Black Pepper (Piper nigrum)
Location: Pepper is cultivated mainly in India and Malaysia.
Extraction: Steam distilled from the ripe peppercorns.
Colour and Odour: The essential oil is colourless with a strong penetrating, sharp and spicy middle note and an unexpectedly refined, warm aroma unlike the spice itself.
Description: A climbing vine with dark green leaves, white flowers and red berries, growing to about 6 metres. Originally a forest plant, now widely cultivated on supports reaching up to a maximum of 3.5 metres for convenience. The spice is available as white or black pepper.
Background: Pepper is probably the earliest known spice and was highly regarded and prized. It was very popular with the Romans and the Greeks. Later the European powers fought over its monopoly, the Portuguese and Dutch having the most influence over the spice islands of the East. As a spice, pepper is amongst the most important in the world.
Properties: Warming, circulatory stimulant, expectorant, antispasmodic.
Precaution: This oil is best used in a lower concentration as it may cause irritation in sensitive people.
Circulatory System-Pepper's ability to increase the circulation makes it helpful for people with cold limbs.
Muscular System-Pepper is very useful for rheumatic pains.
Respiratory System-Good remedy for colds and flu. The warming and expectorant action on the respiratory system promptly clears mucus. It brings on a sweat and can be helpful in the first shivery stages of a cold or flu.
Digestive System-Valuable for sluggish digestion. Pepper's antispasmodic action soothes the gut and restores tone to lax muscles of the colon. Can help ease constipation caused by the cold or by cold weather conditions.