Far and away one of the most widely used spices in the world today (one of the most widely used spices in human history, for that matter), black pepper – and its essential oils, like those featured in FOCUS – is so much more than just a culinary staple.
Black pepper essential oils are frequently used for medicinal purposes, and this spice can also be used as a preservative or in perfumes. Thanks to its major active chemical agent piperine, it’s also a powerful all-natural medicine.
To learn a little bit more about everything that black pepper REALLY brings to the table, let’s dive into this quick guide!
The History of Black Pepper
The history of black pepper is pretty unique, at least as far as spices go.
Unlike its table partner salt, which can be found or produced pretty much anywhere in the world, black pepper is indigenous only to a small province in southwest India called Kerala.
The ancient Greeks and the ancient Romans “peppered” their trade reports with references to this spice. This suggests that there was a significant amount of trade between India and Western civilization dating back thousands of years, revolving around an almost impossible to find otherwise spice – black pepper.1
Other historical records show that as early as 1000 BC traders in Southern Arabia were able to corner the market on black pepper, enjoying a ruthless monopoly on the spice while also stockpiling tremendous wealth built around pepper.
These ancient traders were pretty shrewd about protecting the spice, telling fantastical stories to scare outsiders off of cultivating it on their own. Westerners were told that they would be attacked by dragons guarding “pepper pits”, and that only a handful out of a hundred men would come back with enough pepper to make the journey worthwhile.2
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The monopoly on the pepper trade may have inadvertently led to the discovery of the Americas. European nations (particularly Italy and Spain) were pushing to open up the Silk Road for their own interests. Finding pepper (and other spices) was a big impetus for Christopher Columbus to find a new trade route to India that would open up these new opportunities.
Of course, Columbus was in for a bit of a surprise when he filled the holds of his ships with what he believed to be pepper brought back from the “West Indies”, only to discover back in Spain that the ships were filled with chili peppers and not black peppercorns at all!
Strong and spicy smelling, the essential oils made from the black pepper is very reminiscent of clove oil. Sweet and spicy, it is immediately recognizable by anyone on the planet that has had ground pepper added to a dish.
Depending upon the quality of black pepper oil, the color usually ranges from a light amber color to a more yellow-green color (with light amber being the higher quality of the two), and viscosity levels that are very watery.
Essential oils are extracted from unripe and sun-dried peppercorns through a steam distillation process. This is a process that usually results in a yield of close to 2% essential oils compared to the overall amount of peppercorns used in the process.
A number of varied biochemicals in this oil do the “heavy lifting” as far as producing the positive benefits that black pepper essential oils bring to the table are concerned.3
Some of these chemical constituents include, but are not limited to quite a wide variety of terpenes:
These different chemical constituents work together to provide different benefits, many of which we are going to be highlighted below.
Benefits of Black Pepper Essential Oil
The most significant of these benefits include acting as a powerful antiseptic and antispasmodic, working as an antitoxin and antioxidant, improving digestive processes, and even working as a tonic to help rejuvenate your spleen.
As far as utilizing black pepper oil goes, there are a couple of different approaches you can take.
One of the most popular ways is to use a “burner” or vaporizer. Black pepper oil can be used in vapor therapy and inhaled, working to clear the mind, provide a lot of focus and stress relief, but also adding quite a bit of warmth to those that are feeling chilly and under the weather. Black pepper can be found in MONQ’s personal essential oil diffuser Active.
Blending black pepper oils in with carrier oils, massage oils, or other essential oils can also work wonders when applied topically. This approach can improve circulation, help to heal bruises faster, and can help heal rheumatoid arthritis, muscular aches and pains, and stiffness in your joints and tendons.
Black pepper essential oils can be combined with “base creams” as well. These topical combination creams can be applied to alleviate aching muscles, to stimulate your appetite and elevate your metabolism, and can even be effective at reducing high body.
These kinds of creams have been shown to improve the overall appearance of skin, too. Black pepper oil works to repair laugh lines and wrinkles, even out blemishes, and fight back against acne and other skin conditions caused by bacteria.
And, of course, black pepper oil can be used in a portable essential oil diffuser to provide many of these same health effects.
Uses for Black Pepper Essential Oil
As we alluded to above, there are a lot of benefits you’ll enjoy when you take advantage of everything that black pepper brings to the table.
Some of the biggest benefits available from this essential oil include: 4
- The ability to improve your digestion, breaking down food consistently and making its resources more bioavailable
- Relieving spasms almost immediately after topical application while preventing them from happening again in the future
- Eliminating excess gas, dissolving all of that discomfort, and preventing gas from building up later down the line
- The ability to reduce arthritic pain as well as stress and pressure on your muscles, tendons, and joints
Of course, those benefits really only begin to scratch the surface of everything that black pepper essential oil is capable of doing. Try MONQ’s relieve blend to help you feel recovery with a natural solution to aches and discomfort.
Here’s a bit more of an in-depth dive into the black pepper benefits you’ll enjoy most!
Black pepper essential oils, when inhaled with the help of a vaporizer or diffuser, have the ability to alleviate your fatigue almost instantly. The fragrance of this spice will be strong and spicy, waking you up from whatever it is that is fatiguing you like a fog horn. You’ll be able to maintain that alertness for a lot longer than you would have by drinking a giant cup of coffee, too. This is the specific reason we have utilized black pepper oil in Vibrant Diffuser, for instance, and we use it in a very dilute fashion, and yet it remains effective.
Two or three drops and first is usually more than enough to wake you up from even the most extreme state of fatigue. Too much can cause dizziness or discomfort. Start with small drops and build up from there until you hit your sweet spot.
Maintains Healthy Circulation
Circulatory medical conditions are on the rise for a variety of different reasons, and yet more people are dealing with poor circulation today than ever before. It’s not exactly an effortless problem to resolve with modern medicine, either.
Using black pepper essential oil (in conjunction with a topical carrier oil or cream) that gets massaged into areas of your body that are negatively impacted by poor circulation will work wonders to “jump start” the flow of blood throughout your body.
Obviously, you’ll want to apply this concoction to your chest so as to jumpstart the circulation driven by your heart. But you’ll also want to make sure that you evenly apply and massage the same kind of oil from your chest out to your extremities (particularly your legs, which are more commonly impacted by low levels of circulation) as well.
This “greases the tracks”, so to speak, and allows your circulation to improve naturally and somewhat gradually – without any shocks to your circulatory system that could prove dangerous.
Improves the Body’s Ability To Heal
The healing and regenerative properties of black pepper essential oils are no joke.
Applying just a 1% – 2% black pepper oil solution to a carrier cream or oil directly to any bumps or bruises on your body will have you healing them faster than you ever would have thought possible.
It’s not at all uncommon for bruises to completely disappear within 24 hours after regular application of this kind of combination cream, and your muscles, your joints, and your tendons will relax as well.
Your circulation will improve, allowing red and white blood cells to more efficiently shuttle resources to these wounds to clear them up. On top of that, your blood will be better oxygenated and more effective at fighting these wounds from the inside out, too.
Black pepper aromatherapy has been proven to be wonderfully effective at alleviating anxiety.
This oil can stop stress and anxiety dead in its tracks whenever it starts to build your mind and your body while helping to “blow off steam” naturally.
A formula for stress elimination is two drops of black pepper oil combined with two drops of lavender oil. The resulting concoction is relaxing and warm, spicy and herbaceous. Not long after you begin inhaling these essential oils will you start to feel a real sense of peace and calm wash over you. It is for this reason that Zen Diffuser includes black pepper oil; namely that it can alleviate stress.
You can even blend these oils into a carrier oil and store them in a small container, applying a drop or two to your wrists or your chest whenever you are starting to feel anxious to alleviate these feelings as well.
Add a few drops of this oil to your hands, rub them together, and then deeply breathe the vapors created into your body for a quick fix, too.
All things considered, it should be obvious to see that black pepper is so much more than just a companion spice to salt and something that you reach for every time your favorite foods need a subtle, spicy kick.
Sure, you’ll want to continue to spice up your favorite dishes with a shake or two of black pepper, but you’ll also want to take advantage of all the benefits that black pepper has been providing us and our ancestors for literally thousands of years.
The side effects that these essential oil carries are about as low risk as you are going to find in an all-natural medicine and healing agent, and that’s really saying something. Black pepper oil is safe and effective.6
And honestly, when you consider all of the benefits, you’d have to be at least a little bit crazy not to try black pepper essential oils out for yourself! If you’re new to essential oils, try it out in our personal aromatherapy diffuser, Active. This particular blend contains black pepper for you to give it a try, as well as orange and sage essential oils. Let us know in the comments what you think!
Photo credits: mirzamlk/shutterstock.com, marylooo/shutterstock.com, Lana_M/shutterstock.com,