The black peppercorns that we use today to flavour food have an interesting history and can be used for magic, medicine and food. Peppercorns start life as small berries that grow on a vine, they are picked while they are still green and sun-dried until they turn black.
Peppercorns are native to Malabar in Southern India, but these days they are also cultivated in almost every tropical region including Vietnam, Brazil, China and Sri Lanka.
According to botanists, a fruit is any plant that has seeds, so pepper is officially a fruit.
The first records of pepper go back to 2000 years BCE when it was mentioned in ancient Indian writings.
Peppercorns were used in the mummification of Ramses II, they were found stuffed into his nostrils.
Black pepper was highly valued by the Ancient Romans, it was as valuable as gold and silver and at one time used as currency. The Roman's used it extensively in their cooking, and because of its expensive price it became something of a status symbol, used only by the wealthy.
It is said that when Attila the Hun ransacked Rome, one of his demands included 3000 lbs of peppercorns.
Pliny the Elder mentioned pepper in his work ‘Natural History’. He states:
“Long pepper … is fifteen denarii per pound, while that of white pepper is seven, and of black, four”. Pliny was obviously not a fan as he went on to say -
“Pepper has nothing in it that can plead as a recommendation to either fruit or berry, its only desirable quality being a certain pungency; and yet it is for this that we import it all the way from India! Who was the first to make trial of it as an article of food? And who, I wonder, was the man that was not content to prepare himself by hunger only for the satisfying of a greedy appetite?”
Queen Elizabeth 1 had her sailors sew up their pockets to prevent them from stealing peppercorns.
In the 17th century advancements in navigation led to strengthening in trade routes with India which made pepper more widely available. Other spices became popular, and the price of peppercorns lowered allowing more people to buy it.
Culpepper writes in his Herbal that pepper is effectual against snake bites!
Nicknamed ‘Black Gold’ and the ‘King of spices’ black pepper is now the worlds most traded spice and the most commonly used in kitchens around the world.
Medicinally, Black pepper can be used to help with digestive problems and to stimulate the appetite after an illness. CAUTION Too much pepper taken in one go may overheat the body causing reddening of skin, sweating and possible faintness. It can also be an irritant to the nose and eyes.
Protection, exorcism, jealousy, negativity, strength, confidence, courage, gossip.
Ruling Planet: Mars
Black peppercorns are a perfect ingredient to add to protection pouches to be carried around with you or added to spell jars. It will also empower you with strength and confidence.
Grind peppercorns up and sprinkle the powder around your home to protect it from negativity.
Add peppercorns to Hot Foot Powder recipes ( see recipe below) It can be sprinkled on the ground where your intended victim will walk in it and used to drive that person out of your life.
If you have an unwanted guest throw a pinch of salt and black pepper after them just after they have left to stop them from returning.
Add a drop of black pepper essential oil to black salt to boost its protective properties.
Add 5 drops of black pepper essential oil to a carrier oil and add to your bath or use as a massage oil for sore aching muscles.
Hot Foot Powder -
A Kitchen Witches World of Magical Plants and Herbs – Rachel Patterson
Kitchen Medicine – Julie Bruton –Seal and Matthew Seal
Blackthorns botanical magic – Amy Blackthorn