that talking about a person who is "all pepper" emphasises their lively and biting character while "responding with salt and pepper" means to create controversy or to show determination to assert oneself.
Today the most widespread spice in European cuisine, black pepper, with its spicy and aromatic flavour, was already appreciated in Ancient Egypt, so much so that some peppercorns were found in the tombs of the Pharaohs. Known in Greece before the 4th century BC and recommended by Hippocrates combined with vinegar and honey for menstrual pains, in the Roman Empire it became synonymous with wealth and a trading commodity. Apicius included this spice in almost all the recipes of his De re coquinaria and it seems that during the siege of Rome both the Huns and the Visigoths asked for huge quantities of pepper in exchange for the salvation of the city.
Piperine, the alkaloid contained in pepper, makes the spice stimulating, tonic and stomachic and, by stimulating the secretion of gastric juices, facilitates the digestive process and it facilitates the absorption of nutrients by taking maximum advantage of ingested food.
Even in case of contusions, black pepper can be a good natural remedy to remove the swelling and reduce the pain with cold compresses.