The History of Black Pepper (Piper Nigrum) and Its Uses


First discovered growing naturally in the beautiful lands of South Asia, Black Pepper, (also known as Kali Mirch) is derived from the Piper Nigrum, a flowering vine from the Piperaceae family of plants. The Peppercorn itself is derived from the fruit grown on these plants, which grow in bunches like grapes but form a cluster shape very much like an actual pepper. They are around 5mm in diameter, red in colour and each contain a single seed. This fruit is cultivated for the peppercorn seeds inside which are dried out and of course mainly used as spice and seasoning in many dishes throughout the world. It is now grown and cultivated in Vietnam, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Malaysia and the West coast of India where it originates.

Evidence of its use can be found all the way back to ancient Egypt, found stuffed in the nostrils of Ramesses the second dating back to over 3000 years ago. No one even knows today how it got there from as far as South Asia and what they actually used it for but it definitely would have been a precious commodity to them! Found also in Greece as early as 400 BCE, again this would have been a rare and expensive commodity.

India being its primary source, the country was famous for its export of this precious black commodity. The lost port city of Muziris was particularly well known and recorded in historical sources for its export in black pepper. They were often referred to as black gold and extremely high valued and sought after, it was used as a form of currency. Even in legal systems a term was even coined from it known as ‘peppercorn rent’ (a token of payment for something of value). The plant and the seeds history around the world go hand in hand, the Romans imported both the fruit and seed which they called Piper. It was so valuable during this period that when Rome was besieged in the fifth century by the Visigoth King that sacked the city and heralded the decline of Rome, he demanded 3000 pounds as part of the ransom!

They were massively popular until chili peppers were discovered around the time America was found, mainly because these were much easier to grow and cultivate. Before the 16th century it was mainly grown in Malaysia, Madagascar and Southeast Asia who traded with China, the main trading port being Malabar in India. This was especially true during the time of the British Empire, these ports were direct trades with Europe, North Africa and the Middle East. It's ingrained into modern and classical culture throughout the world for many reasons and this once really high value seasoning is not just brilliant used in food…

Earlier cultures discovered the pepper also has various health benefits and was believed to cure many illnesses such as insomnia, eye problems and constipation but it has more far reaching benefits than just this.

Steam Distilled Black Pepper Essential Oil (Piper Nigrum)

Steam distilled, Black Pepper Essential Oil is created from the crushed fruit of the pepper vine. This concentrated oil is used in cosmetic and health products such as beard balm and beard oil, skin creams and other helpful remedies. Black pepper has always been a go-to home remedy to help fight colds, fever, pains and digestive problems, helping to increase the good bacteria in your gut which is linked to mood, certain diseases and immune function. Packed with Vitamin C and A they help fight infections and strengthen our immune systems, it can even help prevent risk of more life threatening conditions like cancer thanks to a compound called piperine, found in the pepper which fights and induces cancer cell death. Proved in a variety of scientific studies, they also help to lower resistance of cancer cells that have grown more resilient due to treatments such as Chemotherapy that did not work effectively enough.

Other benefits in the human body include lowering cholesterol and improving blood sugar levels while boosting the absorption of nutrients such as calcium and selenium. The piperine compound also helps to relieve pain as found in a study conducted on rodents. It’s even thought to be an effective antidepressant, promoting better sleep while encouraging a calm mind with sedative like properties.

Almost unbelievably it can also increase testosterone levels in the male body, while also improving sperm quality and concentration. Good for increasing sexual performance making it a large benefit to certain men needing a boost.

Benefits to the Skin

Benefits to the skin include helping to reduce wrinkles and other skin damage such as stretch marks due to its high concentration of antioxidants; which rejuvenate your skin and act as a catalyst to repair damage and reverse skin ageing. It can also act as an exfoliant removing dead cells and dirt leaving your skin smooth and fresh, particularly good for after a good shave or during your usual shave routine, this also helps encourage blood circulation and allowing more nutrients to be absorbed into your skin.

So Long As the Correct Dosage is Used

Finally it also has specific benefits for hair such as helping to cure dandruff while helping to soothe dry, itchy scalps. Perfect for any areas under the beard or scalp irritated by dryness or a particular skin condition, so long as the correct dosage is used. Make sure in that case you only use quality products with the perfect levels in like our beard balms and beard oils. It's also proven to help baldness in men and women as it stimulates the hair follicles promoting new hair growth, encouraging it to grow thicker, fuller and faster, perfect for if you have a patchy beard!

If you don't already make sure to find quality products which contain ingredients such as Black Pepper, Lanolin, Palmarosa essential oil, Shea butter and other essential oils to add to your daily skin and hair care routines.