Black peppers have a strong pungent flavor that comes from volatile-oils, such as piperine. These volatile oils may disappear in the case of milled-peppers because of evaporation.
Cubeb or tailed pepper berries are dried, unripe fruits of the Piper cubeba vine that grows mainly in the Indonesian rain forest. They appear similar to black peppercorns but have a characteristic stalk which is often interpreted as a “tail.” Cubeb berries have a distinctive flavor because of monoterpene essential oil, cubebene.
- Peppercorns contain an impressive list of plant derived chemical compounds that are known to have disease preventing and health promoting properties. Black peppers have been in use since centuries for their anti-inflammatory, carminative, anti-flatulent properties.
- Peppercorns composed of health benefiting essential oils such as piperine, an amine alkaloid, which gives strong spicy pungent character. They also carry numerous monoterpenes hydrocarbons such as sabinene, pinene, terpenene, limonene, mercene, etc., which altogether gives aromatic property to the pepper.
- The above-mentioned active principles in the peppercorns may increase gut motility as well as the digestion power through augmenting gastro-intestinal enzyme secretions. It has also been found that piperine can increase absorption of selenium, B-complex vitamins, beta-carotene, as well as other nutrients from the food.
- Black peppercorns contain a good amount of minerals like potassium, calcium, zinc, manganese, iron, and magnesium. Potassium is an important component of cell and body fluids that helps controlling heart rate and blood pressure. Manganese is used by the body as a co-factor for the antioxidant enzyme, superoxide dismutase. Iron is essential for cellular respiration and blood cell production.
- They are also an excellent source of many vital B-complex groups of vitamins such as Pyridoxine, riboflavin, thiamin and niacin.
- Peppercorns are a good source of many anti-oxidant vitamins such as vitamin-C and vitamin-A. They are also rich in flavonoid polyphenolic anti-oxidants like carotenes, cryptoxanthin, zea-xanthin and lycopene. These compounds help the body remove harmful free radicals and help protect from cancers and diseases.