Overview

Black pepper (Piper nigrum) is one of the most commonly used spices in the world. It contains a chemical called piperine, which seems to kill bacteria.

Piperine might also kill fungi and parasites, and help the body absorb some drugs. Black pepper and white pepper both come from the same plant species, but they are made differently. Black pepper is made by cooking the dried unripe fruit. White pepper is made by cooking and drying the ripe seeds.

People take black pepper by mouth for hay fever, asthma, upset stomach, and many other conditions, but there is no good scientific evidence to support these uses.

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