|Both black and white pepper have been used in the East for the treatment of stomach aches, digestive problems and fever for over 4,000 years. The Chinese used pepper to treat malaria, cholera and dysentery. Pepper induces perspiration which eventually cools the body, thus acting as a 'febrifuge'. The monks of India were advised to swallow 7 to 9 grains of pepper a day to give them an endurance boost on their long treks.
Being a valuable commodity, it was often used as payment. Attila the Hun reputedly demanded 3,000 pounds in weight of pepper in 408AD as part of a ransom for the city of Rome. In the Middle Ages, there was a French saying, 'As dear as pepper'. In England, rent could be played in pounds of pepper.
The Portuguese founded a trade route to India and the Spice Islands around the Cape of Good Hope in 1498 (Vasco da Gama's discovery). The Portuguese dominated the pepper trade until the 18th century when other countries cut in on the action.
Pepper has a sharp, hot and biting taste. It’s a warming spice. It is one of the oldest and important spices in the world. So important, that in ancient times it was used to pay taxes. In 410 A.D, when the Huns lay seige of Rome, 3000 pounds of pepper was demanded as ransom.
India holds a supreme position in the production of pepper. Two of its celebrated varieties are `Malabar Garbled’ and `Tellichery Extra bold’. The finest Indian pepper is grown in the monsoon forests of the Malabar coast in Kerala.
The word pepper is derived from the Sanskrit name pippali or pippalii, which is only one of the many names of pepper in Sanskrit language and that was transferred via Greek péperi and Latin piper. The most important producer for pepper is India that accounts for about 50% of the whole production volume.
Black pepper is a native to Malabar, a region on the Western Coast of South India. This aromatic spice with an exotic flavor and a pungent odor is cultivated in the wilds of Burma apart from South India since millennia. Two thousand years ago pepper reached Southeast Asia and has been grown in the lands of Malaysia and Indonesia since then. In the last few decades of the 20.th century, pepper production increased as new plantations were founded in Thailand, Vietnam, China and Sri Lanka.
In India pepper is a known spice since ages. Even before the time of Alexander's conquest of India, Indians knew the flavor of pepper. This spice was prevalent in the biblical times as well. Later Arab traders established a pepper monopoly and transferred the spice via the spice route through the Arab peninsular and Egypt to European customers. Pepper was much used by the Romans and in the Early Middle Ages became a status symbol of fine cookery.
In the production of this spice that is popularly known as the king of all spices, India has always overshadowed others. India has always reigned supreme in the production and export of this most exotic and sought-after spice.
Two of the most celebrated trade varieties of Indian black pepper are 'Malabar Garbled' and 'Tellichery Extra Bold'. India also offers green pepper in several processed forms like, frozen, dehydrated, freeze-dried and packed in brine.