Black Pepper Essential Oil
The Greeks, Egyptians and the Romans were all prolific users of black pepper spice. For many years, black pepper was as valuable as gold and silver and was approximately 70% of the thriving spice trade. Peppercorns or Piper Nigrum, originating in India, is a tropical plant which produces black, white and red peppercorns. For black pepper oil, the dried immature fruit or drupes of the peppercorn plantare used.
Black pepper essential oil is obtained through steam distillation. Black Pepper berries need to be in the range of 4.5 to 5 months of age to be used. It takes at least 30 hours to steam distill the black pepper essential oil. It is an oil that can also be extracted through solvent extraction and there is considerable debate upon which method produces the oil with the best therapeutic properties.
Black Pepper essential oil has GRAS (Generally Recognized as Safe) status. The oil is rich in the constituent of Limonene. A 4% dilution was shown to be neither irritating or sensitizing to the skin. Black pepper essential oil includes anti-oxidant properties that have been reported in various research reports as well as moderate chemo-preventative benefits for epidural carcinoma. Since the constituent limonene is known for anti-carcinogenic activity, it is a very exciting oil in terms of modern medical research. The other constituent is Piperene, which has over 812 peer-reviewed studies. It is the phyto-chemical which is responsible for the “zestiness” of Black Pepper. Piperene has been proven to reduce pain in a multitude of studies.
Black Pepper essential oil has been used by Chinese herbalists for thousands of years to treat cholera, malaria and even dysentery. Analgesic (pain relieving) properties of black pepper have brought it into mainstream medical care in China.
From my personal experience, Black Pepper essential oil is a wonderful anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant and anti-arthritic oil. It is one of the ingredients we use in our very successful Joint Cream to help with pain.
When using black pepper essential oil for skin, we recommend blending it with a carrier oil such as grapeseed or sweet almond oil and massaging into sore muscles. It will help increase circulation and soothe the soreness. Blending with lavender essential oil and marjoram essential oil will additionally help with pain.
Add the spice to your meals. We do NOT recommend ingesting the essential oil. Distilled oil is 50 to 100 times stronger than the herb, but essential oils are not friendly to our mucus membranes. Adding crushed peppercorns to your cooking is the best way to include them in your diet.
A true “spice of life”, don’t underestimate the power of that spice on your table.