‘You can dine at your enemy’s home if you have ten peppers’, thus goes a proverb. But that is the potential of pepper.
It’s basically a climber with a botanical name, ‘Piper nigrum’. There are two types of it, common pepper and a long pepper. But based on the processing it there is different varieties like black pepper, white pepper, red pepper and green pepper.
It’s one of the food ingredients that holds an inevitable place at our kitchen store. It adds a unique taste to whatever food items we prepare, be it rasam, stew, vegetarian or non-vegetarian items. It not only adds taste to food items but it has a medicinal property to cure many diseases as well.
The trios, pepper with chukku (dry ginger) and thippili (long pepper, Piper longum), are collectively termed as ‘Thirikadugam’ in traditional records of medicinal plants. It is given along with other active ingredients of medicinal plants to cure many diseases, a kind of vehicle to the active ingredient. It is basically a carminative. It can cure respiratory and digestive tract related illness.
A gram of Thirikadugam powder mixed with honey can be consumed to cure a cold and cough and other respiratory illness.
Further, it can serve as a super special medicine against phlegm and severe cold. Heat a bowl of milk with 10 pieces of garlic along with the equal proportion of water. After having boiled the garlic, add to it turmeric and pepper powder and also palm jaggery. Allow it together boiling for a few minutes and knead the ingredients. If it is consumed for a few days, it will cure severe cold and phlegm. If it is consumed during the night before bed, cough and nose blocks will be cleared, providing restful sleep and its relieving effect can be realized the next day itself.
Pepper powder mixed with honey, if consumed, will cure a dry cough immediately. Instead of honey, palm jaggery can be added.
A toothache can be cured if clove balm along with pepper powder is applied on the affected tooth. Similarly, pepper powder can be mixed with salt and if it is used for brushing the teeth, it will prevent from a toothache and it will make the teeth glow.
A patch of hair loss can be cured by applying pepper powder mixed with onion and salt. It will facilitate hair growth on the patches.
Mix pepper powder with sandal and Jathikaai (nutmeg) and grind them together. If it is applied on acnes, they will dry out quickly.
Along with Thirikadugam, add salt and Perunjeerakam (sombu, fennel seeds) and grind them together. If 2-4 grams of it is consumed after food, it will relieve digestion related problems and diseases.
Excess salivation can be cured if ten Thulsi (Ocimum sanctum) leaves and five pepper seeds are boiled in 200 ml of water and consumed.
Those who suffer from asthma can chew five seeds of pepper for some time so as to relieve from it.
Pepper can act as an antidote for poisonous bites. To 100 ml vetrilai (betal leaves, Piper betle) extract adds 35 grams of pepper. Soak them together for 12 hours and then after drying and powder it. If it is consumed twice daily, morning and evening, followed by drinking water, will remove the poison due to centipede bites. During the treatment strictly avoid tamarind and gingerly oil. For scorpion bite, chew 20 seeds of pepper with the equal proportion of coconut kernel, which will gradually detoxify the poison.
Along with pepper, Kasa Kasa (poppy seeds), omam (Oregano, Trachyspermum Ammi) and Thuthi (Abutilon Indicum), each 100 gram, powder them together. If it is consumed a spoonful every day, morning and evening, piles and fistula can be cured.
(This article originally written in Tamil by Maria Belsin has been reproduced in English by V Amalan Stanley)