Black pepper belongs to the family Piperaceae. It is a native of tropical India and is cultivated in many tropical regions. Vietnam is the world’s largest producer and exporter of black pepper. Black pepper is dried and used as a spice. Table salt and the black pepper are the most commonly seen things in every dinner table in our world. A spice is a spice and it must be used in small quantities. It is not there to use in excess. Pepper chicken or pepper steak is prepared with the immature black peppercorns, the green peppercorns.

The health benefits include:

• Improves digestion by increasing the production of hydrochloric acid in the stomach
• Gives relief in gas problems
• Alleviates constipation
• Increases appetite
• Anti-bacterial effect
• Has powerful antioxidant effect
• Helps free radical scavenging, thus can have anticancer effects
• Helps to treat vitiligo, a skin disease that cause areas of the skin to lose their pigment
• Improves the absorption of nutrients
• Has antidepressant properties
• Gives relief from cold and cough, used in Ayurveda to treat these health problems

With all the above mentioned positive health effects, black pepper is still a spice and should be used in small quantities to achieve these benefits. The dose makes the poison and so excess black pepper can have risks to our health.

The possible health risks include:

• Production of excess hydrochloric acid
• Production of excess pepsin
• Loss of potassium
• Mucosal micro bleeding in the intestine
• There are contradictory reports about piperine, the alkaloid present in black pepper. It may be anticancer or cancer promoter. More research must be done on this.

Patients who had abdominal surgery must avoid black pepper in food because of the irritating effects of it on the intestines. People who have ulcer must also avoid black pepper.

As a spice, in small quantities, it is good for all. Avoid excess use. I like pepper very much and use it regularly without any problem.