Botanical: Piper nigrum
Family: Piperaceae (Pepper)
Other common names: Black Pepper, Green Pepper, Piper, Piper Album
White Pepper is a warming, aromatic spice and digestive aid that peps up our foods and peps up the health of the digestive tract, providing heartburn relief and easing flatulence, nausea, indigestion and constipation.
The information presented herein by Herbal Extracts Plus is intended for educational purposes only. These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA and are not intended to diagnose, cure, treat or prevent disease. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplements, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.
White Peppercorns are the mature berries of the Pepper vine, from which the outer covering has been removed. The Pepper vine is indigenous to India and Asia may reach ten feet in height and thrives as a crop in rich, well-drained soil in light shade and high humidity. The fruit clusters are picked ripe and retted (soaked) for eight days, so that their outer hulls are easily removed, and then dried. White Peppercorns, as well as Black and Green are actually the same fruit and come from the same plant (Piper nigrum); the difference in color simply reflects the various stages of development and processing methods (there is another, pink pepper, that is an entirely different species related to ragweed). It is important to note that P. nigrum is the true Pepper and should not be confused with paprika, cayenne, chili peppers, red peppers or bell peppers, which are fruits from the capsicum family. Black Peppercorns are picked when they are half ripe, dried (at which time they darken) and then ground; they are said to be the hottest, most pungent and sharp. Green Peppercorns are the immature (while still green) berries that are preserved (usually in brine) and have a milder flavor. The very mature berries of White Pepper have a less subtle, biting flavor with a mildly fermented, musty aroma. Pepper has been an important medicine and commercial spice since antiquity. It was mentioned in Sanskrit literature three thousand years ago, and in ancient Greece and Rome, it was not only used as a spice, but was also considered an offering to the gods and used as currency to pay taxes and ransoms. In the Middle Ages, a man's wealth was often determined by his accumulation of Pepper. It served as a condiment to flavor food, and its pungency also disguised decaying meats before food was efficiently preserved. Several cities owe their economic development to the commercial trade in Pepper, including Venice and Genoa. Europeans revered Pepper as a seasoning, medicine, digestive tract stimulant and currency to pay rent, dowries and taxes, and the need for Pepper was one impetus for Spanish exploration in the fifteenth century. Today, Pepper is grown in India , Indonesia, Malaysia, West Indies and Brazil, but the major commercial producers are India and Indonesia. Some of the constituents in White Pepper include starch, the important piperine, volatile oil and oleoresin.
White Pepper is a warming, aromatic stimulant that promotes the health of the digestive tract and facilitates the digestive process, easing heartburn, nausea, indigestion and dyspepsia.
As a carminative, White Pepper, is believed to help prevent the formation of intestinal gas and irritation. It is also believed to relieve constipation.
White Pepper is thought to combat unfriendly 'gut' bacteria that produces diarrhea, and it is also used in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) to treat food poisoning, stomach chills, cholera and dysentery. It has also been used to treat gonorrhea.
In a 2008 study at King’s College, London, British researchers claimed that piperine, the compound found in Piper nigrum (mostly in Black) helped stimulate pigmentation in the skin of people with vitiligo. The researchers said that the piperine was particularly effective when combined with phototherapy treatment using ultraviolet radiation and could lead to better treatments for the disfiguring skin condition that affects about one percent of the world’s population.
Currently, there are no warnings or contraindications with the use of White Pepper.