Black Pepper

Common name Black Pepper

Latin name Piper nigrum

Parts used Dried Fruit

System affinities

Black pepper is used in treatments for a variety of body systems.  It is useful in treating skin and hair conditions.  Additionally, due to its mild heating quality it has affinity for the digestive, respiratory and skeletal systems.

Energetics/characteristics/flower essence/dosha

Black pepper is heating in the first degree.  It is a Yang tonic in TCM primarily considered effective for the lungs and large intestine.  In Ayurvedic medicine it is a plant possessing the qualities of the pitta dosha.  It would generally be prescribed for people in the kapha dosha.  As a flower essence the pepper Tree has stimulating and uplifting qualities. It helps us better understand the needs of others. It is indicated for those of us who feel unable to improve a situation.

Taste and quality

Black pepper is considered mildly pungent and acrid.


Black pepper is indicated for a variety of conditions.  It is used in anti-aging remedies due to its antioxidant properties.  Additionally it stimulates digestion, assisting with issues like indigestion, constipation, colic, and diarrhea.  Its warming nature is also considered an aid for arthritis, and respiratory ailments like asthma, sinusitis, and congestion. 

History and lore

Archaeological evidence shows that black pepper was used as a seasoning in India as early as 2000 BCE. Exportation brought it to Egypt, where it was used as a spice and as a medicine. Containers of peppercorns have been found in Egyptian tombs, and they were even found in the nostrils of Ramses II who was mummified in 1213 BCE. Egyptians were early users of toothpaste, which they made from rock salt, dried iris flowers, black pepper, and mint. Cleopatra is said to have had skin lotions made with black pepper.


Black pepper is originally native to southwestern India in an area known as the Malabar Coast.  It consists of lush tropical evergreen forests that are very humid and mountainous. Black pepper is a very hardy perennial and will thrive anywhere these conditions can be found.

Dosing and formulas