The dried unripe berries of Piper nigrum. Imported from the East Indies.

Characters.-Small, roundish, wrinkled ; tegument brown -ish-black, containing a greyish-yellow globular seed. Odour aromatic. Taste pungent, and bitterish.

Substances resembling Black Pepper; Pimento, which has calyx; Cubebs, which has stalk.

Composition.-Pepper contains a volatile oil, isomeric with turpentine, with the odour of pepper ; a complex resin ; a tasteless crystalline alkaloid, piperin, C17Hl9N03, that is, isomeric with morphia; and chavicin.

Dose.-5 to 20 gr.


Confectio Piperis.-1 in 10. Dose, 1 to 2 dr.

Pepper is also contained in Confectio Opii (1 in 31), and Pulvis Opii Compositus (1 in 7 1/2).

Action And Uses. 1. Immediate Local Action And Uses

Externally, pepper is a domestic rubefacient, anodyne, and counter-irritant, like mustard.

Internally, it acts as a local stimulant aromatic in the mouth, stomach, and intestine. As a familiar condiment, it assists gastric digestion like other substances of the same class.

2. Action In The Blood, And Specific Action And Uses

The volatile oil of pepper acts on the blood and tissues like its allies. Piperin is believed to possess the antiperiodic and antipyretic action of other alkaloids such as quinia; and pepper was once a domestic remedy for ague, which may still be used when the appetite fails.

3. Remote Local Action And Uses

Some of the constituents of pepper are excreted by the kidney, and probably by the intestinal mucous membranes, and act as remote local stimulants of the circulation and nutrition in the urethra and rectum. Pepper is occasionally used in gleet; but much more extensively for haemorrhoids and other diseases of the rectum.