The active ingredient in pepper is “piperine.” Piperine is a chemical relative of the better-known capsaicin, the source of spicy heat in chili peppers. It helps chili peppers taste hot by inhibiting pain-sensing nerves: our neurons have receptors for piperine and some other chemicals, so when we eat something containing piperine, those receptors get activated. The result is that our brains think we are being burned and respond accordingly.
Tasting pepper can therefore trigger a mild burning sensation in your mouth, throat and stomach, even if you have never eaten a pepper before. If you then have some more pepper, you will feel an even stronger burning sensation—though not because the first dose has worn off yet, but because your body has become desensitized to it. This is a survival mechanism; it protects you from accidentally eating something poisonous.
So what does this mean for people who want to experience the sensation of eating pepper without being overwhelmed by the burning? In theory it means that if you take tiny doses of pepper every day for several weeks, your body will stop responding so intensely to it and instead just get used to it. In practice this doesn’t always work: many people find that even after doing this for some time they
You may not realize this, but pepper is a spice. It’s the most popular spice in the world, and also one of the oldest. Pepper has been traded since ancient times. It has been used by people in Asia, Europe, Africa, and the Americas for over four thousand years.
You probably use pepper several times every day in your cooking, but did you know that its uses extend beyond food? Here are some interesting facts about black pepper:
It was used as currency in Sumatra from 1583 to 1680.
Pepper can be used as a skin-softening lotion or exfoliant when mixed with oil and left on the skin for 20 minutes or so before washing off.
Tiny amounts of ground pepper added to chocolate or cocoa powder will make it more spicy or piquant.
Adding ground pepper to homemade tomato juice makes it taste more like ketchup.
Ground pepper can be worn around the neck as an anti-mosquito charm in areas where mosquitoes are prevalent. It’s said to drive off mosquitos even though they don’t like the taste of it.
Because of its strong taste and odor, sailors used to put whole peppercorns aboard ships carrying dead bodies so that their families would know if they
Pepper is used in most cuisines around the world and has been cultivated for thousands of years. It is a flowering vine in the family Piperaceae, which also includes piper betle, betel pepper, and kava.
Pepper is native to India and has been known to Indian cuisine since at least 2000 BCE. Black pepper is often paired with salt. White pepper is used in light-colored dishes such as eggs, seafood, and chicken or turkey salads. Green pepper, or unripe peppercorns, are used whole or crushed in a mortar and pestle to produce a pungent flavor in dishes such as sausages, meatloaf, many soups and stews; they are not usually used whole.
The spiciness of black pepper is due to the chemical piperine, which is an irritant for mammals (including humans) when ingested in large quantities. Ground black pepper that has been mixed with other ingredients may lose its pungency; hence the rubric “freshly ground black pepper” for commercial use.
Pepper was described by the Greek-Egyptian astronomer Ptolemy (90–168 CE) under the name malabathrum. Bell peppers are named after their resemblance to
Piper nigrum is a plant in the family Piperaceae, native to India, Northern Australia, and South East Asia. Its fruit, commonly known as a peppercorn when dried, is used as a spice and seasoning, and Piper nigrum or its seed are often referred to simply as pepper.
A member of the Piperaceae family (the same family that produces the kava shrub), black pepper is a flowering vine which grows up to 6 metres (20 ft) tall. The leaves are composed of small, oblong leaflets. At the base of each leaflet is a thin filament which is green when young, turning red and then black as the leaves mature.
The flowers are usually white and borne in short branched clusters at the end of the branches; they are about 2 mm (0.079 in) in diameter and resemble those of a small green bell pepper. Black pepper is native to India and is extensively cultivated there and elsewhere in tropical regions around the world. The English word “pepper” derives from the Malayalam/Tamil word “pippali”.
Black pepper is a flowering vine in the family Piperaceae, cultivated for its fruit, which is usually dried and used as a spice and seasoning. The fruit is a small drupe five millimetres in diameter, dark red when fully mature, containing a single seed. Peppercorns, and the powdered pepper derived from grinding them, may be described simply as pepper.**
Pepper has been known since antiquity as a spice, medicine and perfume product. Black pepper is mentioned in ancient Indian texts dated to the 1st millennium BC and the 10th century AD. The along with ginger and turmeric are referred to as “three precious spices” in the Sanskrit epic Ramayana (c. 200 BC). The recorded use of black pepper dates back to (at least) the 6th century AD, although there is some evidence that it was used earlier.**
*Black pepper is native to India and has been known to Indian cooking since at least 2000 BC.*
The ancient history of black pepper is often interlinked with (and confused by) that of long pepper (Piper longum), also known as Indian long pepper, which arrived from India via the Middle East in Roman times. It also often confused with chile peppers, another New World spice arriving with
Piper nigrum is a plant in the family Piperaceae, native to India and Sri Lanka. Its fruit, known as a peppercorn when dried, is a commonly used spice and flavouring. The word “pepper” was adapted from the Sanskrit pippali.
Piperine, present in black pepper, is responsible for the pungency upon which its flavour depends. The spiciness of black pepper is due to the chemical piperine, an alkaloid compound of the phenanthrene type, which acts as an irritant to the eyes and mucous membranes. Black pepper contains 7–20% piperine by mass.
The pungency of black pepper is due to the chemical piperine, a phenanthrene alkaloid
that stimulates the skin’s heat sensors (thermoreceptors) like other such compounds such as capsaicin in chili peppers
and tetrahydrocannabinol in cannabis resin. When consumed orally it is completely metabolized into other non-pungent compounds and has no measurable pungency despite containing piperine.
It is native to India and other parts of South Asia. The pepper plant is a tropical perennial, and can grow to a height of 5-6 feet (1.5-1.8 meters). The stems are erect and branched, and have thorns. The leaves are evergreen, dark green in color, ovate-shaped and 4-6 inches long. The flowers are white and bell-shaped, while the fruits are berrylike pods that turn black when fully ripe.
Modern pepper varieties differ from their ancient counterparts in that they are less pungent, and have different flavor characteristics. Most significant of these is the loss of the characteristic pungency of wild varieties due to selective breeding. This has been described by food historian Ian Mortimer as “the most important change in the history of spice”.
The modern varieties with their lower pungency also yield a higher quantity of pepper per plant than do wild plants; this also was an important factor in increasing pepper’s popularity around the world.”