- Diseases, Disorders & Conditions
Pepper And Allergies To It
The Things you Should Know About a Black Pepper Allergy
Allergies to black pepper do occur and if you are one of the individuals who suffers from this allergy than this article is for you.
Salt and pepper are standard spices that sit on almost every restaurant table in North America. They are two of the most common spices used to season the foods that we consume but when it comes right down to the fact of the matter, pepper may not be one of the better food choices that we can make.
Symptoms of a Sensitivity
Black pepper is one the worlds most common household spices and perhaps this is why it is so surprising to learn that this spice also has the ability to cause severe inflammation of the skin, gastrointestinal tract, and respiratory system.
This spice can and does cause severe trauma to an elite group of individuals who have a sensitivity to it. For these individuals the ingestion or even just the breathing in of black or white pepper can have dramatic consequences.
Upset stomach, inflammation of the urinary tract or inflammation of other areas of the gastrointestinal tract, headache, skin inflammation, swollen eyelids, shortness of breath, chest pains, sore throat, hoarseness, diarrhea as well as other complications can occur. Severe reactions have even been known to cause death in those adversely affected by the powerful properties of this common table spice.
Thankfully severe allergies to black pepper are rare and it is only a few individuals who find themselves unable to tolerate even small amounts of this historical spice.
A Spicy Peak into the History of Pepper
The pepper plant or vine is officially known as Piper nigrum. It is a hardy perennial plant that survives from one year to the next. This woody vine grows wild in the southern areas of India.
It displays beautiful flowering tentacles which stretch out around it. Tiny whitish blossoms beam from a multitude of flat green leaves. The vines bear fruit as the spring turns to summer, and where the woody stems bend and touch the ground, is where the plant will sprout roots to begin new growth.
The peppercorn or seed of the plant has long been valued by man. In the spice trade pepper and ginger hold the dubious distinction of having the longest history of export, their popularity dating back at least 4000 years previous. Monetary wise Peppercorns are the most widely traded spice in the world today.
Most of the historical exporting of black pepper occurred from Southwest India where the plants grew wild and although today their growth is encouraged on farms, these sturdy vines can still be found growing wild in India's countryside.
Black, green and white peppercorns are all harvested from the black pepper plant. Black is the partially ripened fruit, green is the unripe fruit, and white is the seed which is found when the fruit itself is peeled.
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Cayenne Pepper as an Alternative to Black Pepper?
Although severe reactions to black pepper are rare it is recommended that even people who do not suffer allergic reactions to pepper should still consider limiting their ingestion of black and white pepper.
These peppers contain small amounts of a naturally occurring carcinogenic known as safrole and studies conducted way back in the 1960s found that this element caused liver cancer in lab rats which were given large doses of it.
If you would like a safer alternative to black or white pepper consider the use of Red pepper (cayenne pepper) instead. Cayenne pepper does not contain this carcinogenic.
Cayenne is of course probably not a good option for those allergic to pepper, but for these unique individuals thankfully there are a wide variety of other spices available on local grocery shelves, and the majority of those do not have the same potent properties that black pepper offers its users.
We Have Many Spicy Options
Almost every table is decorated with the traditional salt and pepper shaker set. As spices they are two of our most common seasonings but there are many other healthier options.
Garlic is healthy and can add a burst of flavor when needed: Powdered garlic can really spice things up when you want a little extra flavor in your food. Add in onion and celery to naturally spice things up.
Ginger not only adds a nice gentle heat to food but it is also an anti-inflammatory. Many spices have health benefits to them and ginger is one of these. For those who suffer from arthritis or other forms of inflammation it is a healthy spice to sprinkle onto your food.
Dill, thyme, mustard each offer a bold flavoring option. Lemon, orange, lime, and other fruity flavors can also be used to add excitement to many types of food. For meat, salads, and beverages these can add a delightful zest.
Break away from the pepper grind and get into a newer seasoning trend. There are a wide variety of spices to accent and compliment the flavor of the foods on your dinner table. Having a variety set out on the table can be very enticing. It's an enjoyable and decorative way to happy up your mealtime so spice it up.
Set a Variety of Spices and Sauces Onto the Dining Table
I generally add flavorings to food as it cooks but if you own a compact spice rack you can also set it directly onto a buffet table when entertaining so your guests can zest up food to their personal taste preference.
Visit a Peppercorn Plantation.
Health Benefits of Pepper.
Peppercorns and the oil contained within them have long been hailed as a flavor enhancer and health aide.
The healing properties of pepper is used most often to treat problems of the digestive system such as parasitic worms, lack of appetite, diarrhea, digestive problems, and colic, but pepper has also been used to improve the symptoms of coughs, colds and breathing difficulties.
© 2008 Lorelei Cohen