Black pepper has so many amazing gifts!
#1 It’s warming and spicy!
Black pepper is spicy (pungent), acrid, and drying. It warms things up! If you bite into a whole peppercorn, you will feel these warming qualities on your tongue. If you eat a meal with lots of black pepper, you’ll feel that warming sensation spread through your core. It’s also a stimulant, helping to move stuck and stagnant fluids of the body. It can stimulate the production and movement of mucus in the lungs and sinuses. It can also quicken circulation by increasing blood vessel size and has historically been used for signs of stagnant circulation and arthritis that is worse with cold and dampness.
#2 Promotes Healthy Digestion
Many people add black pepper to their meals simply because they enjoy the flavor. But black pepper has long intentionally been added to meals for the greater benefit of supporting healthy digestion, especially meals of heavy and/or rich foods like beef and other red meats.
Its warming and stimulating properties have a gentle stimulating and laxative effect and can be especially beneficial for those with signs of cold or stagnant digestion. Signs of cold and stagnant digestion include feeling cold, feeling heavy after meals (especially in the stomach), having a thick coating on the tongue, and experiencing slow transit time.
#3 Increases Bioavailability (So cool!!!)
Perhaps most amazing is black pepper’s power to increase the bioavailability of our herbs and foods. In other words, adding a bit of black pepper to herbal formulas or to our dinner plate means that we are going to better digest and extract the nutrients and other constituents in the food or medicine.
An article in the International Journal of Recent Advances in Pharmaceutical Research reports that black pepper acts as a circulatory stimulant by increasing the size of blood vessels, which helps to better transport nutrients around the body. It modulates the physical properties of cell membranes, which helps to transport nutrients through barriers. It also produces a thermogenic (warming) effect in the gastrointestinal tract, which increases blood supply to the area. This scientific description is simply another way of speaking about the warming and stimulating qualities of black pepper!
Black pepper is also used for cold and flu symptoms to modulate the immune system and is being studied for its promising effects against cancer cells.
Black pepper is also commonly added to herbal formulas as a catalyst, to increase their effectiveness.
Since black pepper dramatically increases the bioavailability of many nutrients, it is suggested to have it freshly ground onto every meal you eat. As a result, pepper is probably one of the most commonly used herb!