Black pepper (Piper nigrum L.) is a widely used spice in human diets for culinary and food applications. Black pepper and its extract are also used as an ingredient for nutraceuticals, pharmaceuticals and cosmetics in many countries. Black pepper is native to Western Ghats of South India though grown and cultivated in more than 26 countries. Harvesting of pepper at the appropriate maturity stage is essential to produce high quality pepper. The pepper spikes are hand-picked when one or two of the berries on the spike begin to turn yellow/orange and the berries are firm.
After harvest the pepper berries are removed from the stems either manually or mechanically using a mechanical thresher. The pepper berries are then blanched in hot water for about 10 minutes which causes them to turn dark brown or black in about an hour after blanching. Blanching accelerates the drying and browning of the berries. Blanching also minimises microbial contamination and thus gives a more hygienic product.Learn more
Black pepper has been used in traditional Chinese and Indian medicine to treat a variety of diseases, including fever, tuberculosis, leukaemia, sleeping problems, respiratory tract infections, chronic gut-related pain, and arthritic conditions.
Piperine has been shown to protect against oxidative damage by inhibiting or quenching free radicals and reactive oxygen. It also protects against oxidation of human low density lipoprotein.