The dried unripe berries of Piper nigrum.
Therapeutic Action.—Black pepper is stimulant, tonic, febrifuge and rubefacient. It is an acrid agent, producing a pungent, burning sensation in the mouth and stomach, which is followed by a glow of heat upon the surface, and increased vascular action; the pulse is accelerated and diaphoresis promoted. It is employed as a condiment with a view to its excitant influence upon the stomach to aid digestion; and in part for its flavor. By some it is regarded as a stimulant to the genito-urinary organs.
Its febrifuge properties are thought by many to be important. The tincture has often been successfully used to prevent the recurrence of the paroxysms of intermittent fever. It has been employed for this purpose by many Italian physicians, with success, and also in the intermittents of the Southern and Western States. It may be advantageously combined with quinine and other tonics in this disease, when accompanied with gastric insensibility.