An Unsung Hero in Your Kitchen

This unsung hero sees service everywhere in the world. It’s loaded with vitamins and minerals. It’s classified as a medical spice because it does so much good for your health.

What is this amazing spice, you ask? Black pepper. Or, to be official, piper nigrum.

Oh, yes, indeedy; black pepper is amazing. Well, who knew? I mean, nobody sings about it or write poems to praise it. In fact, in many kitchens, it sits, pretty much ignored, in the back of a cabinet, and only comes out for special occasions.

Is that sad or what? While black pepper never plays a starring role in health, it works the tar out of all the supporting roles it plays.

Come now and let us praise the piper

  • Black pepper is a carminative, which means you toot less. Well, now, see, just right there, pepper deserves a medal.
  • Pepper also helps break down fat cells, fighting any tendency to chunk up, even helping the battle against obesity.
  • Piper nigrum also promotes sweating, which may not sound like such a swell idea, but sweating helps the body get rid of toxins. Sweet, eh?
  • And pepper helps your digestive system by raising low stomach acid. Adequate stomach acid makes it possible to digest the proteins coming down the chute. If digestion doesn’t happen, you’re on your way to leaky gut syndrome and other unpleasantries.
  • And those shriveled little balls of spice are good for your skin, too. Eating black pepper helps make wrinkles and vitiligo either stay away or go away.
  • Pepper helps in your fight against all the free radicals that show up to rust out your body.
  • Pepper battles the bacteria that cause respiratory problems. It also eases congestion.
  • Everybody’s nervous system should have a friend like black pepper. It helps fight depression and keep brain function in order.
  • Studies suggest black pepper even fights the parasite that causes malaria.
  • And on, and on, and on. This is some good stuff.

Now, black pepper can’t win all these battles on its own, but it adds oomph to your nutrition. If you take care with the food and supplements you ingest, black pepper gives you a winning edge.

And if you eat a lousy diet and take cheapo supplements, it still battles valiantly. But win a major battle on its own? Probably not.

How to buy, store, and use Piper Nigrum

Buy whole, organic peppercorns. Do not buy ground pepper.

Use a pepper mill to grind the amount you need, at the time you need it. Whole peppercorns keep pretty much forever. Once they’re ground, you have about three months to use them or lose them.

Keep peppercorns in a sealed container. They don’t have to be refrigerated, and freezing them may change their flavor a little.

I bought my pepper mills as vacation souvenirs. They weren’t sold as souvenirs, and they don’t have kitschy pictures or words of welcome on them. One mill is mahogany, the other maple–both are just plain wood, but using them creates encores of pleasant memories.

All this good news about black pepper might make you think about eating a lot of it, which would be a bad idea. Whoever said there’s no such thing as too much wasn’t talking about black pepper. It’s not a vegetable, only a spice. Trust me.

God is good,
Bette Dowdell

About the author: Bette Dowdell defines determination. A drunk driver put her into a really deep health ditch when she was a baby, giving her a concussion. Concussions are murder on the endocrine system, which controls all of health, and down the hill she tumbled. Doctors didn’t help–for years. So, she got her Oh-Yeah! attitude in gear and researched her way out. Bette never intended to be a health expert, but sometimes a girl’s gotta do what a girl’s gotta do, and she’s still researching. To subscribe to Bette’s free health e-mails, click the “subscribe” button on the top/right.

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