Black pepper (Piper nigrum) is afloweringvinein the familyPiperaceae, cultivated for itsfruit, known as a peppercorn, which is usually dried and used as aspiceandseasoning. Ground, dried, and cooked peppercorns have been used since antiquity, both for flavour and as atraditional medicine. Black pepper is the world’s most tradedspice, and is one of the most common spices added to cuisines around the world. Its spiciness is due to the chemical compoundpiperine, which is a different kind of spicy from thecapsaicincharacteristic ofchili peppers. It is ubiquitous in the Western world as aseasoning, and is often paired withsaltand available on dining tables inshakersormills.
Compounds in black pepper — especially its active ingredient piperine — may protect against cell damage, improve nutrient absorption, and aid digestive issues.