Importance and Uses

 

Economic Importance
Known as the 'king of spices', black pepper has remained the most precious and valuable form of spices in the world. It is the 3rd most added ingredient in food among the wide range of spices. India is one of the largest producers of black pepper, after China and Vietnam. Black pepper has played a pivotal role in India's international trade and it is said that the Europeans came to India primarily for this very spice. A wide variety of black pepper is traded at an international level, with India as one of the top five exporters of black pepper, along with Vietnam, Indonesia, Brazil and Malaysia.

Nutritional Significance Black pepper is an excellent source of manganese, a very good source of iron and vitamin K, and a good source of dietary fiber.

Black pepper is not a commonly allergenic food, is not known to contain measurable amounts of goitrogens, oxalates, or purines, and is also not included in the Environmental Working Group's 2009 report "Shopper's Guide to Pesticides" as one of the 12 foods most frequently containing pesticide residues.

Medicinal Properties
Black pepper (Piper nigrum) stimulates the taste buds in such a way that an alert is sent to to the stomach to increase hydrochloric acid secretion, thereby improving digestion. Hydrochloric acid is necessary for the digestion of proteins and other food components in the stomach. When the body's production of hydrochloric acid is insufficient, food may sit in the stomach for an extended period of time, leading to heartburn or indigestion, or it may pass into the intestines, where it can be used as a food source for unfriendly gut bacteria, whose activities produce gas, irritation, and/or diarrhea or constipation.

Black pepper has long been recognized as a carminitive, (a substance that helps prevent the formation of intestinal gas), a property likely due to its beneficial effect of stimulating hydrochloric acid production. In addition, black pepper has diaphoretic (promotes sweating), and diuretic (promotes urination) properties.

Black pepper has demonstrated impressive antioxidant and antibacterial effects--yet another way in which this wonderful seasoning promotes the health of the digestive tract. And not only does black pepper help you derive the most benefit from your food, the outer layer of the peppercorn stimulates the breakdown of fat cells, keeping you slim while giving you energy to burn.

Miscellaneous Uses Black Pepper, being the most oldest spice in the world, is seen both as a taste enhancer and as a medicine. Its importance can be judged from the following points:
Because of its strong flavor and aroma, it is highly used as an added ingredient in food to make it tasty and delectable
Owing its strong influence on health, black pepper has been used in many traditional medicine systems like Ayurveda, Unani and Siddha
Black pepper acts as an antidepressant and also as an antioxidant that helps in lowering the cholesterol level to a great extent
The essential oil present in the black pepper helps in relieving muscular pain, fever, etc. and also helps in increasing blood circulation
Black pepper also acts as an effective deterreant to insects. When added with a quarter amount of water, it acts as an effective toxin, capable of killing rodents, ants, potato bugs, etc.
References http://www.vuatkerala.org