P'iper nigrum,


The dried, unripe fruit, with not more than 2 p. c. of stems, foreign matter.

Habitat. S. India, Malabar Coast, Philippine Islands, Sumatra, Java, Singapore, Ceylon, Penang, Luzon, Borneo, Malacca, Siam, W. Indies; cultivated.

Syn. Black Pepper, Peppercorn, African Black-, Common-, Cubeb-Pepper, Pepper Plant or Vine, Piper Nigrum; Fr. Poivre noir (common); Ger. Schwarzer Pfeffer.

Ni'grum. L. niger, black, fr. nec, to die, as seen in Gr.

Piper Pepper 232

dead, nox, night - i. e., color of the brownish-black fruit when compared with other varieties.

Plant. - Perennial evergreen, dioecious climber; stem 6-9 M. (20-30°) long, articulated, smooth, woody, joints thickened, from which adventitious rootlets arise for adhering to support or taking root in the soil; leaves 10-15 Cm. (4-6') long, ovate, petioles 12 Mm. (1/2') long, acute at base and apex, entire, smooth, leathery, dark green, 5-7-nerved; flowers whitish, unisexual, sessile, elongated spikes. Fruit, berry-like, sessile, green, then red, and when ripe yellow, nearly globular, 3.5-6 Mm. (1/7 - 1/4') broad, epicarp very thin, easily separable from the sarcocarp, grayish-black, coarsely reticulate, unilocular, 1-seeded; seed nearly white, hollow, adhering to pericarp; odor aromatic, slightly empyreu-matic; taste aromatic, very pungent. Powder, grayish-black; microscopically - blackish-brown fragments of pericarp and nearly white of endosperm and embryo, starch grains .001-.003Mm. (1/25000-1/8300') stone cells of epicarp and endocarp with reddish-brown substance, oil cells with yellowish oil from which piperine prisms may separate. Solvents: ether; acetone; alcohol; water partially. Dose, gr. 5-20 (.3-1.3 Gm.).

Adulterations. - Fruit: That of allied species, stalks, chaff, sift-ings, vetch and grape seeds, ivory nut, cinnamon, calcium oxalate, sawdust (pine), mace; Powder: Starches (yam, sweet potato, damaged flour, rice - the latter having same shaped granule as pepper starch, the quantity aiding detection); mustard, husks, flaxseed, capsicum - all recognized by microscope; pepper shells removed in layers, giving "first grinding," etc., the outer being successively weaker; sand,

Fig. 79.   Piper nigrum.

Fig. 79. - Piper nigrum.

aniline, thalline, naphthylamine, shells of walnuts, almonds, cocoanuts (raw or roasted), olive stones - increasing ash 12.9-18.3 p. c.

Commercial. - Our supply comes from Singapore, Sumatra, and Java, where plants are propagated by cuttings which are planted at the roots of trees, chiefly betel, and trained to run thereupon as a support, thus allowing the land to yield two products. When the basal fruits begin changing from green to red the whole spike is gathered; if allowed to remain on until ripe they are eaten by birds, fall to the ground, and are less pungent. Vines yield 8-10 pounds (3.5-4.5 Kg.) annually, begin bearing when 2-4 years old, and decline after fifteenth year. The day after gathering the spikes are deprived of fruit, which is cleaned of stalks by picking, rubbing, etc., and dried at once by sun or fire, or after a slight boiling. There are several varieties or grades usually recognized by relative weight: (a) Heavy - 1, Malabar, via Tellicherry, heaviest; 2, Penang, strongest; 3, Singapore, darkest; 4, Straits Settlements, principal and best product; (b) Light - 5, Cochin; 6, Siam. These are mixed often in England, taking Malabar for weight, Penang for strength, Singapore (Sumatra) for color.

Constituents. - Piperine 5-8 p. c, Piperidine .56 p. c, Volatile oil 1-2 p. c, Resin (pungent), Chavicin, Piperic acid, starch 25-40 p. c, fixed oil 7 p. c, proteids 12 p. c, non-volatile extract (soluble in ether) 6 p. c, ash (increasing with age and ripeness - thickness of pericarp) 4.5-7 p. c, of which 2 p. c. is insoluble in diluted hydrochloric acid.

Piperine, C17H19NO3. - This feebly basic substance is obtained from pepper and other Piperaceae plants by treating alcoholic extract with potassium hydroxide solution, which dissolves resin and saponifies fat, washing residue with water, filtering, treating residue on filter repeatedly with alcohol, from which piperine crystallizes. It is in pale yellow, glistening, monoclinic crystals, odorless, at first tasteless, afterward sharp and biting, permanent, no residue, soluble in alcohol (15), ether (36), chloroform (1.7), imparting most, if not all of the pungency. Dose, febrifuge, gr. 1-5 (.06-3 Gm.).

Piperidine, C5H11N. - Obtained by dry distillation of piperine with soda-lime; it is a colorless liquid alkaloid, ammoniacal, peppery odor, when largely diluted bitter, soluble in water, alcohol, readily forms with acids crystallizable salts (hydrochloride, etc.).

Volatile Oil, C10H16. - Obtained by distillation with water or steam; it is nearly colorless, sp. gr. 0.880, imparts the odor but not pungency, soluble in alcohol (15); contains dipentene, phellandrene, terpene. The commercial oil of black pepper (Oleum Piperis) is the volatile oil, fixed oil, and pungent resin, being a by-product in making piperine, consequently is very similar to the oleoresin. Dose, j-3 (.06-2 Ml. (Cc.)).

Chavicin. - Obtained by neutralizing the potassium hydroxide solution (for piperine) with an acid; it is a soft, pungent resin, whose pungency depends upon the presence of piperine and piperidine; soluble in alkalies, alcohol, ether.

Preparations. - 1. Oleoresina Piperis. Oleoresin of Pepper. (Syn., Oleores. Piper., Extractum Piperis Fluidum, Fluidextract of Black Pepper; Fr. Oleoresine de Poivre noir; Ger. AEtherisches Pfefferex-trakt.)

Manufacture: Percolate slowly, in a covered glass percolator, 100 Gm. with ether, added in successive portions, until exhausted, reclaim most of the ether on water-bath, transfer residue to a dish, allow remaining ether to evaporate spontaneously in a warm place, and after the piperine has ceased to deposit separate the two by straining through purified cotton; contains fixed oil, volatile oil, holding in solution pungent resin and some piperine, the latter, precipitating on standing, being rejected; yield 5-6.5 p. c. Should be kept in well-stoppered bottles. Dose, ss-2 (.03-.13 Ml. (Cc.)).

Unoff. Preps.: Fluidextract, dose, v-20 (.3-1.3 Ml. (Cc.)). Plaster (oleoresin 1 gr. (.06 Gm.) to every 4 square inches + resin plaster q. s.). Confectio Piperis (Br.), 10 p. c, dose, 3j-2 (4-8 Gm.). Poultice.

Properties. - Stimulant, tonic, febrifuge, irritant, rubefacient, carminative, antipyretic. Stimulates secretion of mouth, stomach, kidneys; excessive doses give abdominal heat, thirst, vomiting, fever, convulsions, increases urine, irritates bladder, urethra, and may cause urticaria.

Uses. - Intermittents, enlarged lymphatic glands, gargles to stimulate throat, gums, plasters for muscular rheumatism, headache, colic, also for flatulence, indigestion, head-lice, gleet, leucorrhoea, gonorrhoea, fistula, paralysis of tongue. From Hippocrates' time down as a condiment, and as such today ranks next to salt the world over.

Allied Plants:

1. Piper officina'rum {Ion'gum), Long Pepper. - The immature fruit dried in the sun, official 1830-1840; Java, India, Ceylon, Philippine Islands, Bengal. Shrub like official; leaves cordate; flowers spikes; fruit spike-like cone 2,5-4 Cm. (1-13/5') long, 5 Mm. (1/5') thick, cylindrical, uneven, dusty, blackish-gray, the many coalesced fruits spirally arranged, each crowned with style remnant; odor, taste, properties, and composition like official. The Bengal long pepper is darker and shorter (2.5 Cm.; 1' long) than that from elsewhere.

2. P. al'bum, White Pepper. - The ripe fruit of P. nigrum deprived of the pericarp which it separates easily, and may be facilitated by

Fig. 80.   Matico: natural size.

Fig. 80. - Matico: natural size.

gathering spikes, cleaning, immersing in water, and rubbing with the hands in baskets. It is somewhat larger than the official, smooth, yellowish, hard, horny, mealy within; odor and taste similar to but less powerful than the black. There are four varieties: 1, Tellicherry; 2, Penang; 3, Batavia; 4, Singapore. Largely used in China. Still another variety is made by soaking off (or using mechanical means) the outer portion (pericarp) of black pepper, or simply drying the very young and immature fruit, but this is smaller and inferior. Adulterations: Same as in the official.

3. P. angustifo'lium, Matico. - The leaves, official 1860-1910; C. and S. America - Mexico, Cuba, Peru, Brazil, etc.; cultivated. Shrub 3 M. (10°) high, stem with enlarged joints and quadrangular branches, the younger hairy; flowers small, yellowish, dense spike; fruit size of a poppy seed, hard, black, 1-seeded. Leaves, 10-15 Cm. (4-6') long, petiolate, oblong-lanceolate, apex pointed, base unequally cordate, crenulate, tessellated above, reticulated beneath, meshes small, veins densely brownish-hairy; aromatic, spicy, bitterish, astringent; solvents: alcohol (50-75 p. c), boiling water; contains volatile oil 2-3 p. c, artanthic acid, pungent resin, bitter principle, tannin, mucilage - maticin is only a potassium salt. Stimulant, tonic, diuretic, styptic, vulnerary, aphrodisiac (similar to cubeb - mostly due to volatile oil); bronchitis, gonorrhoea, menorrhagia, hemorrhoids, diarrhoea, dysentery, haematuria, hemorrhage, vesical catarrh, incontinence of urine; locally to bleeding surfaces, owing to the many hairs promoting blood-clot. Adulterations: Leaves of allied species of its own genus, and those of Eupato'rium and Walthe'ria genera - none being tessellated above or rough and hairy beneath. Dose, gr. 15-60 (1-4 Gm.); fluidextract (75 p. c. alcohol), xv-60 (1-4 Ml. (Cc.)); infusion, 5 p. c., ℥j-2 (30-60 Ml. (Cc.)).; tincture, 10 p. c., 3j-2 (4-8 Ml. (Cc.)).

4. P. Be'tel. - India. Climbing plant; leaves chewed by the Malays with lime and areca-nut shavings. P. Carpun'ya, Chile, Peru; small tree. P. pelta'tum, P. umbella'tum; Tropical America. Diuretic, skin diseases, tumors.