· Bright Ideas · The Many Benefits of Pepper . . . Nothing To Sneeze At!

The Many Benefits of Pepper . . . Nothing To Sneeze At!

Did you know that Indian monks ate several peppercorns each day during their travels to give them endurance? I didn’t either! :-) As far back at the 1840s, “pepper” was used in a figurative sense to mean “spirit” or “energy”. Eventually it was shortened to the word “pep” that we use today”!

In ancient Greece, pepper was held in such high prestige that it was used as currency, and, in the Middle Ages, the wealth of a man was oftentimes measured by his stockpile of pepper.  Pretty interesting stuff!

Turns out this common spice has a lot more going for it than you might imagine! Things like alleviating cold symptoms, detoxing your skin and even fighting cancer!

Here are just a few other uses for pepper that might surprise you:

benefits of black pepper

Cancer Prevention

A University of Michigan Cancer Center study suggests that a chemical compound in peppercorns called piperine may be able to help prevent a breast cancer tumor from developing. Pepper’s potential cancer-preventing properties are heightened when it’s paired with turmeric which is used in Indian-style dishes, such as yellow curry.

benefits of black pepper

Keep Colored Clothes Brighter

Add a teaspoon of pepper to your wash load and your colors will stay bright longer. Sprinkle about a teaspoon of ground pepper per load, along with detergent, into your washing machine at the start of the wash cycle. It will drain away with the water, so there’s no extra cleanup.

benefits of black pepper

Clarifying Skin Scrub

Get a smoother, clearer complexion with a scrub made from pepper. It stimulates your circulation to deliver more oxygen and nutrients to the surface of your skin, and the grains help slough off dead cells.

Try this recipe: In a bowl, combine 1 cup sugar, 1/2 cup unscented massage oil, 6 drops orange essential oil, and a pinch of ground pepper; stir together with a spoon. Rub the scrub onto wet skin in the bath or shower, then wash off.

benefits of black pepper

Improves Digestion

Black pepper 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, which produces gas, irritation, and/or diarrhea or constipation.

benefits of black pepper

Help For The Sniffles

Pepper’s antibacterial properties make it an effective remedy for respiratory conditions including colds, coughs and flu. Pepper’s spiciness clears congestion and helps clear up sinusitis. Just add a few pinches of pepper to a bowl of chicken soup and you’ll soon be breathing easier.

benefits of black pepper 8

Keep Bugs Off Your Garden Plants

Mix black pepper with flour. Sprinkle around your plants. Bugs will no longer invade your garden. It works within 24 hours and is even more effective than some synthetic pesticides. Plus, it doesn’t contaminate groundwater, harm humans or other animals, and insects do not develop a resistance to it.

benefits of black pepper

Keep Ants Out Of The Kitchen

Black pepper repels ants because it contains capsaicin. Sprinkle some black pepper or cayenne pepper around the back of your countertops and along baseboards to keep the ants away. If you know where an ant hole is near your home you can also pour pepper down the hole.

benefits of black pepper

Deer Deterrent

If you are having difficulty with deer making a meal out of your plants, black pepper can provide a safe, simple and inexpensive option. Many animals do not like the taste or smell of black pepper. If you spray the leaves with a black pepper solution or sprinkle it on, animals are more likely to stay away from the plant. You may only have to do it a few times before they learn, and then you can discontinue the practice. This can also work on inside plants with dogs and cats.

benefits of black pepper 10

Temporarily Fix A Radiator Leak

If your old clunker is starting to get a slow leak in the radiator, pour some black pepper into it to plug up small holes. This will buy you time to get it fixed properly.

benefits of black pepper

Arthritis Relief

Boil a 1/2 cup chopped parsnip, 3 grams of cinnamon, 1 gram of black pepper, and 3 grams of dried ginger in 2 cups of water. Drink this twice daily for all natural pain relief.

benefits of black pepper

Weight Loss Aid

The outer layer of the peppercorn stimulates the breakdown of fat cells, keeping you slim while giving you energy to burn.

A few more interesting facts about pepper:

Pepper is the number one selling spice in America
Pepper comes in many colors, green, black, red and white but all comes from the same plant, the color is related to how ripe it is and how it has been processed
Pepper is native to India and grows as a tall vine with the peppercorns as flowering drupes
Pepper loses its flavor and aroma through evaporation so its best to keep it in an airtight container

And finally….the answer to the age-old question…why does pepper make you sneeze?

Pepper contains an alkaloid of pyridine called piperine. Piperine acts as an irritant if it gets into the nose. It stimulates (or irritates) the nerve endings inside the mucous membrane. This stimulation will cause you to sneeze.

And now you know!

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Bright Ideas

  • It pays to read your posts even if they are 6 years old. I did not know pepper aids digestion by increasing acid. However,this increase in acid can be bad for someone suffering GERD.

  • I’m not sure it would be a good idea to use it as deer repellant on plants. I’m just imagining a deer and her fawn accidentally digesting the pepper coated leaves and not having immediate access to water to banish the heat in their poor little mouths. Can you imagine inadvertently ingesting something hot then having to wait for an hour or so before getting to a water source? Not cool.

  • I love hot peppers, especially the Habanero and Serrano Chili peppers, but I never knew they had that many health benefits. This article does explain a lot about how peppers make me feel though. They are a pick me up, they keep my appetite small, and they make me happy.

    I have peepers with most meals, including breakfast. My favorite breakfast is scrambled eggs with sautéed garlic, chopped Serrano peppers and chopped mushrooms. I top my scrambled eggs with vegetarian chili, a little lime juice, and serve with a couple warm corn tortillas.

    Now that I know all of the health benefits of hot peppers, I will tell my wife. She will be less likely to complain about the irritation of sautéing hot peppers and hot sauce knowing that it is good for my prostate.
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  • Wow! I love your insights. Have you ever done a similar research on chili/red pepper? I come from Asia and we grow and eat chili pepper and rarely have indigestion problems. Thanks.

  • Just make sure to buy it in peppercorn variety rather than powdered–as with all spices and herbs, the good properties go away the more it is processed; plus it just tastes better when it’s freshly ground!

  • Mmmm–so now I know why Lee calls their jeans Pepper Pre-wash Jeans.

    I have also heard that pepper is good for stimulating hair follicles for growing your hair faster. Never tried it though because my hair grows super fast already.

  • Ok, I just tried using it as ant repellant! I hope it works. The ants have been invading my dog’s food bowl, but she just had puppies and I was hesitant to spray ant killer the area. I hope it works, they were taking over in there!

  • Wow! Who knew pepper did all that stuff??? I just love to eat it. :)
    I’m definitely going to try making a “tea” or something with it to spray my house plants. My crazy kitty cat eats EVERYTHING. LOL.

    Thanks Jillee!

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