Black pepper has long been a staple spice in the kitchen, but what many may not be aware of is its powerful benefits to the mind and body as an essential oil. Stimulating and warming, black pepper essential oil is great for using in massages, skincare routines, and more.
The black pepper plant is native to India and flourishes in tropical regions. It grows as a climbing vine, containing almond-shaped leaves and clustered flowers that contain seeds or peppercorns that are harvested and used to make black pepper essential oil. A member of the pipercaceae family, the pepper plant can grow up to 10 meters tall and can come in different varieties.
Method of Extraction
Black pepper (piper nigrum) is harvested when the seeds are green, which are dried and then steam distilled to create essential oil. Steam distillation is one of the most popular forms of extraction and works by vaporizing the volatile compounds found within the black pepper seeds to create a 100% pure essential oil.
Traditional Uses of Black Pepper Essential Oil
Used for thousands of years as a spice and in ayurvedic and traditional Chinese medicine, black pepper has a long-standing history. It was mentioned in Indian Sanskrit texts dating back 3,000 years ago, and was widely traded as a premier commodity in the markets of ancient Babylon, Greece, and Rome. Today, it’s still widely used as a spice in the majority of households, and as an essential oil in aromatherapy.
Benefits of Black Pepper Essential Oil
Skin, Hair, and Body Care Support
Black pepper essential oil provides a unique warming sensation when applied topically to the skin, which makes it great for body care. It can be used to soothe sore muscles when combined with carrier oil in massage therapy and to promote easy breathing when inhaled. One note of caution about black pepper essential oil is that it is similar to cinnamon essential oil in its level of spiciness, and can cause irritation in some people. So be sure to use it in small quantities.
In addition to topical benefits, black pepper essential oil is deeply grounding and can help ease a worried mind or awaken the senses when inhaled.
How to use Black Pepper Essential Oil
For the Skin
Before using it on the skin be sure to combine with a carrier oil such as jojoba or argan oil.
- Mix 2 drops of black pepper essential oil with 3 tablespoons of jojoba oil and gently massage into sore muscles or rub into cold feet.
- Combine 1 drop of black pepper essential oil with ½ teaspoon of jojoba oil and use it to prevent breakouts or treat blemishes.
- Mix 1 drop of black pepper essential oil, 1 drop of geranium essential oil, and ½ teaspoon of rosehip oil, and use it to revitalize the skin.
For Easy Breathing
- Add 2 drops of pepper essential oil and 2 drops of cedarwood essential oil to a diffuser with water (as directed) to promote clear breathing.
For Improving Your Surroundings
- dd 1 drop of pepper essential oil, 2 drops of lavender essential oil, and 2 drops of bergamot essential oil to a diffuser with water (as directed) to calm the nerves and unwind.
How to Safely Use Black Pepper Essential Oil
Black pepper essential oil is strong and can be irritating to some people, especially if used on the skin or inhaled in larger quantities. That is why it is best to only use it sparingly and to never ingest it. When using black pepper essential oil on your skin, be sure to combine it with carrier oil and perform a patch test, as it can cause allergic reactions in some people. If you are diffusing black pepper essential oil, be sure you are in a well-ventilated room and that you don’t leave the diffuser on for long periods of time. Avoid using black pepper essential oil around children, pets, or if you are pregnant. Take a look at this article, for more essential oil safety tips.
Ready to start reaping the benefits of black pepper essential oil? Follow the tips shared above and experiment blending it with your favorite essential oils. Typically black pepper essential oil pairs best with citrus, woodsy, or floral essential oils, such as bergamot, lavender, or cedarwood. To learn more about how essential oils can help you stay grounded, take a look at this article: 7 Ways to Diffusing Essential Oils Can Improve Your Wellbeing.