Black Pepper, Blanc Poivre, Extrait de Poivre, Grain de Poivre, Hu Jiao, Kali Mirchi, Kosho, Krishna, Marich, Maricha, Pepe, Pepper, Pepper Extract, Pepper Plant, Peppercorn, Pfeffer, Pimenta, Pimienta, Pimienta Negra y Pimienta Blanca, Piper, Piper nigrum, Piperine, Poivre, Poivre Noir, Poivre Noir et Blanc, Poivre Noir et Poivre Blanc, Poivrier, Vellaja, White Pepper.


Overview Information

Black pepper grows in India and other tropical Asian countries. Black pepper is one of the most commonly used spices in the world. Black pepper and white pepper both come from the same plant species, but they are prepared 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 arthritis, asthma, upset stomach, and many other conditions, but there is no good scientific evidence to support these uses.

People inhale black pepper oil to prevent falls, to help quit smoking and reduce cravings, and for many other conditions, but there is no good scientific evidence to support these uses.

In foods, black pepper and black pepper oil are used as a spice.

How does it work?

Black pepper contains a chemical called piperine. This chemical seems to have many effects in the body. It seems to kill bacteria, fungi, and parasites. Piperine might also help with absorption of some medications and protect against cancer.


Uses & Effectiveness?

Insufficient Evidence for

  • Athletic performance. Early research in men who are not trained athletes shows that taking a supplement containing black pepper and other ingredients before exercise does not improve performance.
  • Fall prevention. Early research shows that applying black pepper oil near the right side of the nose in order to inhale the scent improves stability in older people when their eyes are closed. This improvement is similar to applying and inhaling lavender oil.
  • Fatigue. Early research shows that taking black pepper does not improve attention or mental energy in adults with low energy levels.
  • Insect bite. Early research shows that applying a specific product (Trikatu) containing black pepper and other ingredients directly to mosquito bites does not reduce the size, redness, or itchiness of the bites.
  • Quitting smoking. Early research in men who smoke shows that puffing on a vapor device containing black pepper oil over 3 hours may reduce cigarette cravings and anxiety. Also, early research in adults who are addicted to chewing, dipping, or smoking tobacco shows that inhaling a drop of black pepper oil on a tissue might reduce cravings.
  • Trouble swallowing. Some children with different medical conditions, including brain disorders, are fed through a tube (enteral nutrition) because they are not able to eat food consistently. Early research in these children shows that applying black pepper oil to the nostrils or nasal cavity for one minute before meals can improve swallowing and the amount of food they can eat. Other early research in older adults who have had a stroke and are living in a long-term care nursing home, shows that applying black pepper oil near the nostrils for one minute before meals can improve swallowing.
  • A skin disorder that causes white patches to develop on the skin (vitiligo).
  • A bacterial infection that causes diarrhea (cholera).
  • Arthritis.
  • Asthma.
  • Bronchitis.
  • Cancer.
  • Colic.
  • Depression.
  • Diarrhea.
  • Dizziness.
  • Discolored skin (vitiligo).
  • Dizziness.
  • Gas.
  • Headache.
  • Itchy skin caused by mites (scabies).
  • Measles.
  • Menstrual pain.
  • Nerve pain.
  • Pain.
  • Sex drive.
  • Stuffy nose.
  • Sinus infection.
  • Upset stomach.
  • Weight loss.
  • Other conditions.
More evidence is needed to rate black pepper for these uses.

Side Effects

Side Effects & Safety

When taken by mouth: Black pepper is LIKELY SAFE when taken in amounts commonly found in foods. It is not known if taking black pepper as a medicine is safe. Taking large amounts of black pepper by mouth, which can accidentally get into the lungs, has been reported to cause death.

When applied to the skin: Black pepper oil is POSSIBLY SAFE. If it gets into the eyes, black pepper can burn. Some people might develop an allergy to black pepper.

When inhaled: Black pepper oil is POSSIBLY SAFE when inhaled through the nose or mouth. Black pepper might have a burning aftertaste and it might upset the stomach. Inhaling black pepper oil through the nose or mouth can cause cough. Some people might develop an allergy to black pepper.

Special Precautions & Warnings:

Pregnancy: Black pepper is LIKELY SAFE when taken by mouth in amounts commonly found in foods. It is LIKELY UNSAFE when taken by mouth in large amounts during pregnancy. It might cause an abortion.

There isn't enough reliable information available to know if applying black pepper to the skin is safe while pregnant.

Breast-feeding: Black pepper is LIKELY SAFE when taken by mouth in amounts commonly found in foods. There isn't enough reliable information to know if black pepper is safe when used as medicine when breast-feeding. Stay on the safe side and stick to food amounts.

Children: Black pepper is LIKELY SAFE when taken by mouth in amounts commonly found in foods. It is POSSIBLY UNSAFE when taken by mouth in large amounts. Deaths in children have been reported from large amounts of black pepper accidentally entering the lungs. There isn't enough reliable information available to know if applying black pepper oil to the skin is safe for children.

Bleeding conditions: Piperine, a chemical in black pepper, might slow blood clotting. In theory, taking black pepper in amounts greater than those in food might increase the risk of bleeding in people with bleeding disorders.

Diabetes: Black pepper might affect blood sugar levels. In theory, taking black pepper in amounts greater than those in food might affect blood sugar control in people with diabetes. Dosing adjustments for diabetes medications might be needed.

Surgery: Piperine, a chemical in black pepper, might slow blood clotting and affect blood sugar levels. In theory, taking black pepper in amounts treater than those found in food might cause bleeding complications or affect blood sugar levels during surgery. You should stop taking black pepper in amounts greater than those in food at least 2 weeks before surgery.



Moderate Interaction

Be cautious with this combination

  • Lithium interacts with BLACK PEPPER AND WHITE PEPPER

    Black pepper and white pepper might have an effect like a water pill or "diuretic." Taking black pepper and white pepper might decrease how well the body gets rid of lithium. This could increase how much lithium is in the body and result in serious side effects. Talk with your healthcare provider before using this product if you are taking lithium. Your lithium dose might need to be changed.

  • Medications changed by the liver (Cytochrome P450 3A4 (CYP3A4) substrates) interacts with BLACK PEPPER AND WHITE PEPPER

    Some medications are changed and broken down by the liver.

    Black and white pepper might decrease how quickly the liver breaks down some medications. Taking pepper along with some medications that are broken down by the liver can increase the chance of side effects from some medications. Before taking black or white pepper, talk to your healthcare provider if you are taking any medications that are changed by the liver.

    Some medications changed by the liver include lovastatin (Mevacor), ketoconazole (Nizoral), itraconazole (Sporanox), fexofenadine (Allegra), triazolam (Halcion), and many others.

  • Medications moved by pumps in cells (P-Glycoprotein Substrates) interacts with BLACK PEPPER AND WHITE PEPPER

    Some medications are moved by pumps in cells. Black and white pepper might make these pumps less active and increase how much of some medications get absorbed by the body. This might cause more side effects from some medications.

    Some medications that are moved by these pumps include etoposide, paclitaxel, vinblastine, vincristine, vindesine, ketoconazole, itraconazole, amprenavir, indinavir, nelfinavir, saquinavir, cimetidine, ranitidine, diltiazem, verapamil, digoxin, corticosteroids, erythromycin, cisapride (Propulsid), fexofenadine (Allegra), cyclosporine, loperamide (Imodium), quinidine, and others.

  • Phenytoin (Dilantin) interacts with BLACK PEPPER AND WHITE PEPPER

    Black and white pepper might increase how much phenytoin (Dilantin) the body absorbs. Taking black and white pepper along with phenytoin (Dilantin) might increase the effects and side effects of phenytoin (Dilantin).

  • Propranolol (Inderal) interacts with BLACK PEPPER AND WHITE PEPPER

    Black and white pepper might increase how much propranolol (Inderal) the body absorbs. Taking black and white pepper along with propranolol (Inderal) might increase the effects and side effects of propranolol (Inderal).

  • Rifampin interacts with BLACK PEPPER AND WHITE PEPPER

    Black and white pepper might increase how much rifampin the body absorbs. Taking black and white pepper along with rifampin might increase the effects and side effects of rifampin.

  • Theophylline interacts with BLACK PEPPER AND WHITE PEPPER

    Black pepper and white pepper can increase how much theophylline the body can absorb. This might cause increased effects and side effects of theophylline.

Minor Interaction

Be watchful with this combination

  • Carbamazepine (Tegretol) interacts with BLACK PEPPER AND WHITE PEPPER

    Black and white pepper might increase the amount of carbamazepine (Tegretol) absorbed by the body. It might also decrease how quickly the body breaks down and gets rid of carbamazepine. This could increase how much carbamazepine is in the body and potentially increase the chance of side effects. However, there is not enough known about this potential interaction to know if it is a big concern.



The appropriate dose of black pepper and white pepper for use as treatment depends on several factors such as the user's age, health, and several other conditions. At this time there is not enough scientific information to determine an appropriate range of doses for black pepper and white pepper. Keep in mind that natural products are not always necessarily safe and dosages can be important. Be sure to follow relevant directions on product labels and consult your pharmacist or physician or other healthcare professional before using.

View References


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  • Reen, R. K., Roesch, S. F., Kiefer, F., Wiebel, F. J., and Singh, J. Piperine impairs cytochrome P4501A1 activity by direct interaction with the enzyme and not by down regulation of CYP1A1 gene expression in the rat hepatoma 5L cell line. Biochem.Biophys.Res.Commun. 1-17-1996;218(2):562-569. View abstract.
  • Reen, R. K., Wiebel, F. J., and Singh, J. Piperine inhibits aflatoxin B1-induced cytotoxicity and genotoxicity in V79 Chinese hamster cells genetically engineered to express rat cytochrome P4502B1. J Ethnopharmacol. 1997;58(3):165-173. View abstract.
  • Ren T, Yang M, Xiao M, Zhu J, Xie W, Zuo Z. Time-dependent inhibition of carbamazepine metabolism by piperine in anti-epileptic treatment. Life Sci. 2019;218:314-323. View abstract.
  • Ribeiro, T. S., Freire-de-Lima, L., Previato, J. O., Mendonca-Previato, L., Heise, N., and de Lima, M. E. Toxic effects of natural piperine and its derivatives on epimastigotes and amastigotes of Trypanosoma cruzi. Bioorg.Med Chem.Lett. 7-5-2004;14(13):3555-3558. View abstract.
  • Rondanelli M, Opizzi A, Perna S, Faliva M, Solerte SB, Fioravanti M, Klersy C, Edda C, Maddalena P, Luciano S, Paola C, Emanuela C, Claudia S, Donini LM. Acute effect on satiety, resting energy expenditure, respiratory quotient, glucagon-like peptide-1, free fatty acids, and glycerol following consumption of a combination of bioactive food ingredients in overweight subjects. J Am Coll Nutr. 2013;32(1):41-9. View abstract.
  • Rose, J. E. and Behm, F. M. Inhalation of vapor from black pepper extract reduces smoking withdrawal symptoms. Drug Alcohol Depend. 1994;34(3):225-229. View abstract.
  • Saxena, R., Venkaiah, K., Anitha, P., Venu, L., and Raghunath, M. Antioxidant activity of commonly consumed plant foods of India: contribution of their phenolic content. Int.J Food Sci Nutr. 2007;58(4):250-260. View abstract.
  • Scott, I. M., Gagnon, N., Lesage, L., Philogene, B. J., and Arnason, J. T. Efficacy of botanical insecticides from Piper species (Piperaceae) extracts for control of Ruropean chafer (Coleoptera: Scarabaeidae). J Econ.Entomol. 2005;98(3):845-855. View abstract.
  • Selvendiran, K., Banu, S. M., and Sakthisekaran, D. Oral supplementation of piperine leads to altered phase II enzymes and reduced DNA damage and DNA-protein cross links in Benzo(a)pyrene induced experimental lung carcinogenesis. Mol.Cell Biochem. 2005;268(1-2):141-147. View abstract.
  • Selvendiran, K., Banu, S. M., and Sakthisekaran, D. Protective effect of piperine on benzo(a)pyrene-induced lung carcinogenesis in Swiss albino mice. Clin Chim.Acta 2004;350(1-2):73-78. View abstract.
  • Selvendiran, K., Thirunavukkarasu, C., Singh, J. P., Padmavathi, R., and Sakthisekaran, D. Chemopreventive effect of piperine on mitochondrial TCA cycle and phase-I and glutathione-metabolizing enzymes in benzo(a)pyrene induced lung carcinogenesis in Swiss albino mice. Mol.Cell Biochem. 2005;271(1-2):101-106. View abstract.
  • Shafiee A, Hoormand M, Shahidi-Dadras M, Abadi A. The effect of topical piperine combined with narrowband UVB on vitiligo treatment: A clinical trial study. Phytother Res. 2018;32(9):1812-1817. View abstract.
  • Sharma, P., Varma, M. V., Chawla, H. P., and Panchagnula, R. In situ and in vivo efficacy of peroral absorption enhancers in rats and correlation to in vitro mechanistic studies. Farmaco 2005;60(11-12):874-883. View abstract.
  • Sheahan K, Page DV, Kemper T, Suarez R. Childhood sudden death secondary to accidental aspiration of black pepper. Am J Forensic Med Pathol 1988;9:51-3. View abstract.
  • Shenoy, N. R. and Choughuley, A. S. Characterization of potentially mutagenic products from the nitrosation of piperine. Cancer Lett. 7-10-1992;64(3):235-239. View abstract.
  • Siddiqui, B. S., Gulzar, T., Mahmood, A., Begum, S., Khan, B., and Afshan, F. New insecticidal amides from petroleum ether extract of dried Piper nigrum L. whole fruits. Chem.Pharm.Bull (Tokyo) 2004;52(11):1349-1352. View abstract.
  • Simas, N. K., Lima, Eda C., Kuster, R. M., Lage, C. L., and Oliveira Filho, A. M. Potential use of Piper nigrum ethanol extract against pyrethroid-resistant Aedes aegypti larvae. Rev.Soc.Bras.Med Trop. 2007;40(4):405-407. View abstract.
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  • Song, Q. F., Qu, Y. C., Zheng, H. B., Zhang, G. H., Lin, H. G., and Yang, J. L. [Differentiation of erythroleukemia K562 cells induced by piperine]. Ai.Zheng. 2008;27(6):571-574. View abstract.
  • Subehan, Usia, T., Kadota, S., and Tezuka, Y. Mechanism-based inhibition of human liver microsomal cytochrome P450 2D6 (CYP2D6) by alkamides of Piper nigrum. Planta Med 2006;72(6):527-532. View abstract.
  • Taqvi, SI, Shah, AJ, and Gilani, AH. Insight into the possible mechanism of antidiarrheal and antispasmodic activities of piperine. Pharmaceutical Biology (Netherlands) 2009;47(660):664.
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  • Veerareddy, P. R., Vobalaboina, V., and Nahid, A. Formulation and evaluation of oil-in-water emulsions of piperine in visceral leishmaniasis. Pharmazie 2004;59(3):194-197. View abstract.
  • Velpandian T, Jasuja R, Bhardwaj RK, et al. Piperine in food: interference in the pharmacokinetics of phenytoin. Eur J Drug Metab Pharmacokinet 2001;26:241-7. View abstract.
  • Vijayakumar, R. S., Surya, D., and Nalini, N. Antioxidant efficacy of black pepper (Piper nigrum L.) and piperine in rats with high fat diet induced oxidative stress. Redox.Rep. 2004;9(2):105-110. View abstract.
  • Wrba, H., el Mofty, M. M., Schwaireb, M. H., and Dutter, A. Carcinogenicity testing of some constituents of black pepper (Piper nigrum). Exp.Toxicol.Pathol. 1992;44(2):61-65. View abstract.
  • Zutshi, R. K., Singh, R., Zutshi, U., Johri, R. K., and Atal, C. K. Influence of piperine on rifampicin blood levels in patients of pulmonary tuberculosis. J Assoc.Physicians India 1985;33(3):223-224. View abstract.

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