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Black Pepper oil: the aromatherapy and health benefits of black pepper essential oil

Updated on August 22, 2009

Introduction to black pepper

Black pepper essential oil is derived from the peppercorns of a tall, vining jungle plant.

Pepper was once considered a precious commodity; it was so valuable that the ancient Turks taxed it heavily, and the French, Dutch, and Portuguese even went to war over the routes that would allow them to trade the fruit of this valuable plant.

Today, black pepper, whose plants grow for up to twenty years, is grown in parts of Africa and Asia, and the oil is distilled mainly in India, Malaysia, and Singapore.

Although useful for many things, black pepper oil is no longer considered so precious, as the peppercorns produced by these long-lasting plants yield almost two percent of their weight in essential oil.

A botanical drawing of the black pepper plant and seeds, from 1832.
A botanical drawing of the black pepper plant and seeds, from 1832.
Ground pepper from a pepper mill. Image is in the public domain.
Ground pepper from a pepper mill. Image is in the public domain.
Black pepper still on the plant, unripened. This image is in the public domain.
Black pepper still on the plant, unripened. This image is in the public domain.

Health benefits of black pepper oil

The hot, spicy scent of black pepper essential oil is warming to cold bodies and even cold hearts.

Black pepper oil is an excellent remedy for many skin conditions, including chilblains and dermatitis.

Its warming effects cause blood to circulate better near the skin, which means that it can help bruises heal more quickly, and its antibacterial properties mean that it's also a good alternative to traditional antibiotic creams.

When using black pepper oil on the skin, be sure to dilute it properly in a carrier oil, as black pepper oil used on its own can cause burns.

A solution of carrier oil (such as sweet almond oil) and black pepper oil will also help with muscle complaints.

Used as an aromatherapy massage oil, it will increase circulation, flushing away the toxins that are often a cause of sore muscles.

It can also be rubbed into tender joints as a cure for arthritis pain and stiffness.

Beyond this, black pepper oil can actually help improve poor muscle tone by bringing more blood flow to out-of-shape muscles.

Dispersed throughout the air of a room by a candle, or aromatherapy diffuser, black pepper oil will relieve some of the respiratory symptoms of the flu, colds, bronchitis, and asthma.

The warmth of black pepper oil will help break up mucous in the lungs; patients can receive these effects through simply using black pepper oil in an aromatherapy diffuser or through a chest rub or compress that involves diluted black pepper oil.

Black pepper essential oil can also combat general bacterial and viral infections. Because it increases blood flow, it helps the body overcome these diseases more quickly, and it can increase sweating, lowering the body temperature during bouts involving high fever.

These same stimulant and antibacterial properties of black pepper oil make it a possible solution for kidney and bladder infections as well as infections of the skin.

Botanical drawing of black pepper, from Koehler's "Medicinal Plants" (1887)
Botanical drawing of black pepper, from Koehler's "Medicinal Plants" (1887)

Black pepper aromatherapy properties and aromatherapy products

During the winter, black pepper oil is a great addition to a warmth-generating aromatherapy mixture for the home.

In an aromatherapy diffuser or home-made, oil-based perfume combination, it will make a room feel warmer and cozier, and it will help dispel sickness and emotional coldness or weariness.

For this purpose, black pepper oil blends well with other warming oils, such as clove oil, and it balances well against citrus scents such as lemon oil and lime oil, and also with luxurious, rich scents such as frankincense oil.

As an aromatherapy oil, black pepper will stimulate the mind. Use black pepper oil in an aromatherapy diffuser while studying or working to increase mental clarity and focus, to stay alert, and to continue working through a long, tired night.

Black pepper oil is also prescribed by many aromatherapy practitioners to ease life or emotional changes, as it can help keep one alert through these changes while balancing the emotions.

The stimulant quality of black pepper oil also means it is an aphrodisiac. It can be used in a diffuser or in foods to awaken sexual desire and to warm cold feelings.

Molton Brown do a range of black pepper products, aimed mostly at men. My husband uses and really likes the black pepper shower gel.

Black pepper oil can also be a solution for general impotence, and it will stimulate the urinary system as well, detoxifying the kidneys and increasing urine flow.

Drawing of pepper trading in the Portuguese port of Calicut, India. From the atlas "Civitates orbis terrarum", 1572.
Drawing of pepper trading in the Portuguese port of Calicut, India. From the atlas "Civitates orbis terrarum", 1572.

Black pepper oil, diet, and digestion

Because it is a stimulant, black pepper essential oil, taken internally, can increase the metabolism and help dieters lose weight more efficiently.

This oil can also help with digestive complains by relieving gas and flatulence, suppressing nausea, and getting rid of diarrhea.

Used regularly, black pepper oil will detoxify the colon and improve its tone, making the digestive system work more smoothly and effectively.

Black pepper oil will also stimulate the appetite, making it a useful tool for combating eating disorders.

Black pepper oil warnings and cautions

If taken internally in too large a dosage, black pepper essential oil can cause kidney damage, so be sure to always consult a certified aromatherapist before ingesting any amount of this powerful oil.

Because of its strong warmth, black pepper oil used alone can cause surface skin burns, but when it is properly blended and used in low doses, it is non-toxic and a completely safe remedy for many common ailments.

It should therefore be mixed with a carrier oil; sweet almond oil is ideal for this.


Comments

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    • mia capretta profile image

      mia capretta 

      6 years ago from North America

      Great Hub! Black pepper oil is completely new to me, thanks for sharing.

    • rajan jolly profile image

      Rajan Singh Jolly 

      6 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

      Nice informative hub on black pepper oil.

      I am giving a link to this hub of yours in my hub on benefits of black pepper.

      Thanks for sharing this info.

    • Plants and Oils profile imageAUTHOR

      Plants and Oils 

      8 years ago from England

      It's an interesting and useful essential oil.

    • Sandyspider profile image

      Sandy Mertens 

      8 years ago from Wisconsin, USA

      This is the first time I have heard of pepper oil. I probably use black pepper on my food than most people do.

    • Plants and Oils profile imageAUTHOR

      Plants and Oils 

      9 years ago from England

      Pepper in food is a great start! Unless you have a bad ulcer.

    • BrianS profile image

      Brian Stephens 

      9 years ago from Castelnaudary, France

      I had never realised there were so many natural products for all sorts of things, black pepper has only ever been used on food in our house.

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