Black pepper oil originated from India, China, and Madagascar and has been used for centuries in ancient medicine. The oil comes from the fruit of the woody vine Piper nigrum. Pepper was widely cultivated in the tropics of Southeast Asia, where it became highly regarded as a condiment. India and Europe traded pepper, with Venetians and Genoese becoming the major distributors in the Middle Ages. The plant is widely cultivated throughout Indonesia and has been introduced into tropical areas of Africa and of the Western Hemisphere.
The essential oil from black pepper is derived from the crushed fruit of the pepper vine through steam distillation. The essential oil is high in monoterpenes and sesquiterpenes, which are known for their antioxidant activity and ability to ward off environmental and seasonal threats.
Ancient Uses of Black Pepper
Ancient India regarded black pepper as “black gold” because of its high trade value, even using it as a currency at some point. Hippocrates diligently wrote about the importance of black pepper as a medicinal ingredient than a spice. In ancient Greek, the black pepper symbolized power and affluence and was used to gain political leverage. The economy of Florence and Venice relied heavily on black pepper trade, and it is said that wars even broke out in efforts to control its supply.
Benefits of Using Black Pepper Essential Oil
Black pepper, as an essential oil, has a musky, spicy, and warm aroma and can be inhaled, ingested, or applied topically. More than a spice, black pepper oil has a wide range of benefits.
Promotes good digestion
Black pepper oil improves hydrochloric acid secretion in the stomach. This aids digestion and prevents diarrhea and constipation. Black pepper oil is a healthier alternative to chili peppers and can be used for general consumption.
Creates a warming sensation
Because of its limonene constituent, black pepper oil creates a warm sensation when applied topically. On cold days, it can be added to lotion and rubbed on the hands and feet for a cozier feel. It can also be applied for a relaxing massage after an exhausting workout.
The warming anti-inflammatory and anti-spasmodic properties of black pepper oil makes it a soothing pain reliever for tired or injured muscles. As the oil improves blood circulation, it eases cramps, improves tendonitis, and relieves symptoms of arthritis and rheumatism.
Eliminates body toxins
By improving blood circulation, black pepper essential oil promotes sweating and urination. This aids the natural eliminatory system to remove excess fats, salt, water, urea, and uric acid, which is associated with joint pain, arthritis, and gout. Black pepper also improves glucose tolerance and liver function.
Black pepper essential oil is known to ease stress and anxiety. Its scent helps calm the nerves and relax muscles, which ultimately balances and improves mood. Black pepper essential oil also helps reduce anxiety, cravings, and withdrawal symptoms associated with smoking.
Prevents respiratory infections
Inhaling black pepper oil can help prevent viral infections such as cold and flu while helping clear up respiratory infections. It can also be applied to congested chest to help loosen mucus so it can be easily coughed out. The antibacterial, antifungal, and antimicrobial potency of black pepper oil makes it a splendid choice for green cleaning when blended with citrus oils.
Black pepper essential oil is full of antioxidants that protect the body from free radicals that cause aging and disease. Its warming quality helps black pepper essential oil improve circulation, which the boosts cell regeneration and collagen production. It reduces the appearance of lines and allows the skin to heal blemishes and bruises more quickly.
Stimulates the appetite
The unique peppery smell of black pepper essential oil helps stimulate the appetite. Taking a whiff activates the insula orbitofrontal cortex, which assists swallowing. This is particularly important for people who have suffered stroke or have difficulty swallowing.
Safety and Precaution Tips
Black pepper essential oil can be inhaled directly or diffused at home. It can be a warming and soothing massage when diluted with a carrier oil. It can also be added to meats, soups, entrees, and salads to enhance food and aid digestion.
However, black pepper oil can be a strong irritant and should be blended appropriately with a carrier oil before applying on the skin.
When using black pepper essential oils for aromatherapy, the space should be well ventilated.
Black pepper essential oils should be stored out of reach of children and pets.
Pregnant or breastfeeding women and those taking prescription medications should consult their doctors before using black pepper essential oils. It should also be applied away from the eyes, inner ears, and other sensitive areas.