Black pepper

Black pepper (Piper nigrum) is a widely used culinary spice, found in most freshly prepared meals.Usually paired with salt, and a staple at most dinner tables in Australia, black pepper also has medicinal qualities.Black pepper.1

Medicinally, black pepper is frequently used for relieving respiratory congestion, caused by coughs, colds and other conditions which produce excess mucous. In addition to its circulation stimulating properties, black pepper has been found to accelerate metabolism, increasing thermogenesis (heat production) and has also been found to stimulate serotonin production in the brain. It has analgesic and anti-bacterial effects and can be used to treat toothache.


In rats fed a high fat diet, the administration of black pepper was found to significantly reduce oxidative damage and inflammatory markers. Researchers were able to show that with ongoing pepper supplementation, they were able to reduce these markers to near normal levels (or that of the control group fed a normal diet). [1]

Another study investigated the antioxidant effects of black pepper and how it may help to treat/prevent Alzheimers disease. It was found that administration of black pepper significantly increased working memory, memory performance and displayed antioxidant activity .[2]

Other studies to date have also showed black pepper to have anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer activity, believed to be the result of its down-regulation of inflammatory cytokines (cell-signalling molecules) and reduction of cell proliferation (uncontrolled cell growth)associated with cancer development.

Culinary uses

Black pepper is used widely in all types of cooking. It gives a nice little kick to salads, sandwiches, gravy, dips and pates. It’s a great addition to warming winter soups, stews and casseroles, goes well with all kinds of meat and can be added to roast vegetables. Black pepper is so versatile, it can be added to almost anything!


[1] Vijayakumar, R. S et al. Antioxidant efficacy of black pepper (Piper nigrum L.) and piperine in rats with high fat diet induced oxidative stress. Redox Rep. 2004;9(2):105-10

[2] Hritcu, L et al. Methanolic extract of Piper nigrum fruits improves memory impairment by decreasing oxidative stress in amyloid beta rat model of Alzheimer’s disease. Cell Mol Neurobiol. 2014 Apr;34(3):437-49