Piper nigrum Linn

Piper nigrum Linn.
Botanical Name:         Piper nigrum Linn.Untitled-133
Synonym:                     Piper aromaticum Lam.
Family:                         Piperaceae
Kingdom:                     Plantae
Order:                            Piperales
Species:                         P. nigrum
Genus:                           Piper
Sindhi Name:               Kari Mirach
Local Name:                Gol Mirch, Kali Mirch
English Name:             Black pepper, Common pepper
Part Used:                    Fruit

Piper nigrum L. is a perennial woody vine which grows up to 5 m high. Leaves are heart-shaped. Flowers are present on long spikes. Fruits are small, globose, and 6-7 mm in diameter. It has mesocarp and pulpy exocarp which turn red when it ripes and on drying it turns black. Seed is whitish and 3-4 mm in diameter.1 Flowering takes place during June and July and fruiting in December and January.2


P. nigrum grows in a warm humid climate and is native to Indo-Malaysian region.1, 4 It is widely cultivated in the tropics, India, East-Indies, and Pakistan. In Pakistan, it is cultivated on the coastal belt of Sindh and Punjab.

Ethnomedicinal Uses in Skin Diseases:


Folliculitis is treated by topical application of ground black pepper in District Shikarpur (Sindh).


 Black pepper, mixed in water, is drunk for curing scabies in District Shikarpur (Sindh).

Animal bites

 Black pepper is also used for curing scorpion sting and snake venom in District Ghotki (Sindh).

Ringworm and scabies

 Ringworm and scabies is treated by sprinkling Piper nigrum L. powder daily on the infected area in District Ghotki (Sindh).


 Milk containing black pepper, black cardamomum, and carom seeds is given for three days in District Ghotki (Sindh).


Piperine is the major and active constituent of black pepper. alkaloids and amides are also present in P. nigrum together with methyl piperine, iperonaline, piperettine, asarinine, pellitorine, piperundecalidine, piperlongumine, piperlonguminine, refractomide A, pregumidiene, and piperlongumine. Fruit contains lignans, such as sesamin, pulvuatilol, and fargesin.8-12 Essential oil of the fruit is a complex mixture, the three major components of which are caryophyllene, pentadecane, and bisaboline. Others include thujine, terpinoline, zingiberine, pcymene, p-methoxy acetophenone and dihydrocarveo. l9,10,12, 13,14 Total content of essential oil comprises of sesquiterpene hydrocarbons and ethers (bisabolene, β-caryophyllene, β- caryophyllene oxide, and α-zingiberene), and saturated aliphatic hydrocarbons, such as pentadecane, tridecane, and heptadecane. Mainly Piper nigrum fruit contains alkamides14, piptigrine, wisanine15, dipiperamide D, and dipiperamide E.16

Chemical Structure:



Medicinal Uses and Pharmacology/Scientific studies:

Black pepper is widely used as a preventive drug for small pox, leprosy, typhoid, and cholera.1 In folk medicine, a onetime treatment of snake bite victims consist of a mixture of 4-5 pieces of dried fruits and 2 tablespoon of ghee.2 It is locally applied for prevention of several skin diseases.3 Externally, it act as rubificent and stimulant to skin.4 It has stimulant effect on digestive and circulatory systems.5 It is also taken orally for treating dyspepsia, malaria, and tremors.6

Aqueous preparation of P. nigrum possessed antibacterial and anti-inflammatory activities. Its content piperine promotes melanocyte proliferation.1,7,18,20,21 Essential oil of its fruit possessed insecticidal, insect repellent, antidepressant, and analgesic activities.22, 25


1- Rizvi, M. A. (2007), Medicinal Plants History Cultivation and Uses, p. 137-138, Hamdard Institute of Advanced studies and Research Publishers, Hamdard University, Karachi-74600, Pakistan.

2- Dhiman, A. K. (2006), Ayurvedic Drug Plants, 186, Daya Publishers, Delhi-110 035, India.

3- Joshi, S. G. (2000), Medicinal Plants, p. 310, Mohan Primlani Oxford & IBH Publishing Co. Pvt.Ltd.66 Janpath, New Delhi 110001, India.

4- Khare, C. P. (2012), Indian Medicinal Plants, p. 492, Springer Science Publishers, New Delhi-110058, India

5-Thomas S.S.Li, (2000), Medicinal Plants, p. 36, Technomic Publications, New Holland, U.S.A.

6- Prof. Bhattacharjee, S. K. (2004), Handbook of Medicinal Plants, p. 270, Pointer Publisher Jaipure 303003 (Raj), India.

7- Lin, Z., Liao, Y., Venkatasamy, R,. Hider, R. C. and Soumyanath, A. (2007). Journal of Pharmacy and Pharmacology, Apr; 59(4):529-36.

8-Tabuneng, W., Bando, H., and Amiya, T. (1983). Studies on the Constituents of the Crude Drug Piper longi Fructus. Chemical & Pharmaceutical Bulletin, 31(10), 1983, 3562-3565.

9-Shankaracharya, N. B., Rao, L. J., Naik, J. P., and Nagalakshmi, S. (1997). Characterization of chemical constituents of Indian Long pepper, Journal of Food Science and Technology, 34(1), 73-75.

10-Sharma, R. K., Rathore, Y. K. S., and Kumar, S. (1983). Chemical Examination of Dried Fruits of Pippali, J. Sci Res/Plant Med, 4(4), 63-65.

11-Atal, C. K., Girotra, R. N., and Dhar, K. L. (1966). Occurrence of Sesamin in Piper longum, Indian Journal of Chemistry, 4, 252-254.

12-Madhusudan, P., and Vandana, K. L. (2001). Tetrahydropiperine, the First Natural Aryl Pentanamide from Piper longum, Biochem Systm Eco, 29(5), 537-539.

13-Das, B., Krishnathan, A., and Madhusudan, P. (1998). Long chain esters and alkamides from Piper longum, Boll Chemico farmaceutico, 137(8), 319-321.

14-Handa, K. L., Nigam, N. C., and Sharma, M. L. (1963). The essential oil of Piper longum, Properties of the Components and Isolation of Two Monocyclic Sesquiterpenes, Perfume Kosmetik, 44(9), 233-235.

15- Internetsearch, www.uni-graz.at/-katzer/ergl/spicebot. html#piperaceae
16- McNamara, F. N., Randall, A., and Gunthorpe, M. J. (2005). Effects of Piperine, the Pungent Component of Black Pepper, at the Human Vanilloid Receptor (Trpv1). British Journal of Pharmacology, 144(6), 781-790.

17- Subehan, Usia, T., Kadota, S., and Tezuka, Y. (2006). Mechanism-based Inhibition of Human Liver Microsomal Cytochrome P450 2D6 (CYP2D6) by Alkamides of Piper nigrum. Planta Med, 72(6), 527-532.

18- Siddiqui, B. S., Gulzar, T., Begum, S., and Afshan, F. (2004), Piptigrine, a new Insecticidal Amide from Piper nigrum Linn. Natural Product Research,18(5),473-477.

19- Tsukamoto, S., Tomise, K., Miyakawa, K., Cha, B. C., Abe, T., Hamada, T., Hirota, H., and Ohta, T. (2002). CYP3A4 Inhibitory Activity of New Bisalkaloids, Dipiperamides D and E, and Cognates from White Pepper, Bioorganic & Medicinal Chemistry, 10(9), 2981-2985.

20- Chaudhry, N. M. and Tariq, P. (2006); Bactericidal Activity of Black Pepper, Bay Leaf, Aniseed and Coriander against Oral Isolates. Pak J Pharm Sci 19(3):214-218.

21- Pratibha, N., Saxena, V. S., Amit, A., D’Souza, P., Bagchi, M., and Bagchi, D. (2004). Anti-inflammatory Activities of Aller-7, a Novel Polyherbal Formulation for Allergic Rhinitis. International Journal of Tissue Reactions, 26(1-2), 43-51.

22- Jeong, C., Park, B., Le, S., Choi, W., Song, C., and Cho, K. (2002), Insecticidal and Acaricidal Activity of Pipernonaline and Piperoctadecalidine Derived from Dried Fruits of Piper longum, Crop Prot, 21(3), 249-251.

23- Lee, S., Park, B., Kim, M., Choi, W., Kim, H., Cho, K., Lee, S., and Hoi-Seon. (2001), Fungicidal Activity of Pipernonaline, A Piperidine Alkaloid Derived from Fruits of Long Pepper, Piper longum, against phytopathogenic fungi, Lee, Crop Prot, 20(6), 523-528.

24- Lokhande, P. D., Gawai, K. R., Kodam, K. M., Kuchekar, B. S., Chabukswar, A. R., and Jagdale, S. C. (2007). Anti-bacterial Activity of some Alkaloids, Pharmacol Toxicol, 2 (6), 574-579.

25- Vedhanayaki, G., Shastri, G. V., and Kuruvilla, A. (2003). Analgesic activity of Piper longum Linn. Root, Indian J Exp Biol, 41 (6), 649- 651.