Black Pepper Oil: Benefits, Uses, Properties, and Side Effects
From preserving food to help quit smoking, the black pepper oil benefits are tremendous. Popularly known as the “king of spice,” both black pepper and its oil are extensively used today.
It’s an all-rounder with varied benefits serving in medicine, preservative, perfuming, and flavoring agent. A unique property of black pepper oil is that it neither make your eyes watery nor does it make you sneeze as black pepper does.
What Is Black Pepper Oil?
Black pepper oil is the aromatic, odorous extraction of dried peppercorns whereas black pepper is the dried ripe fruit of the flowering plant named Piper nigrum.
Black pepper contains:
- 13% Water
- 12% Nitrogen compounds
- 7% Piperine
- 7% Fat
- 6% Essential oil
- Starch and cellulose
Black pepper essential oil is obtained either from CO2 extraction or steam distillation process. However, the CO2 extracted oil is better than the steam distilled because it filters chemicals like ethanol or hexane from black pepper oil.
Scientific Name Of Black Pepper Oil
Piper nigrum oil or P. nigrum oil
History Of Black Pepper Oil
Black pepper is a flowering plant, which originated from India. It belongs to the family Piperaceae. Talking about growth, black pepper needs a specific environment to thrive. No wonder you see pepper plants growing in Indonesia, the Malay Peninsula, Central America, and the Philippines. Black pepper is available in several forms: fresh, dried, and powdered. The plant has a pleasant smell and tastes somewhat bitter.
Also, pepper comes in different colors – black, green, white, orange, red, etc. They all come from the same plant but differ in the way of preparation. Thus, they have a different flavor and degree of spiciness, being rich in essential oil.
Color, Consistency, and Smell Of Black Pepper Oil
- The color of black pepper oil is clear. It doesn’t have any specific color.
- The consistency of black pepper oil is thin.
- The smell of black pepper oil is aromatic and fragrant with moderate intensity.
Properties Of Black Pepper Oil
- Analgesic – Helps in relieving pain
- Anti-inflammatory – Reduces inflammation
- Antifungal – Prevents fungal growth
- Antibacterial – Kills harmful bacteria, but it’s a prebiotic, which means that it promotes the growth of gut-friendly bacteria
- Antiviral – Effective against viruses
- Flavoring – Enhances the taste of a dish
- Aromatic – Distinctive and pleasant smell makes it useful in perfumes
- Appetizer – Helps boost appetite and improves endurance
- Stimulant – Stimulates your moods by just inhaling its fragrance
- Antioxidant – Prevents oxidation
Chemical Compounds In Black Pepper Oil
Black pepper oil has the following composition:
- γ– Terpinene
Note: Black pepper oil does not have Piperine, as it’s volatile.
Benefits Of Black Pepper Oil
Though there are abundant black pepper oil benefits, the prominent ones include:
1. Helps relieve pain
Black pepper oil is an excellent analgesic (pain reliever.) When you massage the affected/ painful area with the diluted black pepper oil vigorously, it boosts blood circulation and flushes away the pain substance.
Linalool, a compound which is present in black pepper essential oil has analgesic properties. β–caryophyllene, another compound has an anesthetic or numbing effect.
A study conducted in 2014 at Motion analysis laboratory in Hungkuang University had more than 60 patients with neck pain and a Neck Disability Index (NDI) score >10%. They were randomly split into two groups: experimental and control.
The experimental group applied 3% concentration cream composed of four essential oils, and black pepper oil was one of them. The control group applied unscented cream. The experiment was carried for four weeks wherein all the participants applied 2 grams of cream over the painful area after a shower.
Four different types of assessments were conducted, which included pressure pain threshold and neck joint range evaluator. There was a better tolerance as well as significant improvement in the motion in the experimental group (1).
2. Reduces redness and swelling
Research says that black pepper oil also fights inflammation. Pain, swelling, redness, difficulty to move, and increased temperature are the signs of inflammation.
However, when you apply diluted black pepper oil over the inflamed area, it helps relieve pain. Thus, it helps ease joint diseases such as arthritis and rheumatism naturally. Cannabinoid receptor 2 (CB2) is involved in the inflammatory and pain response.
Research says β–caryophyllene, present in the black pepper oil is an agonist (attaches to) of CB2. Thus, Piper Nigrum essential oil is useful as an anti-inflammatory. Linalool in black pepper essential oil has both analgesic and anti-inflammatory activities (2).
3. Prevents gastric ulcers
When the outer layer is destroyed exposing the inner layer, we call it an ulcer. Gastric ulcers are stomach ulcers where the stomach’s lining erodes, exposing the sensitive inner tissues. Thus, making it extremely painful.
However, black pepper essential oil has anti-ulcer properties. Research says that caryophyllene and β-pinene in it can do a great deed in protecting against gastric ulcers (3).
4. Helps quit smoking
Smoking is one of the hardest habits to quit. Often, smokers try to quit many times but fail to get rid of it and end up smoking again. However, inhaling black pepper oil from the bottle is one of the easiest and most convenient ways to quit smoking. It helps you tame the cravings (4).
5. Protects against bacterial infections
While black pepper prevents respiratory infections like cold, flu, and asthma, research says that it eases and prevents the infections from worsening. This is due to the presence of 1, 8-cineol in it.
When you have congestion (blocked nose or breathing difficulties), inhaling the vapors of black pepper oil directly from the bottle can be beneficial. After inhalation, massaging your chest vigorously with pepper oil (diluted) for a few minutes can give instant relief.
6. Protects against fungus
Black pepper essential oil protects against fungal infections, as it is very potent against fungi. A. versicolor is the fungus that is most sensitive to black pepper essential oil (5).
7. Preserves food
One of the best black pepper oil benefits is that it can preserve food naturally. This quality has already been proven through a study, where black pepper essential oil was used preserving the chicken soup (5).
Though black pepper oil is effective against bacteria, the bacterium B. cereus is the most sensitive to it. 1, 8-cineol present in it is highly effective in fighting against bacteria.
A study assessed both the antibacterial and antifungal properties of black pepper oil via the microdilution technique. The researchers also estimated the minimal concentrations at which the oil works.
- MIC (Minimal Inhibitory Concentration): It is the concentration at which the black pepper essential oil prevents the growth of microbes such as bacteria and fungi.
- MBC (Minimal Bactericidal Concentration): It is the concentration at which the black pepper essential oil kills harmful bacteria. The MIC of black pepper essential oil against bacteria was found to be 0.07–3.75 and MBC was 0.60–10.00 mg/ml.
- MFC (Minimal Fungicidal Concentration): It is the concentration at which the black pepper essential oil kills harmful fungi. The MIC of black pepper essential oil against fungi was 0.63–5.00 and MFC was 1.25–10.00 mg/ml.
8. Prevents drug resistance
Frequent and unnecessary antibiotic use causes drug resistance. Since black pepper oil has antiviral properties, it attacks the bacterial virulence without hampering the cell viability. Thus, P. nigrum oil inhibits the bacteria from causing any harm while preventing drug resistance (6).
9. Aids in catheterization by promoting the visibility of veins
Catheterization via the vein is essential for injections, IV fluid transfer, etc. In some patients, the veins might not be visible, making it difficult for treatments. A study says that by applying 20% black pepper essential oil with aloe vera gel, the visibility of veins and insertion of the catheter can be improved significantly than just applying aloe vera gel alone (7).
10. Accelerates wound healing
Black pepper oil helps tissue remodeling (a process where your body converts the damaged tissues back to original, healthy tissues.) A recent study also demonstrated that black pepper oil could fasten wound healing (8).
11. Helps weight loss
Black pepper essential oil can rectify metabolism. Once the food is consumed and digested, your body converts that to energy – this process is called metabolism.
BMR/ Basal Metabolic Rate is one of the key factors that decide your weight and health. BMR is the rate at which your body uses calories/ energy to carry out your primary activities such as breathing. If there is an issue with metabolism, metabolic diseases such as diabetes makes its way.
However, pepper oil helps in correcting the metabolism and aids weight loss by breaking the fat that is stored in your body. Weight loss, in turn, helps in improving diseases like diabetes (9).
Research says that black pepper essential oil is useful in preventing the cattle tick Rhipicephalus microplus. In a study, it inhibited the egg-laying of Rhipicephalus microplus by up to 96%. Also, when combined with the oil of C. limonum, it destroyed Rhipicephalus microplus with 100% efficacy (10).
What Blends With Black Pepper Oil?
Most essential oils blend well with black pepper oil, for instance, citrus oils, spice oils, and floral oils. It also goes well with coconut oil and almond oil. Black pepper oil can also substitute pink pepper oil.
The essential oils that can blend well with black pepper oil include:
- Clary sage oil
- Sandalwood oil
- Clove oil
- Geranium oil
- Frankincense oil
- Fennel oil
- Coriander oil
- Lavender oil
- Ylang-ylang oil
- Lemon oil
- Juniper oil
- Grapefruit oil
- Ginger oil
- Bergamot oil
- Lime oil
- Mandarin oil
How To Use Black Pepper Oil?
- Inhalation: You can inhale the black pepper oil directly from the bottle to relieve a blocked nose. Inhaling the oil directly can also elevate your mood, boost your alertness, and mental stamina. It’s even favorite among sports personnel. To inhibit your cravings for smoking, inhale the oil from the bottle.
- Massage: Mix 2 to 3 drops of black pepper oil with a carrier oil like coconut oil or olive oil. Apply this mixture on your chest and massage. Understand that every essential oil is potent. Hence, it cannot be applied directly on the skin. It needs to be diluted first.
- Ingestion: Black pepper oil is not recommended for ingestion or oral intake directly unless an expert prescribes you.
- Muscle pain: Mix a few drops of black pepper oil with any carrier oil and rub vigorously over the aching area to get rid of the pain.
- Flavoring: To enhance the flavor of a soup, add one to two drops of black pepper oil to it. It also acts as an appetizer.
- Indigestion: To get relief from digestive troubles such as lose motion or constipation, add a few drops of black pepper oil to your favorite smoothie.
Side Effects Of Black Pepper Oil
Irritation: If your skin is sensitive, black pepper oil can aggravate it. Dilute it with a friendly oil such as coconut oil to make it soothing. If you are using the black pepper oil for the first time, it’s worth doing a patch test.
Patch test: Apply a small amount of diluted black pepper oil with a cotton swab over your forearm. Within ten minutes, if there is no redness or irritation, at the site of application, know that you are not allergic to black pepper oil.
To make the best use of black pepper oil, make sure you buy a high-quality oil and follow the instructions properly. If you are having any disease or are under any medication, talk to your doctor before using black pepper oil. Also, you need to be more cautious if you are pregnant or nursing.