Family • Arecaceae - Piper nigrum Linn. - BLACK PEPPER - Hu-chia

Scientific name

Piper glabrispicum  C. DC.
Piper nigrum Linn.
Piper aromaticum Lam.

Common names

Malisa (Tag.)
Paminta (Tag.)
Pamienta (Span.)
Black pepper (Engl.)
Pepper (Engl.)
White pepper (Engl.)
Hu-chia (Chin.)

Other vernacular names

ARABIC: Filfil, Fulful, Fulful aswad. HUNGARIAN: Bors. PORTUGUESE: Pimenta, Pimenta negra.
ASSAMESE: Jalook. ICELANDIC: Pipar. PUNJABI: Kali marich, Kali mirich.
BENGALI: Golmarich, Kaalaamorich, Kalomarich. ITALIAN: Pepe. ROMANIAN: Piper.
BURMESE: Nayukon, Nga youk kuan. JAPANESE: Burakku peppaa, Koshou, Peppaa, Pepaa. RUSSIAN: Perets bélyi, Perets chërnyi , Pjerets, Zelyony pjerets.
CHINESE: Hu jiao (hu chiao), Hei hu jiao, Bai hu jiao, Woo jiu. KANNADA: Menasinaballii, Menasina, Menasina-kallu, Menusu. SANSKRIT: Krsna, Maricham, Ullaghah, Usanam.
DANISH: Peber. KHMER: Môrech. SINHALESE: Gammiris, Miris.
DUTCH: Peper LAOTIAN: Mak phik noi. SPANISH: Pimienta.
ESTONIAN: Pipar. MALAY: Lada puteh, Lada hitam, Lada padi, Lada (Indonesia), Marica hitam (Indonesia). SWAHILI: Pilipili.
FINNISH: Pippuri. MALAYALAM: Kurukulak, Kurumilagu, Kuru mulagu, Kurumulaku, Nallamulak, Nallamulaku. SWEDISH: Peppar.
FRENCH: Poivre commun, Poivre blanc, Poivre noir. MARATHI: Kaaliimirii. TAMIL: Milagoo, Milaagu.
GERMAN: Pfeffer, Grüner Pfeffer, Schwarzer Pfeffer; Weißer Pfeffer. NEPALESE: Marich. TELUGU: Miryaalatiga (Miryalatige), Miriyaalu, Savyamu.
GREEK: Pipéri. NIGERIAN: Ozizi, Etikene, Odusa. THAI: Phrik thai.
GUJARATI: Kaalaamirich, Kaalaamirii, Klamirich, Kalomirich. NORWEGIAN: Pepper. TURKISH: Kara biber, Siah biber.
HEBREW: Pilpel. PERSIAN: Felfel siah. URDU: Kalimirch, Siyah mirch, Ushan.
HINDI: Golmirch, Kaalii mirch, Malimirch. POLISH: Pieprz. VIETNAMESE: Trieu, Hat trieu.


Paminta is a stout climber with smooth branches, 2 to 3.5 millimeters in diameter. Leaves are somewhat leathery, broadly ovate to oblong-elliptic, 10 to 13 centimeters long, 3.5 to 8 centimeters wide, with pointed, rounded, or heart-shaped based, 7-plinerved, smooth on both surfaces. Rachis is hairy. Bracts of the female cupular receptacles are short, whole, adnate, without raised margins. Flowers are usually dioecious (having the male and female organs). Female spikes are pendulous, 6.5 to 10.5 centimeters long. Fruits are crowded, sessile, rounded, about 4 millimeters long, 3 millimeters in diameter, with 3 or 4 stigmas.


– Limited cultivation in the Philippines.
Also cultivated in all tropical countries of the Old World, and also in Brazil and in the West Indies.

– Black pepper has been found to contain piperine, alkamides, piptigrine, wisanine, dipiperamide D, and dipiperamide E.
– The pepper contains an active resin (oleoresin, responsible for the known pungent taste and aromatic odor), a volatile oil, starch, gum, a small quantity of fatty oil in the mesocarp, and about 5% of inorganic matter, besides the alkaloid, peperine, and a volatile alkaloid probably identical with pepperidine.
– Contains an alkaloid piperine, 5 – 9%; piperidine, 5%; mesocarp contains chavicine.
– Piperine the active principle, has the same chemical composition as morphine, although it is almost devoid of taste, color or smell, and is resolvable into piperic acid and a colorless liquid alkaloid, piperidine.
– Study yielded six bioactive compounds i.e. piperine, pellitorine, guineensine, pipnoohine, trichostachine, and piperonal.
– Study of essential oil from root distillation yielded a total yield of 0.39% essential oil, with contents of trans- and ciscaryophyllene, -3-canene, humulene, limonene, pinene in the oil were 51.2, 6.76, 6.00, 3.76, 2.97, 1.35% respectively.

Additional Sources and Suggested Readings

(1) Spasmolytic Activity of Piper Nigrum Fruit Aqueous Extract on Rat Non-Pregnant Uterus / MOHAMMAD KAZEM GHARIB NASERI and HODA YAHYAVI / Iranian Journal of Pharmacology and Therapeutics / 6(1):35-40, 2007

(2) CRC Handbook of Ayurvedic Medicinal Plants / L D Kapoor

(3) Antibacterial constituents from the berries of Piper nigrum / S.Venkat Reddy et al / Phytomedicine, Volume 11, Issue 7, Pages 697-700

(4) Effects of Piper nigrum L. on epileptiform activity in cortical wedges prepared from DBA/2 mice / Ruo Qi Hu and J A Davies / Phytotherapy Research • Volume 11 Issue 3, Pages 222 – 225

(5) The antioxidant and radical scavenging activities of black pepper (Piper nigrum) seeds / Ilhami Gulcin / Summary International Journal of Food Sciences and Nutrition • 2005, Vol. 56, No. 7, Pages 491-499 / DOI 10.1080/09637480500450248

(6) Black pepper (Piper nigrum) / Sigma-aldrich

(7) Antibacterial activity of black pepper (Piper nigrum Linn) with special reference to its mode of action on bacteria / Pavithra Vani Karsha and O Bhagya Lakshimi / Indian Journ of Natural Products and Resources, Vol 1(2), June 10, 2010, pp 213-215

(8) PHARMACOGNOSTIC, PHYTOCHEMICAL ANALYSIS AND ANTIMICROBIAL ACTIVITY OF TWO PIPER SPECIES / Manisha N Trivedi*, Archana Khemani, Urmila D Vachhani, Charmi P Shah and D D Santani / Pharmacie Globale (IJCP) 2011, 7 (05)

(9) Sorting Piper names / Authorised by Prof. Snow Barlow / Maintained by: Michel H. Porcher / MULTILINGUAL MULTISCRIPT PLANT NAME DATABASE / Copyright © 1997 – 2000 The University of Melbourne.

(10) Simultaneous determination of bioactive compounds in Piper nigrum L. and a species comparison study using HPLC-PDA. / Rao VR, Raju SS, Sarma VU, Sabine F, Babu KH, Babu KS, Rao JM. / Nat Prod Res. 2011 Aug;25(13):1288-94. doi: 10.1080/14786419.2010.535158.

(11) Evaluation of antidiarrhoeal effect of Black pepper (Piper nigrum L.) / Prashant B. Shamkuwar*, Sadhana R. Shahi, Suvarna T. Jadhav / Asian Journal of Plant Science and Research, 2012, 2 (1):48-53

(12) Effect of piper nigrum on stomach of wistar rat / Enobong Bassey, Clement Jackson*, Aquaisua Aquaisua, Emmanuel Bassey, Godwin Ekpe / Int J Pharm Biomed Res 2011, 2(2), 68-73

(13) Acute and subchronic toxicity study of the water extract from dried fruits of Piper nigrum L. in rats / Siharat Chunlaratthanaphorn et al / Songklanakarin J. Sci. Technol, Vol.29 (Suppl. 1), March 2007 : Thai Herbs II

(14) Roasting Studies on Black Pepper (Piper nigrum L.) / Susan Chacko†, A. Jayalekshmy*, M. Gopalakrishnan, C. S. Narayanan / Flavour and Fragrance Journal, Vol 11, Issue 5, pp 305–310, September/October 1996 / DOI: 10.1002/(SICI)1099-1026(199609)11:5<305::AID-FFJ588>3.0.CO;2-1

(15) Antioxidant efficacy of black pepper (Piper nigrum L.) and piperine in rats with high fat diet induced oxidative stress. / Vijayakumar RS, Surya D, Nalini N. / Redox Rep. 2004;9(2):105-10.

(16) PHARMACOGNOSTICAL STUDIES ON THE ROOTS OF PIPER NIGRUM L. III: DETERMINATION OF ESSENTIAL OIL AND PIPERINE / S. Hu, P. Ao, D. Liu / ISHS Acta Horticulturae 426: International Symposium on Medicinal and Aromatic Plants

(17) INHIBITION OF THIOACETAMIDE –INDUCED LIVER FIBROSIS BY PIPER NIGRUM LINN / A. Dinakar, P.Dwarakanadha Reddy*, D.Swarnalatha, R.Pradeep Kumar, K.Alekya,S.Prasad Kumar, D.Vijay Kumar,A.Bharath ,M.Ravindar / Journal of Global Trends in Pharmaceutical Sciences Vol.1, Issue 1, pp 1-8, October–December 2010

(18) Testosterone 5alpha-reductase inhibitory active constituents of Piper nigrum leaf. / Hirata N, Tokunaga M, Naruto S, Iinuma M, Matsuda H. / Biol Pharm Bull. 2007 Dec;30(12):2402-5.

(19) Antimicrobial Activity of Piper Fruits / Mohib Khan and Mustafa Siddiqui / Natural Product Radiance, Vol 6(2), 2007, pp 111-113.


– Considered acrid, astringent, rubefacient, stimulant, counterirritant, stomachic, carminative.
– Roots considered tonic, stimulant, cordial and anthelmintic.

Parts utilized
Roots, leaves, seeds.

Edibility / Culinary
• The dried fruits furnish the black pepper of commerce. When the outer shell is removed, the product is white pepper.
• The use of pepper as spice and condiment dates back to early times.
• Used for large-scale preservation of food, sausage making, etc.
• Study showed heating black peppercorns between 100˚C and 150˚C for 15 to 30 minutes in a microwave, simulating dry roasting, made little change in the amount of volatile oil.


– In the Philippines, used as stimulant and rubefacient. Piperine also used as antiperiodic.
– Decoction used as mouthwash for toothache.
– Used as rubefacient in alopecia and skin diseases.
– Used in preparing liniments used in chronic rheumatism.
– Used in dyspepsia, flatulence, gonorrhea, cough, hemorrhoids and intermittent fevers.
– Decoction used for obstinate intermittent fever and flatulent dyspepsia.
– Used a febrifuge, with brandy and anise, in various forms of malarial fevers.
– Externally pepper is rubefacient and used as counterirritant.
– In decoction, used as mouthwash for toothache.
– Used as rubefacient in alopecia and skin diseases.
– Infusion used as gargle for afflictions of the throat.
– Juice of leaves boiled in oil and applied externally for scabies.
– Ointment mixed with lard used against Tinea capitis.
– Used in shellfish and mushroom poisoning.
– Mixed with honey and ginger, used by Malays as abortifacient.
– Roots used as antihelmintic.
– Toasted berries used for stopping vomiting associated with cholera.
– Used for vertigo, paralytic and arthritic disorders.
– Black pepper is corrective for fish, flesh, shell-fish and mushroom poisoning.
– Malay women use black pepper as an abortifacient, taken in pills with honey and ginger.
– In Iranian traditional medicine, used to relieve menorrhagia in women.
– In Ayurveda, paste of black pepper is used for boils, piles, rheumatic pains, headache, prolapsed rectum, toothaches. Pepper is given for dyspepsia, flatulence, diarrhea, cholera, cough, gonorrhea and malarial fever.
– In India used in traditional medicine for constipation, diarrhea, earache, gangrene, heartburn, hernia, hoarseness, indigestion, insect bites, liver and lung problems, sunburn, dental caries, and toothaches.


Study Findings
• Spasmolytic / Anti-menorrhagia:Study showed a spasmolytic effect of the black pepper extract probably through involved voltage dependent calcium channels and B-adrenoreceptors. Results support its traditional use to relieve menorrhagia.
• Anticholinesterase Inhibitory Activity: In vitro study of extract of P. nigrum seeds showed 50-65% inhibitory activity on acetylcholinesterase.
• Antispasmodic: Antispasmodic Effect of P Nigrum Fruit Hot Water Extract on Rat Ileum: Study showed spasmolytic effect on rat ileum probably mediated via Ca+ influx.
• Analgesic: Analgesic Activity Of Piper Nigrum Extract Per Se And Its Interaction With Diclofenac Sodium And Pentazocine In Albino Mice: Piper nigrum alone did not show any significant analgesic activity. However PN extract significantly increased the analgesic activity of diclofenac sodium and pentazocine.
• Pharmacognostical Studies: Root distillation yielded 0.39% essential oil, with a total yield of 0.79% piperine from the root.
• Neural Effects: In vitro study using whole-cell patch-clamp electrophysiology, piperine, a pungent alkaloid, showed a similar agonist effect on human vanilloid receptor TRPV1 as capsaicin. Piperine, however, could induce greater receptor desensitization and exhibit greater efficacy than capsaicin.
• Antibacterial: Study yielded an isobutyleicosatrienamide, pellitorine, trachone, pergumidiene and isopiperolein B. All the isolated compounds were active against B subtilis, B spaericus, K aerogenes and Chromobacterium violaceum. Study results showed excellent inhibition of the growth of Gram positive bacteria ( Staph aureus, followed by Bacillus cereus and Strep faecalis) and Gram negative bacteria (Pseudomonas aeruginosa followed by Salmonella typhi and E coli.)
• Larvicidal : Study demonstrated the potential of P nigrum extracts against larvae of Cx quinquefasciatus and its benefits for the development of new cost-effective and environmentally friendly larvicide for mosquito control.
• Antiepileptic : Study demonstrated anticonvulsant activity of the water extract of P nigrum attributed to an antagonistic action at NMDA (N-methyl-D-aspartate) receptors.
• Antioxidant : Study showed both water extract and ethanol extract exhibited strong total antioxidant activity.
• Anti-Inflammatory: Study in Wistar albino rats of a polyhedral formulation containing extracts from seven medicinal plants including P. nigrum showed 31.3% inhibition against carrageenan-induced acute inflammation.
• Diabetes Protective Effects: Study in Alloxan-induced diabetic rats showed oxidative stress playing a key role in diabetes, and treatment with P. nigrum and V. rosea are useful in controlling not only glucose and lipid levels but may also help in strengthening the antioxidant potential.
• Anti-Hepatotoxic / Antioxidant: Study showed an ethanol extract of P. nigrum root is an efficient hepatoprotective and antioxidant agent against CCl4-induced liver injury. The hepatoprotective effect was supported by histopathological observations.
• Hepatoprotective / Thioacetamide-Induced Fibrosis: Study evaluated the antifibrotic effect of an ethanol extract of P. nigrum in rats with liver fibrosis induced by thioacetaminde. Mice treated with the extract showed significant reduction of HP, serum enzymes and TBL and inhibition of fibrosis induced by thioacetamide.
• Antidiarrheal Effect: Study evaluated an aqueous extract for antidiarrheal, antimotility, and antisecretory activity in mice. Results showed significant and dose-dependent antidiarrheal activity against castor oil and magnesium sulfate induced diarrhea. Antimotility, and antisecretory effects. The antimotility and antisecretory effects may be due to the presence of carbohydrates and alkaloids.
• Thermogenesis / Piperine Effect: Study suggests Piper nigrum enhances and encourages thermogenesis of lipids (fat molecules) and accelerates energy metabolism in the body, probably from the active principle in crushed pepper, piperine.
• Acute and Subchronic Toxicity Studies: Study showed a water extract from dried fruits of P. nigrum did not cause acute or subchronic toxicities in either male or female rats.
• Roasting / Heat Effect: Study showed heating black peppercorns between 100˚C and 150˚C for 15 to 30 minutes in a microwave, simulating dry roasting, made little change in the amount of volatile oil. However, there were some changes in volatile oil composition, probably from loss of a few volatile oils and/or release of glycosidically bound terpenoids.
• Antioxidant / Piperine / High Fat Diet-Induced Oxidative Stress: Study explored black pepper effect on tissue lipid peroxidation, enzymic and non-enzymic antioxidants in rats on a high-fat diet. Results showed supplementation with black pepper or the active principle, piperine, can reduce high-fat diet induced oxidative stress to the cells.
• Anti-Asthmatic: Study evaluated the anti-asthmatic activity of an aqueous extract of fruits on acetylcholine induced contraction on isolated goat trachea. Results showed significant inhibition of acetylcholine induced bronchoconstriction, suggesting a significant anti-asthmatic potential for the extract.
• Testosterone 5-Alpha-Reductase Inhibitory Activity: Fractionation of P. nigrum leaf extract isolated
(-)-cubebin and (-)-3,4-dimethoxy-3,4-desmethylenedioxycubebin. Study on testosterone 5-allpha reductase activity showed potent inhibitory effect of 1 and piperine. Also, the leaf extract showed in vivo-androgenic activity using a hair regrowth assay in testosterone sensitive male strain of mice.
• Antimicrobial: Study of evaluated 28 extracts from the fruits of four species, viz. Piper cubeba, P. retrofractum, P. longum, and P. nigrum against bacterial pathogens Staphylococcus aureus, S. typhi, P. aeuriginosa, E. coli and Bacillus megaterium and one fungus, Aspergillus niger. Compared to Streptomycin all extracts showed good antibacterial activity. Some exhibited antifungal activity.