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8 Strange Things That Black Pepper Can Be Used For

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8 Weird Benefits Of Black Pepper – None Of Them Have Anything To Do With Cooking

We think of black pepper as that powdery stuff in the can that we shake on foods to give them some extra flavor. You wouldn’t think, offhand,  that the common black pepper you use freely at the table is also a powerful medicinal that is used as a remedy for many different ailments. Its role as a kitchen spice is just the tip of the iceberg for this amazing medicinal plant!

Found naturally in tropical climates, black pepper grows on a trailing, woody vine. A few years after it begins its life cycle, it produces small white blossoms that mature into peppercorns. Did you know that the different colors of peppercorns (most are black but some are green and white) are obtained by picking the peppercorns at different stages?

Some legendary benefits of black pepper include relief for:

  • respiratory ailments
  • common colds
  • indigestion
  • muscle strains
  • diarrhea

Because it has antibacterial properties, black pepper is also utilized to preserve food. Black peppercorns are rich in minerals like potassium, calcium, magnesium, iron, and zinc. Potassium is noted as a critical component of body fluids, and aids in controlling heart rate and regulating blood pressure levels. Iron is necessary for cellular respiration and production of blood cells.

Black pepper can be applied to the skin to aid in treating nerve pain (neuralgia), as well as scabies. It is frequently used on the skin as a counter-irritant to help relieve pain.

In dentistry, peppers have been used as an antiseptic where tooth decay and swelling of the gums is present. In traditional (folk) medicine, peppercorns are used to relieve excess gas (flatulence) and as a treatment for indigestion.

Nothing weird about all that….but there are a few things that I bet you didn’t know black pepper could be used for… let’s get to the 8 weird benefits of black pepper that have absolutely nothing to do with cooking! Please enjoy and share.

Soothe a wet cough

Soothe a wet cough h3ct02/iStock

Fight off a mucus-y cough with a cup of black pepper tea with honey, a remedy rooted in New England folk medicine and traditional Chinese medicine. The pepper stimulates circulation and mucus flow; honey is a natural cough reliever and mild antibiotic. Place 1 teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper and 2 tablespoons of honey in a cup. Fill with boiling water and steep for 15 minutes. Strain and sip.

Another unusual cough remedy: Sprinkle black pepper on a lemon wedge. Suck on the lemon for as long as you can stand for quick relief.

Quit smoking

Quit smoking Mauro_Scarone/iStock

A 2013 study published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine found that when nicotine users inhaled the scent of black pepper oil, their cravings were reduced. Participants reported a slight burning sensation in the throat, which mimicked the sensation they enjoyed when smoking. Researchers suggest smokers smell a drop of the oil on a cotton ball when a craving hits.

Relieve a stuffy nose

Relieve a stuffy nose CentralITAlliance/iStock

Pepper is a natural decongestant. It contains chemicals that irritate membranes in the nose, producing thinner mucus so your sinuses can clear out. Add about five drops of black pepper oil with a dash of eucalyptus oil (pick them up in a natural foods store) to boiling water. Smell the warm mix to unclog sinuses and soothe your nasal passages.

Heal a cut

Heal a cut realitybytes/iStock

Some people swear by black pepper as a home remedy to stop small cuts and scrapes from bleeding. Pepper has antibacterial properties and also appears to makes blood coagulate, stopping bleeding. Legend has it that WWII soldiers used black pepper on the battlefield. The People’s Pharmacy acknowledges that black pepper may help, but recommends applying pressure as a primary way to stop bleeding; in addition, people should always seek immediate medical attention for serious injuries that won’t stop bleeding.

Sources:;;;; Extraordinary Uses for Ordinary Things; Kitchen Cures; Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine

See additional weird benefits of black pepper @ Readers Digest

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