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Black Pepper: Sun Power!
Piper nigrum • Sanskrit: Maricha • Hindi: Kali Mirch
Black pepper is native to the Malabar region of South India. For thousands of years, it has been the world’s most popular and widely traded spice. In fact, the Americas were accidentally “discovered” by Europeans while looking for a more direct route to secure their beloved pepper.
In Sanskrit, black pepper is called maricha, a name for the Sun, because of the tiny fruit’s ability to store such immense heat. This fire is pepper’s gift to the human body. It improves digestive strength, stimulates metabolism, burns up toxins, and destroys parasites and worms. It also helps to dry and expectorate mucus in the lungs, and dries up mucus in the sinuses and throat.
Black pepper can seriously pep up your chai. If you are running low on ginger, a few peppercorns can easily bring up the heat level. Be careful, though, not to create a masala chai that is too hot to drink! As with all spices, for the freshest flavor, grind the whole peppercorns just before adding them to the masala.