Description: Piper nigrum L. is a perennial woody vine with aerial roots at the stem nodes. Leaves are shiny, broad, alternate and heart-shaped. Flowers are small and white. The fruits are globular berries, about 5 mm in diameter, green when unripe but turn bright red upon maturity and each bears a single seed.
Origin: Native to Southeast Asia.
Phytoconstituents: Piperine, sabinene, nigramides A-S, pipertipine, piper-citine; pellitorine, guineensine, piperettine, pipericine, dipiperamides A-C, pipnoohine, pipyahyine and others.[3-10]
Traditional Medicinal Uses: The plant is used in many Asian countries as a stimulant, for the treatment of colic, rheumatism, headache, diarrhoea, dysentery, cholera, menstrual pains, removing excessive gas and increasing the flow of urine. It is also used in folk medicine for stomach disorders and digestive problems, neuralgia and scabies. In Ayurveda, it is used for arthritis, asthma, fever, cough, catarrh, dysentery, dyspepsia, flatulence, haemorrhoids, urethral discharge and skin damage. In Chinese medicine, it is used for vomiting, diarrhoea and gastric symptoms. Homeopathically, it is used for irritation of mucous membrane and galactorrhoea. A heavy dose of pepper with wild bamboo shoots is said to cause abortion. In Assam, a method of birth control include Cissampelos pareira in combination with Piper nigrum, root of Mimosa pudica and Hibiscus rosa-sinensis.ll2] The fruits are used to remove excessive gas in system, increase flow of urine, treat colic, rheumatism, headache, diarrhoea, dysentery, cholera, and menstrual pains. White pepper is used for cholera, malaria, stomachache while black pepper is used for abdominal fullness, adenitis, cancer, cholera, cold, colic, diarrhoea, dysentery, dysmenorrhoea, dysuria, furuncles, headache, gravel, nausea, poisoning due to fish, mushrooms or shellfish.
Pharmacological Activities: Antibacterial,[14-16] Antidiabetic, Antifungal^1^ Anti-inflammatory, Antineoplastic, Antioxidant,[21-26] Gastroprotective, Hepatoprotective,[28'29] Hypolipidaemic, Antimutagenic, Antithyroidal and Insecticidal.[5'6'9'34-38]
Dosage: A single dose ranges from 300-600 mg of the berries is taken internally for stomach disorder. Homeopathic recommendations for irritation of mucous membranes and galactorrhoea are 5-10 drops, 1 tablet or 5-10 globules 1-3 times daily. For the treatment of haemorrhoids, 5-15 whole peppercorns are recommended to be taken. For congestion, cold, head cold, chicken soup with black pepper can be taken. The average daily dose of the berries is stated to be 1 to 3 g as a decoction, powder or pills, for the treatment of dyspepsia, vomiting, diarrhoea and colic resulting from cold.
Adverse Reactions: No known side effects with appropriate therapeutic dos-ages. Hypersensitivity may occur in certain people. The fruit can be safely consumed with proper usage. However, when taken in large amounts in children, apnoea can occur.
Toxicity: P nigrum did not cause any adverse effects when tested with rats at doses 5 to 20 times normal human intake.
Contraindications: Not to be taken during pregnancy and lactation or by children and people who are allergic to it.
Drug-Herb Interactions: P nigrum extracts inhibits the activity of cytochrome P450 enzymes.[845-49] Piperine enhanced the bioavailability of beta lactam antibiotics, amoxycillin trihydrate and cefotaxime sodium significantly in rats. Piperine potentiated pentobarbitone sleeping time in a dose dependant manner, with peak effect at 30 min. Piperine enhanced the bioavailability of phenytoin significantly, possibly by increasing the absorption/511 Piperine from black peppers increased the AUC of phenytoin, propranolol and theophylline in healthy volunteers and plasma concentrations of rifampicin in patients with pulmonary tuberculosis.1521 Avoid concurrent use with drugs metabolised by cytochrome P450 enzymes.[431 Avoid concurrent use with anticoagulant agents as well.[531
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