Vampire’s Spice Shelf – Black Pepper

Black pepper is probably the most ubiquitous spice in the world, certainly in the United States. When was the last time you saw a salt shaker without its peppery twin?

You wouldn’t expect pepper to be a healthful thing, but big surprise…it is from a plant, unprocessed, and has benefits. It hasn’t been a hot topic for scientific research (pun only partially intended) but there are many traditional medicinal uses for pepper

Piperine is an akyloid in black pepper (the berry of a kind of evergreen plant) has been compared to the capsaicin in hot peppers (like jalepenos, chilis etc.). Both have anti-inflammatory properties and have been useful in arthritis for some people. It is completely counter-intuitive to my mind, but the anti-inflammatory properties are supposed to help stomach ulcers too…though I can’t imagine chowing down on pepper with an upset stomach.

In aromatherapy, black pepper oil is used to promote awake-ness and mental alertness. Ingesting it is supposed to help mental focus as well. Sounds like as good as excuse as any to throw some pepper on your morning eggs.

Taste-wise, this particular spice has a strong comfort-association for me. My Grandmother (a major influence and a heckuva good cook) was a whiz at using just the right amount of black pepper to give food flavor without blowing your head off. The best thing she made with black pepper was her hamburger gravy. I’m not talking about some fru-fru health food here. I’m talking about gut-filling, make a kid happy, old-fashioned, over-biscuits, I’m-hungry-as-a-newborn-vampire Southern gravy.

Although I wouldn’t recommend a steady diet of hamburger gravy, with or without black pepper, this spice deserves its place at the table.



2 thoughts on “Vampire’s Spice Shelf – Black Pepper

  1. when pepper is used in spells, it offers protection and wards off those who would cause you harm…maybe because of its simultaneous hotness, and healing properties:) and now i’m craving biscuits and gravy…like a vampire for certain!

    • I didn’t know that…I wonder if there is a connection between the dark color of the pepper and the idea of protection too – like hematite and onyx are protective are thought to be protective and to ward off negativity too, aren’t they? You could write and illustrate your own book on this…the next Scott Cunningham! I didn’t think of the spices in terms of magic, just the herbology and traditional chinese medical aspects. Thank you so much for adding this! Please keep the great info coming!

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