Background: Spices are mostly used as additives in food regularly to enhance the taste
and flavour. From ancient times, the plant of Piperaceae family contributes a large variety of species
to the spices section, from which Piper nigrum is one of the widely used spices worldwide in culinary
and as a medicinal agent. Piper nigrum is known as the king of spice due to its impactful constituent
Objective: To report a comprehensive view on the botanical description, traditional and culinary use,
phytochemistry, pharmacological activity, and toxicology of P. nigrum.
Methods: Literature searches were carried out in various databases, such as PubMed, SciFinder, and
Google Scholar for peer-reviewed research literature about traditional and culinary use, biologically
active compounds and distinctive pharmacological activities along with toxicology of P. nigrum.
Results: The main outcomes from the search are the bioactive compounds responsible for various
pharmacological activities, such as alkaloids, glycosides, terpenoids, steroids, flavonoids, tannins and
anthraquinones. Apart from its traditional uses, it is accounted for the treatment of numerous diseases
worldwide. Pharmacologically, the plant has been investigated for antioxidant, antimicrobial, digestive,
antidiarrheal, anticancer, neuroprotective, analgesic, anti-inflammatory, hypoglycaemic, hypolipidemic,
hepatoprotective, antihypertensive, antithyroid and antiasthmatic activities. Black pepper
showed no toxic effect up to 250 times more than their usual amount.
Conclusion: The overall review suggests that P. nigrum is not just a commonly utilized spice but also
at the same time utilized as a traditional plant with immense therapeutic potentials. The review also
suggests that limited work has been reported on the neuropharmacological activity of P. nigrum.
So, scientific evaluation of its neuroprotective effect can be a thrust area for the research.