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You probably have it at home: this surprising spice is good for your digestion

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You probably have it at home: this surprising spice is good for your digestion

We know pepper primarily as a spicy spice from the kitchen that gives meals a pleasant spiciness.

But the fact that pepper can also be used specifically as a medicine has now been almost forgotten. The green, white, red or black spice is a natural medicine that most people have on their kitchen shelves anyway.

Pepper supports digestion and puts you in a good mood

The alkaloid piperine contained in pepper promotes blood circulation throughout the body; As a result, more saliva is produced in the mouth and more gastric juice in the stomach. On the one hand, it stimulates the appetite, and on the other hand, heavy food is digested better and faster due to the increased amount of gastric juice.

Pepper tea helps against constipation

You can easily prepare pepper tea to combat constipation:

Pour 250 milliliters of boiling water over a teaspoon of black peppercorns and two tablespoons of peppermint leaves and let it steep for ten minutes. Strain the tea and drink in small sips.

However, if you have diarrhea, inflammation of the gastric mucosa or a stomach ulcer, it is advisable to avoid pepper.

Piperine also triggers a pain signal in the body. This releases the body’s own endorphins, which improve your mood. Piperine also curbs the breakdown of the happiness hormone serotonin: you feel better for longer with pepper than without it. The breakdown of dopamine is also inhibited, which means you can concentrate better for longer.

It is worthwhile to season meals with tasty pepper for very different reasons. If you don’t like it so spicy, it’s best to use green pepper, which is comparatively mild, while spicy eaters are better off with black pepper because the spiciness, piperine, is present in the highest concentration.

Pepper helps with cold symptoms

Cold symptoms such as an increased feeling of cold (“shivering”) are also alleviated by pepper: thanks to the circulation-promoting effect of piperine, pepper literally makes you feel warm.

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If you have a fever, the body sweats more quickly after taking pepper, which cools down the body and allows the fever to go down more quickly.

Compared to chili or cayenne pepper, pepper is still moderately hot and is therefore also suitable for people who do not like or tolerate excessive heat. Pepper also stimulates the mucous membranes of the lower and upper respiratory tract to produce increased mucus, thereby helping to get rid of bacteria more quickly by coughing or blowing your nose.

How to make an anti-cold drink with pepper

You can take advantage of all these effects with a simple cold drink with pepper. This is how the drink is prepared:

Pour 250 milliliters of milk or a milk alternative into a saucepan. Add a tablespoon of honey and a pinch to a teaspoon of freshly ground pepper. Bring the mixture to the boil briefly, pour into a cup and drink in small sips while it is still warm.

You can drink the pepper drink two to three times a day. How much pepper is added depends on how much spiciness you like and can tolerate. It is advisable to start with a small pinch and find out what amount of pepper suits your personal taste.

Tipp: A pepper wrap also helps against typical cold symptoms and promotes healing.

If you have tension: apply pepper oil

The circulation-promoting effect of pepper can also be used in a pepper massage oil, which helps to relieve tension and sore muscles.

This is how the pepper massage oil is made:

Put 200 ml of olive oil in a screw-top jar with about 16 grams (about two tablespoons) of lightly crushed black peppercorns. Close the jar and leave it in a warm place for two weeks. Shake occasionally so that the active ingredients in the pepper can be better dissolved. Sieve the peppercorns and pour the finished pepper oil into a tightly sealable bottle.

If stored in a cool place, the oil will last for one to two years.

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To use, spread a little oil on your hands and massage into tense areas of the body. Areas of skin with neurodermatitis or psoriasis are better avoided.

Tipp: To increase the effect of the oil even further, you can add a few dried chili flakes to the oil mixture. Optionally, 20 drops each of rosemary or juniper essential oil enhance the effect and ensure a pleasant scent. If this oil isn’t strong enough for you or if you don’t have time to massage, you can also make a warming chili ointment yourself and apply it to your skin.

What is pepper actually and where does it come from?

Peppercorns are the fruits of the pepper bush ( Piper nigrum ), a climbing plant that was originally only native to southern India, but is now also grown in Indonesia, Malaysia, Vietnam and Brazil. The most important component of pepper is piperine, which not only benefits our health but also preserves meat and fish. It was precisely the preservative effect that made pepper a widely traded commodity in ancient times and into the Middle Ages, whose weight was sometimes worth in gold due to the long transport routes.

What is the difference between green, black, white and red pepper?

Whether black, red, white or green peppercorns: they all come from the same pepper bush and were just harvested and processed at different times:

Green pepper consists of unripe peppercorns that, after harvesting, are quickly soaked in brine or vinegar or dried or freeze-dried so that they retain their color. Green peppercorns only have a mild spiciness.
Black peppercorns are created when green to green-yellow, unripe fruits are first dipped briefly into boiling water and then dried in the sun. Black peppercorns are the hottest peppercorns.
White peppercorns are made from fully ripe red pepper berries: the red peppercorns lie in running water for one to two weeks until the shell has loosened. After another peeling process, they are dried. Parts of the crop are further exposed to sunlight to further bleach them. The white grains are spicy without much of their own flavor, which can be used specifically depending on the dish.
Red peppercorns are fully ripe, unpeeled pepper berries. They are rarely found in stores and are usually – like green pepper – pickled sour or salty. They are hardly available dried. True red pepper is expensive because each pepper berry must be hand-picked from the pepper vines, where green, green-yellow and red berries grow simultaneously. Red pepper tastes hot, fresh and at the same time a little sweet due to the sugar deposits in the ripe berry.

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The mild pink pepper usually found in pepper mixtures is not pepper, but comes from Brazilian or Peruvian Chinus trees, which belong to the sumac family and are therefore related to cashews and mangoes.

You should keep this in mind when buying pepper

Most pepper is grown conventionally and without organic production methods, which is why residues of pesticides or even mineral oils can be found in many pepper products, which spoil the healthy enjoyment of the hot grains. In addition, the best quality peppercorns are usually not used for ground pepper.

It is therefore advisable to use organic products and whole grains when it comes to pepper. In terms of taste, unground peppers are vastly superior to ground pepper because the volatile essential oils that contribute to the taste are only released at the time of preparation.

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