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Black pepper

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Black pepper botanically named as Piper nigrum, is a flowering vine in the family Piperaceae, cultivated for its fruit, which is usually dried and used as a spice and seasoning. The fruit, known as a peppercorn when dried, is approximately 5 millimetres in diameter, dark red when fully mature. Black peppers are native to India and are extensively cultivated there and elsewhere in tropical regions. Dried ground pepper has been used since antiquity for both its flavor and as a medicine. Black pepper is the world's most traded spice.
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Botanical Names
Piper nigrum
Indian Names
Sanskrit : Maricha Bengali : Golmorich, Kalimirch Gujarati : Kalamari, Kalomirich Hindi : Golmirch, Kalimirch Malayalam : Kurumulaku Marathi : Kalimirch Kannada : Karemensu Tamil : Milagu Telugu : Miriyalu, Maichamu
Chemical Constituents
A major constituent of Piper nigrum includes a pungent alkaloid, piperine. A number of alkaloids/ amides ex. Pipericine, piperettine, piperanine, piperamides, pipericides, guineensine, sarmentine; Propenylphenols viz., eugenol, myristicine, safrole; Mono and sesquiterpenes ex. 1,8 cineole, -cymene, carvone, b-bisabolene.
Pesticide Limits
A limit for pesticide is one of the major issues in standardization of medicinal plants and products in view of the worldwide widespread use of pesticides in cultivated plants. The presence of pesticides in extracts increase the health risk by many folds. The pesticides can be extremely irritant on skin as well as in the internal organs, it is essential to monitor its concentration as a part of GMP. Various analytical methods for the quantitative determination of pesticides by gas chromatography coupled with mass-spectrophotometer are in use. Konark Research Foundation (KRF), a NABL certified lab is well equipped with the latest technology and instruments and monitors the pesticide limit as part of its GMP.
Chromatographic Profile
From the pharmacopoeial perspective, a better quality control of raw material can be achieved by specifying a quantitative test procedure for the determination of the range or a minimum content by specifying a quantitative test procedure for the determination of the range or a minimum content of the marker substances or the ‘active’ ingredient. A chromatographic finger profile represents qualitative/ quantitative determination of various components present in a complex plant extract irrespective whether or not their exact identity is known. Thin layer chromatographic technique is the simplest and least expensive method that provides plenty of information on the composition of raw herbs and its preparation. For quantitative analysis of active ingredients or marker substances with simultaneous separation and detection High Pressure liquid chromatography is the best technique. We use the latest model of HPLC for all its analysis.
Limits of Impurities
A test requirement for foreign organic matter would ensure the extent of contamination of extraneous matters such as filth and other parts of botanicals not covered by the definition of the herbal drug. Since sand and soil are predictable contaminants of botanicals, test requirements for ‘total ash’, water soluble ash’, ‘acid soluble ash’, residue on ignition and sulphated ash would be expected to limit such contaminants. Test requirement for heavy metals in botanical raw material are probably more relevant for parts of plants growing under ground than for the aerial parts of the plant. The presence of high levels of minerals interacts with the final product there by affecting its keeping quality.
Microbial Limits
If the raw herb is to be used directly without boiling in water prior to consumption, restrictive limits on microbial contaminants are required for pathogens such as Salmonella sp. Enterobacter and E. coli which are causative agent for various gastro-intestinal diseases. A lower level of yeasts and molds and a limit on total aerobes are considered appropriate in plant material for topical use. The presence of aflatoxins detected by chemical means is generally independent of the number of viable molds that are detected using microbiological methods. Aflatoxins in microgram quantity are capable of giving serious hypersentivity reactions which can be extremely harmful to human health.
Pharmacology
Black pepper has been found to have antioxidant properties and anti-carcinogenic effects, especially when compared to chili. Piperine present in black pepper acts as a thermogenic compound. Piperine enhances the thermogenesis of lipid and accelerates energy metabolism in the body and also increases the serotonin and beta-endorphin production in the brain. Piperine and other components from black pepper may also be helpful in treating vitiligo, although when combined with UV radiation should be staggered due to the effect of light on the compound. The ethanol extract of Piper nigrum showed higher activity against the gram negative organism Salmonella thypii and lowest against ethanol extract of Piper nigrum against E.coli. Water extract of P. nigrum has antagonistic action on n-methyl-d-aspartate (NMDA) receptor which might contribute to the drug’s anticonvulsant properties. The major constituent piperine possesses CNS depressant, antipyretic, analgesic, anti-inflammatory, and antioxidant and hepatoprotective properties. It is an inhibitor of rat cytochrome P450-2B activity. In humans piperine increases the bioavailability of anti tubercular drugs when given together.
Health Benefits
Like many eastern spices, pepper was historically both a seasoning and a medicine. Black Pepper was believed to cure illness such as constipation, diarrhea, earache, gangrene, heart disease, hernia, hoarseness, indigestion, insect bites, insomnia, joint pain, liver problems, lung disease, oral abscesses, sunburn, tooth decay, and toothaches. Various sources from the 5th century onward also recommend pepper to treat eye problems, often by applying salves or poultices made with pepper directly to the eye. Nevertheless, Black pepper either powdered or its decoction is widely used in traditional Indian medicine and as a home remedy for relief from sore throat, throat congestion, cough etc.
Research References
• www.pubmed.gov Pubmed, a wellknown site has listed important studies going on around the world in various universities. These include….. 1) Pellitorine, a potential anti-cancer lead compound against HL6 and MCT-7 cell lines and microbial transformation of piperine from Piper Nigrum.Ee GC, Lim CM, Rahmani M, Shaari K, Bong CF.Molecules. 2010 Apr 5;15(4):2398-404.PMID: 20428051. 2) Pellitorine, a potential anti-cancer lead compound against HL6 and MCT-7 cell lines and microbial transformation of piperine from Piper Nigrum.(Ee GC, Lim CM, Rahmani M, Shaari K, Bong CF.Molecules. 2010 Apr 5;15(4):2398-404.PMID: 20428051). 3) Piperine, the main alkaloid of Thai black pepper, protects against neurodegeneration and cognitive impairment in animal model of cognitive deficit like condition of Alzheimer's disease.(Chonpathompikunlert P, Wattanathorn J, Muchimapura S.Food Chem Toxicol. 2010 Mar; 48(3):798-802. Epub 2009 Dec 23.PMID: 20034530). 4) Antispermatogenic and antifertility effects of fruits of Piper nigrum L. in mice.(Mishra RK, Singh SK.Indian J Exp Biol. 2009 Sep;47(9):706-14.PMID: 19957882). 5) Larvicidal effects of crude extracts of dried ripened fruits of Piper nigrum against Culex quinquefasciatus larval instars.(Vasudevan K, Malarmagal R, Charulatha H, Saraswatula VL, Prabakaran K.J Vector Borne Dis. 2009 Jun;46(2):153-6. No abstract available. PMID: 19502696). 6) Chemistry and in vitro antioxidant activity of volatile oil and oleoresins of black pepper (Piper nigrum).(Kapoor IP, Singh B, Singh G, De Heluani CS, De Lampasona MP, Catalan CA.J Agric Food Chem. 2009 Jun 24;57(12):5358-64.PMID: 19456163). 7) A new natural product and insecticidal amides from seeds of Piper nigrum Linn.(Siddiqui BS, Gulzar T, Begum S, Afshan F, Sultana R.Nat Prod Res. 2008;22(13):1107-11.PMID: 18855209). 8) Histamine release inhibitory activity of Piper nigrum leaf.(Hirata N, Naruto S, Inaba K, Itoh K, Tokunaga M, Iinuma M, Matsuda H.Biol Pharm Bull. 2008 Oct;31(10):1973-6.PMID: 18827366). 9) Antispasmodic effect of Piper nigrum fruit hot water extract on rat ileum.(Naseri MK, Yahyavi H.Pak J Biol Sci. 2008 Jun 1;11(11):1492-6.PMID: 18817253). 10) Piperine, the potential functional food for mood and cognitive disorders. ( Wattanathorn J, Chonpathompikunlert P, Muchimapura S, Priprem A, Tankamnerdthai O.Food Chem Toxicol. 2008 Sep;46(9):3106-10. Epub 2008 Jun 29.PMID: 18639606). 11) Isolation and amplification of genomic DNA from recalcitrant dried berries of black pepper (Piper nigrum L.)--a medicinal spice.(Dhanya K, Kizhakkayil J, Syamkumar S, Sasikumar B.Mol Biotechnol. 2007 Oct;37(2):165-8.PMID: 17914177). 12) Potential use of Piper nigrum ethanol extract against pyrethroid-resistant Aedes aegypti larvae.(Simas NK, Lima Eda C, Kuster RM, Lage CL, de Oliveira Filho AM.Rev Soc Bras Med Trop. 2007 Jul-Aug; 40(4):405-7.PMID: 17876460). 1. Indian Herbal Pharmacopoeia (Revised New Edition 2002). 2. Standardization of Botanicals, Volume 2- By Dr. V. Rajpal. 3. www.pubmed.gov