Black Pepper History:
Black pepper, or piper nigrum, originated in India and is one of the earliest spices used. It comes from the plant’s un-ripened berries which are cooked and dried to produce peppercorns.
Due to its reference in ancient writings, it is believed that black pepper was a very sought-after spice and the source of a profitable trade business. Legend recalls that traders would create wild stories about the immense difficulties they experienced along their trade routes in order to deter others from joining in the trade. Black pepper became so costly that it was considered a luxury item, and was even used as currency, thought to be more valuable than gold. At the time, pepper was not used as much for its spice value, yet instead in medicinal preparations.
Pepper was carried through Indonesia and Malaysia, and eventually spread from east to west. Once it became more widely available, prices came down and the average person was able to obtain it.
Black Pepper Uses:
Black pepper has numerous medicinal purposes and has been used to aid in many ailments in ancient cultures. Research shows that it enhances digestion and may even have antioxidant effects by protecting against free radicals. It has been shown to increase the absorption of therapeutic drugs in some instances and have anti-cancer properties.