Black Pepper.

Botanical name: 

Piper nigrum.

Also see: Black Pepper - White Pepper - Long Pepper - Jamaica Pepper - Guinea Pepper.

An eastern plant, of a very singular kind. It grows six or eight feet in length, but the stalks are not able to support themselves upright: they are round, green, jointed, and thick, and when they trail upon the ground, roots are sent forth from these joints. The leaves are large, of an oval figure, of a firm substance, and ribbed highly: they stand on short pedicles, one at each joint. The flowers are small and inconsiderable: they grow to the stalk. The fruit succeeds, which is what we call pepper: they hang upon a long stalk, twenty or forty together: they are green at first, but when ripe they are red: they grow black and wrinkled in drying. The largest and least wrinkled on the coat, are the best grains.

The fruit is used, and it is excellent against all coldnesses and crudities upon the stomach. It gives appetite in these cases, and assists digestion. It is also good against dizzinesses of the head, and against obstructions of the liver and spleen, and against colics. We are apt to neglect things as medicines, that we take with food; but there is hardly a more powerful simple of its kind than pepper, when given singly, and on an empty stomach.

The Family Herbal, 1812, was written by John Hill.