Can you eat whole black peppercorns?

In this article, we will answer the question “Can you eat whole black peppercorns?” and discuss its health benefits?

Can you eat whole black peppercorns?

Yes, you can eat whole black peppercorns. It is safe to eat the average quantity of black pepper in meals and cooking. Black pepper has been a mainstay in cuisines throughout the globe for thousands of years.

Piper nigrum, a native Indian plant, produces the dried, unripe fruit, which is often referred to as the “king of spices.” In the kitchen, both ground and whole black peppercorns are often utilized. Black pepper may be an antioxidant and provide a number of health advantages in addition to flavoring dishes (2).

Up to 80% of the world population still rely on medicinal plants and natural products in their primary health-care needs. Piper nigrum has been used for medicinal purposes in many parts of the world since ancient times (1).

Health Benefits Could Be Attained.

Cell damage and nutrient absorption may be improved by black pepper’s active component piperine and other compounds.

One of the Best Antioxidants on the Market

Black pepper has been shown to be an antioxidant in a number of studies. Unstable chemicals called free radicals cause cell damage, and antioxidants combat this harm. There are several factors that contribute to the production of free radicals in the body.

In vitro studies showed that the essential oils of black pepper cultivars have a high antioxidant property, which vary depending on the cultivar. The monoterpene compounds limonene of lemon essential oil and β‐caryophyllene of some cultivar´s essential oil are reported by their strong antioxidant activity. β‐caryophyllene was also reported to have strong scavenging activities against hydroxyl radical and superoxide anion (2).

Other anti-inflammatory chemicals found in black pepper, such as the essential oils limonene and beta-caryophyllene, have been shown to reduce inflammation, cellular damage, and the development of illness (3).

Black pepper’s antioxidant properties are intriguing, although research is presently restricted to animal and test-tube trials.

Boosts the Absorption of Nutrients

Certain nutrients and beneficial chemicals may be better absorbed and used when they are combined with black pepper (6). Studies showed that piperine, one of the major constituents of black pepper, can increase the absorption of selenium, vitamin B complex, beta-carotene and curcumin as well as other nutrients (4).

Beta-carotene, a chemical present in vegetables and fruits that your body converts to vitamin A, may also benefit from the addition of black pepper.

Beta-carotene is a potent antioxidant that may help prevent illnesses like heart disease by protecting cells from oxidative stress. Beta-carotene antioxidant activity is well characterized in literature. In several studies, with animals and humans, it offers protection against oxidative damages. Also after heart injuries, using antioxidants has a positive effect (5).

It’s possible that this herb will aid digestion and help keep diarrhea at bay.

It’s possible that black pepper helps digestion. Specifically, black pepper may stimulate the pancreas and intestines to generate enzymes that aid in the digestion of fat and carbohydrates (6). Black pepper has also been shown to prevent diarrhea in animals by reducing muscular spasms in the digestive system and slowing down the digestion of food, according to research.

Traditionally, it has been used in many Asian countries for treating indigestion, diarrhea, asthma, pain, respiratory tract infections, and rheumatoid arthritis. It is also a stimulant, digestive, tonic, and antiseptic (3).

Piperine enhances digestion by stimulation of the pancreatic enzymes and considerably decreases the food transit time of gastrointestinal. Piperine has been reported to increase the saliva production and gastric secretions, and increases the production and activation of salivary amylase. The orally administration of piperine or P. nigrum stimulates the liver to secrete bile acids which in turn play key roles in the absorption and digestion of fats (6).

Poor digestion and diarrhea sufferers may get relief from their symptoms by using black pepper, which has been shown to improve stomach function. However, more human studies are required, although studies performed with mice showed positive results (6).

Risks and Consequences of Using

Research in this area is limited, although supplements comprising 5–20 mg of piperine per dosage seem to be safe, but that may vary depending on the cultivar. At high doses, bioactive compounds and extracts are always toxic. The recommended toxicity levels for plant extracts (LC50) are: strong at 0–100 μg/mL, moderate at 100500 μg/mL and weak at 500–1000 μg/mL (2). Burning feelings in the throat and stomach might result from excessive use of black pepper or the use of high-dose supplements.

Black pepper, on the other hand, has been shown to enhance the absorption and availability of various medications, including antihistamines, which are often used to treat allergies. In certain cases, this may be beneficial, but in others, it might result in dangerously excessive absorption.

Piperine increases the absorption of many drugs and nutrients from the gastrointestinal tract by various mechanisms. It alters the membrane dynamics and increases permeability at site of absorption. Piperine increases the serum half lives of some substances like beta-carotene and coenzyme Q10 and decreases metabolism of many drugs by inhibiting various metabolizing enzymes, resulting in the increased bioavailability of many drugs and nutrients e.g. amoxicillin, ampicillin, acefotaxime, carbamazepine, ciprofloxacin, norfloxacin, metronidazole, oxytetracyclin, nimesulide, pentobarbitone, phenytoin and others (6).

Consider checking with your doctor before increasing your consumption of black pepper or supplementing with piperine, since there may be medication interactions.

Applied to Cooking

There are several methods to include black pepper in your diet. This kind of pepper is often found at grocery shops, markets, and on the internet.

Adding black pepper to meals is a great way to add flavor and a little kick to anything from meat and seafood to vegetables and salad dressings. A little black pepper may also be used to scrambled eggs and avocado toast, fruit, and dipping sauces.

You may make a marinade utilizing the spice by combining olive oil, salt, and your preferred spices to make a marinade that is about 1/4 cup (60 ml) in volume. This marinade may be used to flavor fish, meat, or vegetables before cooking. Black pepper may be kept in a cool, dry area for up to two to three years.

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In this article, we answered the question “Can you eat whole black peppercorns?” and we discussed its health benefits?


  1. Abdallah, Emad M., and Wali E. Abdalla. Black pepper fruit (Piper nigrum L.) as antibacterial agent: A mini-review. J Bacteriol Mycol Open Access, 2018, 6, 141-145.
  2. Abukawsar, Mirza Md, et al. Chemical, pharmacological and nutritional quality assessment of black pepper (Piper nigrum L.) seed cultivars. J Food Biochem, 2018, 42, e12590.
  3. Dosoky, Noura S., et al. Volatiles of Black Pepper Fruits (Piper nigrum L.). Molecules. 2019, 24, 23.
  4. Abou-Elkhair, R., H. A. Ahmed, and S. Selim. Effects of black pepper (Piper nigrum), turmeric powder (Curcuma longa) and coriander seeds (Coriandrum sativum) and their combinations as feed additives on growth performance, carcass traits, some blood parameters and humoral immune response of broiler chickens. Asian-Austral J Anim Sci, 2014, 27, 847.  
  5. Novo R, Azevedo PS, Minicucci MF, Zornoff LA, Paiva SA. Effect of beta-carotene on oxidative stress and expression of cardiac connexin 43. Arq Bras Cardiol, 2013, 101, 233-239.
  6. Damanhouri, Zoheir A., and Aftab Ahmad. A review on therapeutic potential of Piper nigrum L.” Black Pepper): The King of Spices. Med. Aromat. Plants, 2014, 3, 161.

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