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Thursday, 21 May 2020 12:17

Pepper - The Masterpiece of Spices

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Pepper ‘Piper nigrum’ which belongs to family Piperaceae commonly called as the "King of Spices" is one of the most popular spice used in all over the world in making food dishes. Sri Lankan Pepper is known as the world’s best pepper when comparing to its quality and chemical features.

In Sri Lanka, pepper mainly cultivated in Low Country, Mid country Wet and Intermediate agro-climatic zones. Also the entire extent is about 30,000ha and the major districts which cultivate pepper are Matale, Kandy, Kegalle, Badulla, Ratnapura, Monaragala, Nuwara Eliya and Kurunegala. It is often grown either as a mono crop or as a mixed crop within the coconut and tea plantations using live and dead standards as support. Pepper is a perfect crop for home gardens where it is often trained on the prevailing tree species also. Although the origin of black pepper is believed to be Malabar Coast of India, Sri Lanka too is a home to variety of wild pepper types. When considering the large genetic variability of “Piper nigrum L” found in Sri Lanka and therefore the presence of pepper wild relatives, it's believed that Sri Lanka also an area which originated pepper. Some commercial black pepper varieties have been introduced to Sri Lankan farmers by Department of Export Agriculture since the existence of economic black pepper trade rising with the demand in many countries. High yielding pepper line called “Panniyur-1” from India and “Kuchin” from Malaysia was introduced within the 1970s but MB21 and GK 49 are high yielding and superior quality local selections which were popular among black pepper cultivators. At Harvesting correct stage of maturity is important to supply top quality peppercorns. Harvesting starts when one or two of the berries on the spike begin to show orange to red color and the berries are hard to the touch. The pungency of peppercorns increases throughout its maturity.

In Sri Lanka Black Pepper widely used as a "hot" cooking spice and seasoning. In Europe as well as Sri Lanka Black Pepper has been using as a food preservative and for adding heat and flavour to meats. Extracts of black pepper (Oleoresin and essential oil) are also extracted from whole berries, and have been used as both spice and flavoring agents within the food industry, Black pepper has become a kitchen staple in households worldwide with its subtle heat and bold flavor, it’s versatile and may enhance almost any savory dish. A dash of ground black pepper are often a tasty seasoning for cooked vegetables, pasta dishes, meat, fish, poultry, and lots of more. It also pairs well with other healthful seasonings, including turmeric, cardamom, cumin, garlic, and lemon peel. For an additional kick and a touch crunch, try coating tofu, fish, chicken, and other proteins with coarsely ground peppercorns and extra seasonings. This versatile flavor-enhancer is worth adding to daily cooking routine, as its bold flavor may be a welcome addition to almost any dish. Additionally it has industrial uses in perfumery and pharmaceutical industries.

Sri Lankan black pepper has higher Piperine content which conduces to fetch a premium price in international spice trade. Sri Lankan pepper, like other spices from the island, is well-known for its superior inherent properties. For instance, Sri Lankan pepper has higher Piperine content as above mentioned, which provides it a superior quality and pungency. Normally Piperine content in Sri Lankan black pepper is 2 to 6 times above in other countries. Also Black pepper is a good source of manganese and vitamin K, copper and dietary fiber, and a source of iron, chromium and calcium

Medicinal Properties of Pepper

Black pepper mainly rich in antioxidants which plays a main role as free radical scavengers. Free radicals are unstable molecules which will damage body cells. Those excess radical damage can cause major health problems. for instance, it's been linked to inflammation, premature aging, heart disease, and certain cancers. In order that as Black pepper rich in a plant compound Piperine, which have potent antioxidant properties may help prevent or delay the damaging effects of radicals and that they act as free radical scavengers then decrease the danger of disorder like cardiovascular diseases and cancers. Also it has anti-inflammatory properties. Means, it's going to effectively fight inflammation against chronic inflammations which may be an underlying factor in many conditions, like arthritis, heart condition, diabetes, and cancer. For example, in studies in rats with arthritis, treatment with Piperine resulted in less joint swelling and fewer blood markers of inflammation but, Piperine suppressed inflammation within the airways caused by asthma and seasonal allergies.

However, the anti-inflammatory effects of black pepper and Piperine haven't yet been studied extensively in people. Piperine has been shown to improve brain function in animal studies. In particular, it's demonstrated potential benefits for symptoms associated with degenerative brain conditions like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease. Also bioprine suspected as having cancer-fighting properties. Though no human trials are performed, test-tube studies found that Piperine slowed the replication of breast, prostate, and carcinoma cells and induced neoplastic cell death Another test-tube study observed that Piperine from black pepper was the foremost effective at enhancing the efficacy of traditional treatment for triple-negative carcinoma. Piperine has shown promising effects in laboratory studies for reversing multi-drug resistance in cancer cells.

What more, the compounds in black pepper may improve blood glucose control with improvements in insulin sensitivity and should lower cholesterol levels Black pepper extract has been studied for its potential to scale back cholesterol level. Additionally, black pepper and Piperine are believed to spice up the absorption of dietary supplements that have potential cholesterol-lowering effects like turmeric and red yeast rice

There are more, Black pepper may increase the bio-availability of the many nutrients like selenium, beta-carotene, curcumin and vitamins A and C also some beneficial plant compounds, like those found in tea and turmeric. That’s why it's always recommended to feature a pinch of black pepper in turmeric preparation and dishes to raised absorb curcumin. Also it's going to promote gut health. The makeup of your gut bacteria has been linked to immune function, mood, chronic diseases, and more. Preliminary research suggests that black pepper may increase the good bacteria in gut and It also stimulates appetite and helps the assembly of digestive enzymes within the pancreas it also accelerates the intestinal transit. Among the ailments that black pepper was administered to patients who are suffering from diarrhea, constipation, arthritis, insect bites, and pulmonary and cardiovascular troubles. Also it can be often use as pain reliever. Though it's yet to be studied in humans, studies in rodents suggest that the Piperine in black pepper could also be a natural pain reliever too.

Black pepper extract, containing Bioperine has been used extensively in Ayurvedic medicine to treat fevers, digestive disorders, urinary difficulties, rheumatism, neuralgia and boils warming spice consistent with Ayurveda. It is often utilized in combination with other spices, because its component Piperine increases. In C.T.M (Chinese Traditional Medicine) pepper is described as a spice capable of warming the body, wont to dissipate cold and melt phlegm. together with other warming spices like ginger and cinnamon it are often utilized in infusions to fight cold and flu.

Written by :
Ms. R M O Kavindya Bandara,
BSc in Food Science and Nutrition Sp (Reading),
Wayamba University of Sri Lanka.

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Read 4551 times Last modified on Tuesday, 25 January 2022 05:35
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