Black pepper - western medicine

Black pepper is not as widely used in conventional medicine as it is in traditional. It is sometimes added to tonics and in preparations to deliberately cause a reddening of the skin, known as rubefacients. Scientific investigations have found that black pepper may have a number of properties that could be potentially beneficial to the health.

Active compounds

Black peppercorns contain compounds called alkaloids. One of these is piperine. It is reported to act as a central nervous system depressant and to have anti-fever, pain relieving, anti-inflammatory and insecticidal effects. Some experiments suggest black pepper and its constituent piperine may have some potential in the treatment of vitiligo as it helps increase pigmentation in the skin.

Black pepper is also reported to have anti-fungal and anti-oxidant properties.

This information is provided for general interest only. It is not intended as guidance for medicinal use. Further information on using herbal medicines is available.