15 December 2021 / Caitlin Devlin
Black Pepper Essential Oil: History, Uses and Benefits
This classic spice has been considered a valuable remedy since the time of Hippocrates.
Perhaps the best known spice in the world, black pepper’s earliest uses are recorded as being in India, China and Madagascar.
The spice was so valuable in the ancient world that it was used as currency amongst the Ancient Romans, and as a sign of power and wealth amongst the Greeks. However, many people, including Hippocrates, were concerned that the expensiveness of the spice overshadowed its medicinal value. Their worries weren’t misplaced – even today, many people simply don’t know about the myriad of benefits that black pepper oil can have.
It helps manage pain.
Black pepper oil has a warming effect that can soothe aching muscles. Not only that, but it also has anti-inflammatory and antispasmodic properties, both of which allow it to calm aches and pains and relax tense muscles throughout the body. A study in 2014 found that black pepper oil was particularly useful for those with neck pain, leading to an improvement in symptoms when applied topically.
It’s important to note that before black pepper oil is applied to skin it should always be diluted with a carrier oil.
It can improve IBS symptoms.
Depending on the dosage, it’s been found that black pepper oil can have either spasmodic or antispasmodic effects. This means that not only can its antispasmodic properties help to relieve gut pain by relaxing tense muscles, but in a different dosage its spasmodic properties can help with constipation. It also have antidiarrheal effects. This is all to do with the presence of the compound piperine.
Even more interestingly, a study in 2013 found that rats with IBS and depression-like symptoms showed a significant improvement in both conditions after being given piperine. There is evidence that serotonin plays a role in the abnormal brain-gut signalling that may cause IBS, explaining why the two conditions are often linked. The fact that piperine can apparently help treat both is a very exciting discovery.
It lowers cholesterol and blood pressure.
Another rat study, this time in 2010, found that rats fed a high-fat diet showed an decrease in levels of cholesterol and fatty acids after being fed black pepper. It’s also been shown by a 2008 study that the piperine in black pepper may be able to lower blood pressure. These two conditions often go hand in hand – again, black pepper oil proves itself as a fantastically simple home remedy for both.
It can ease anxiety and cigarette cravings.
A clinical study published in a journal about substance dependence found that inhaling black pepper oil can suppress the craving for cigarettes. Subjects in the experimental group found that their cravings were significantly lessened compared to the control group, and negative effects and symptoms of anxiety were also lessened in the black pepper group, once again showing that black pepper is effective at tackling all sides of a condition.
Hippocrates probably would have been pleased to know the advances that are being made in the medical application of black pepper oil. For example, it was recently suggested that black pepper’s pigment production-boosting effects could help to treat the skin condition vitiligo. This research is far from complete, but the future of black pepper oil in both aromatherapy and medicine definitely looks exciting.
Shop our black pepper essential oil here.