Black pepper (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. When dried, the fruit is known as a peppercorn. When fresh and fully mature, it is approximately 5 millimetres (0.20 in) in diameter, dark red, and, like all drupes, contains a single seed. Peppercorns, and the ground pepper derived from them, may be described simply as pepper, or more precisely as black pepper (cooked and dried unripe fruit), green pepper (dried unripe fruit) and white pepper (ripe fruit seeds).Black pepper is native to south India, and is extensively cultivated there and elsewhere in tropical regions. Currently Vietnam is the world’s largest producer and exporter of pepper and producing 34% of the world’s Piper nigrum crop.
HOW TO GROW
- Soak your black pepper seeds in water for 24 hours prior to planting.
- Sow seeds very lightly, only about ¼ inch below the surface of the soil and about 3 inches apart.
- Moisten carefully with a spray bottle. Keep the soil moist and warm until the seeds germinate about 30 days later.
- Move to indirect sunlight once they sprout.
- Transplant the healthiest seedlings outside or to larger growing pots when they are 4 to 6 inches high.
- Keep the soil constantly moist for good results. Mist regularly with a spray bottle to keep a humid environment. Water container plants even more often as they will dry out fast. No need to keep the soil sopping wet but don’t let it completely dry out between each watering either.
- Provide a fence or trellis for the black pepper vines, which may reach about 15 feet long. Indoors, grow them in a hanging pot so the vines can spread out.
- Fertilize every spring with a well balanced organic fertilizer. Fertilize house plants every four weeks.
- Pepper plants are not susceptible to many pests or disease if they are well taken care of. Plant them in high quality soil and do not over or under water. Blast off pests with a hose. Use organic sprays if bugs appear to be a nuisance. Remove diseased or infested foliage from the garden.
- The health benefits of black pepper include relief from respiratory disorders, coughs, the common cold, constipation, indigestion, anemia, impotency, muscular strains, dental disease, pyorrhea, diarrhea, and heart disease.
- Because of its antibacterial properties, pepper is also used to preserve food.
- It is a rich source of manganese, iron, potassium, vitamin-C, vitamin K, and dietary fiber.
- Black pepper is also a very good anti-inflammatory agent.According to Ayurvedic medicine, black pepper also helps to prevent ear-aches and gangrene.
- It is also good for conditions of hernia, hoarseness and insect bites.
- It is also commonly used to treat conditions of tooth decay and toothache. In ancient times, pepper was also administered to treat vision problems.