Black Pepper Essential Oil

Black pepper is one of the oldest spices known to man and is considered the king of spices. Its scientific name is piper nigrum, and the word 'piper' is derived from a Sanskrit word.

It is used both in cooking and for medicinal purposes, and has been for centuries. Usually, it is the pepper pods that are used, but sometimes, the essential oils from pepper are extracted and used.

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The oil obtained is called black pepper oil. Black pepper oil is used for a number of varied purposes, and in this article, we will look at what these uses are.

What is black pepper essential oil?

The essential oil that is extracted from black pepper is called black pepper essential oil. The oil has all the main components of black pepper, with the added advantage that it is volatile and can be used in aromatherapy.

Black pepper oil is mostly manufactured in India, Singapore, and Malaysia; the origin of the plant is also said to be in the same countries, extending to China, Indonesia, and Madagascar.

How to extract black pepper essential oil?

Usually, the steam distillation method is used to extract essential oils. For black pepper, however, although the same process can be used, nowadays the carbon dioxide distillation process is used.

There are two ways of doing CO2 distillation. One is to use liquid CO2 as the solvent that will dilute the essential oils from the pepper pods and enable them to be extracted. The other is to use the vapor of CO2 and accomplish the same purpose. The only difference in the methods is that in the first process, liquid CO2 is used while in the second; CO2 in its gaseous form is used.

Once the oils are extracted from the pepper, the CO2 is allowed to dissipate leaving the pure oil behind.

Physical properties

Black pepper oil is similar to clove oil in that it is strong and spicy. Its color can be anything from a greenish yellow to amber.

Chemical composition

Like most other essential oils, black pepper oil is not composed of only one ingredient, but is a combination of a number of different components.

The following is a list of the active ingredients in black pepper oil.

  • camphene
  • a-pinene
  • a-phellandrene
  • sabinene
  • limonene
  • caryophyllene
  • myrcene
  • a-thujone
  • terpinen-4-ol.
  • b-pinene
  • b-bisabolene
  • b-farnesene
  • linalool

Therapeutic applications

Pepper has a number of benefits and black pepper oil is very useful in a number of medical applications. While the pepper pods themselves are used in cooking and in medicine, black pepper oil is usually used only in medication and in aromatherapy. There are a number of ways in which black pepper is useful to us and they are listed below.

Black pepper oil is an analgesic and is therefore useful in:

  • pain relief
  • rheumatism
  • muscular aches
  • physical coldness
  • fever

Black pepper oil is also an antiseptic and an antitoxic and can be used as a digestive, diuretic, and tonic for the spleen.

Precautions

There are generally no negative or toxic effects to the use of black pepper oil. There is one precaution that needs to be taken though. Pepper oil is an irritant, and in many cases, its therapeutic use is as a counter-irritant. One of the consequences of this is that it can cause irritation to sensitive skin.

It is best to take a test dose of the oil, even when you are only applying it topically before taking a full dose. Also, pepper oil should never be used in its pure form and must always be diluted before use.

What are the other oils that pepper oil can be blended with?

Black pepper oil is spicy hot oil, and it can therefore be blended well with warm, woody oils such as rosemary oil, cedar wood or ginger oils. It can also be mixed with other oils for different purposes such as eucalyptus oil, thyme oil, oregano, lemongrass and basil oil.

Black Pepper Essential Oil
Black Pepper Essential Oil
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