Black pepper is everywhere. Go to any restaurant or dinner party, and you’re bound to find it on the table. I’m willing to bet that you also cook with it yourself on a regular basis. But you may not have known that, in addition to making food taste great, black pepper also comes with a slew of health benefits—and you can also reap some of those benefits in a super convenient, essential oil form.
Black pepper essential oil is extracted through the steam distillation of black peppercorns. And as with all essential oils, this process concentrates the active components in the peppercorns, providing you with potent antioxidant, antimicrobial, and nervous system boosting qualities, making it an important oil to add to your medicine cabinet.
Following are nine specific ways black pepper essential oil can transform your health, along with specific tips on how to use it.
Black Pepper Essential Oil Benefits
- Stimulates Appetite
While weight loss is a common goal among many Americans, there are others who struggle with suppressed appetites due to a variety of health conditions, including cancer and depression. The good news, though, is that black pepper essential oil can help restore the appetite to normal levels.
Also, due to the olfactory stimulation of black pepper oil, it can aid in swallowing for patients with neurological disorders that make swallowing difficult. By inhaling black pepper essential oil, it’s been shown to facilitate swallowing movement and help increase the oral intake of food among pediatric patients who received long-term enteral nutrition (i.e. liquid supplements or tube feeding).
- Helps Detoxification
As a pepper derivative, black pepper oil warms the body when applied topically, thanks to its active component piperine, which induces sweating. It also increases urination and works as a diuretic, removing toxins and excess water. This, in turn, combats swelling and inflammation and can lower blood pressure naturally.
- Aids in Smoking Cessation
Research from the Nicotine Research Laboratory at the V.A. Medical Center in Durham, N.C., found that the vapor of black pepper essential oil helped reduce smoking withdrawal symptoms. Researchers noted, “Reported craving for cigarettes was significantly reduced in the pepper condition relative to each of the two control conditions.” They concluded, “Cigarette substitutes delivering pepper constituents may prove useful in smoking cessation treatment.”
- Possesses Anticancer Activity
Research from Michigan State University found that black pepper essential oil exhibits anticancer, antioxidant, and anti-inflammatory activities, with all of its compounds (particularly piperine) showing the ability to suppress human cancer cells.
- Promotes Circulation
Black pepper essential oil can promote healthy circulation, as it stimulates bile and mucus flow.
- Holds Antiviral Properties
As society has relied more and more on antibiotics to fight infections, antibiotic resistance is on the rise among certain bacteria. Thankfully, black pepper essential oil exhibits antiviral activity, targeting bacterial virulence and lowering the chances of the bacteria developing a resistance to common drugs.
- Relieves Aches and Pains
A 2014 study assessed the efficacy of aromatic essential oils on neck pain. When patients applied a cream composed of black pepper, marjoram, lavender, and peppermint essential oils to their neck on a daily basis for four weeks, the group reported improved pain tolerance and significant improvement of neck pain.
Black pepper essential oil works as a natural pain reliever due to its warming, anti-inflammatory, and antispasmodic properties. It can also help reduce muscle injuries, tendonitis, and arthritis symptoms.
- Aids Digestion
Black pepper oil stimulates acid secretion, which is necessary for proper digestion. As such, black pepper essential oil can help treat IBS, bladder issues, constipation, diarrhea, and gas.
Black Pepper Essential Oil Uses
When shopping for any essential oil, it’s important to choose a high-quality, 100 percent pure oil that doesn’t contain any fillers or preservatives. Black pepper essential oil is best used topically or internally via inhalation. But be advised that, when used topically, black pepper oil creates a warming sensation and should be combined with a carrier oil (e.g. almond, jojoba, olive, coconut) in a 1:1 dilution ratio.
Here are some specific ways to use black pepper essential oil.
Use topically for:
- Circulation and blood flow: 3–5 drops on the area of concern with warm compress
- Digestion: 1–2 drops on abdomen
- Muscle pain: 1–5 drops to area of concern
- Congestion: 2–3 drops to the chest
- Arthritis: 2–3 drops to area of concern
- Support detoxification: 2–3 drops on bottoms of feet