The dried unripe berries of Piper Nigrum. Black Pepper. Nat. Ord. Piperaceae. Linn. Syst. Diandria Trigynia. Hab. East and West Indies, Sumatra, Borneo, Siam, &c. Chiefly imported from the West Indies.
Med. Prop. and Action. The berries (off.) are hot, stimulant, and carminative, in doses of gr. v. - x. Pepper is also regarded as anti-periodic: this attribute is as old as the time of Celsus.§ When taken internally, it acts as a stimulant, increasing the arterial action, the cutaneous and other secretions. On the mucous membranes of the rectum and the genito-urinary organs, it seems, in common with Cubebs, to exercise a specific action. In large doses it produces inflammation of the stomach, and acts as an irritant poison. It contains three active principles: - 1, A crystalline principle. Piperine (see Piperina); 2, a volatile oil, on which the odour and taste of the drug depend; 3, an acrid resin. Under each of these principles intermittent fevers have been said to have been cured; but, on the other hand, they have each, when given singly, been found to fail: it appears probable that none of them, given singly, is so uniform in its operation as when they are administered together in the form of Pepper. Externally, ground Pepper is irritant, and is occasionally added to sinapisms, to increase their activity. The volatile oil is sometimes employed as a rubefacient. White Pepper (Piper Album) is merely Black Pepper deprived of its outer integument.
* Lancet, March 26, 1864. Med. Times and Gaz., Jan. 16, 1861.
See Malcolmson on Beri-beri, op. cit. § Lib. iii., cap. 12.
Dote of Black Pepper, gr. v. - x., or more.
It is contra-indicated in inflammation of the rectum and intestines.
In Intermittent Fevers, Pepper, bruised and macerated in spirit and water, has long been a popular remedy in the East and West Indies. Mild, uncomplicated cases occasionally yield to its use; but most frequently it fails to produce any benefit. It should be given immediately before an expected paroxysm. Dr. Pereira quotes several German authorities, who testify to the febrifuge powers of this remedy.
2080. In HAemorrhoids occurring in old Persons, or proceeding from debility, and also in a relaxed condition of the Rectum, producing occasional Prolapsus, the administration of Conf. Piper, in doses of gr. lx. - gr. cxx., and persevered in for three or four months, often affords great relief, and sometimes effects a cure. It is only applicable to chronic cases, when no inflammation is present, and in weak leucophlegmatic habits. An occasional aperient should be given to prevent its accumulating in the bowels. It is advised by Sir B. Brodie.*
2081. In Cholera, the natives of India often prescribe an infusion of recently-roasted Black Pepper. Dr. Ainslie states, that he has known it put a stop to the vomiting, when many other remedies had failed.
Turnbull speaks highly of the value of a concentrated tincture of Pepper (1 part of Pepper to 2 of Spirit) applied to the forehead. (See Zingiber.)
iv. of powdered Black Pepper and lb. j. of Lard, has been well spoken of as a stimulant application.
* I.ond. Med. Gaz., 1834-5, p. 747. Mat. Med. of Hindostan, p. 34.
Med. Gaz., Nov. 15, 1851.