Side effects of black pepper:

We all use black pepper to flavor the food. Black pepper has been an age-old remedy to treat several disorders. However, the possible side effects of black pepper make you rethink whether or not to consume it. 

Consuming too much black pepper, besides causing stomach upset, can cause other health issues. The consumption of black pepper is safe as long as it is consumed in small amounts, not every day. Taking large quantities of this spice may pose a number of side effects on your health [1]. 

If large quantities of black pepper are taken by mouth, there is a possibility that they may accidentally penetrate the lungs.

There has also been a report of death due to this accident consumption. It is especially common in children.

Check out the Best Spices for Your Diet! First, let us discuss what black paper is and its uses.

What is black pepper?

For thousands of years, black pepper has been one of the world’s most popular spices. This spice is also known as the “king of spices.” Traditionally, it is made from the dried, unripe fruit of Piper nigrum, which is a native plant of India [2]. 

The spice is usually dried and used as a seasoning or as a spice. It is common to use whole black peppercorns and ground black pepper in cooking. Among all spices, black pepper is the most important and is used widely throughout the world. 

There are more than 26 countries that cultivate pepper. In total, the two (black and white) grow between 315,500 and 320,500 tons of pepper. 

Uses of black pepper:

There are a variety of uses for black pepper throughout the world. This spice is traded globally in the most significant quantities.

Historically, black pepper has always been seasoned with salt. Black Pepper is dried in the sunlight and pepper spirit, and pepper oil is extracted from it. 

In times long before science became aware of how black pepper worked, it was used in folk medicine to treat a wide range of disorders and conditions, including rheumatism, influenza, chills, migraines, muscle pains, fevers, and digestive problems.

Additionally, it increased blood circulation and stimulated appetite. In Ayurveda, black pepper oil is used to make medicines [3]. 

Recent research has shown that while black pepper has many benefits, it also has numerous side effects. It has been found that black pepper can cause serious health problems when taken in high dosages. 

Therefore, this means that one should be highly cautious about the consumption of black pepper. Taking an excessive amount of black paper can cause severe effects on the body. Some of them can be fatal as well.

What is piperine?

The chemical compound ‘Piperine’, present in black pepper, appears to be capable of killing bacteria. Additionally, piperine may also kill parasites and fungi and aid the body in absorbing certain drugs. It seems that this chemical affects the body in many ways.

It is commonly used to treat hay fever, asthma, upset stomach, and various other conditions, but there is no good scientific research supporting these claims. Some studies have shown that it reduces inflammation, improves breathing, and reduces pain [4].

Unfortunately, some research suggests that the use of piperine might also have some adverse effects.  

Taking too much black pepper may cause bleeding complications, or blood sugar levels can be affected during surgery.

It is suggested that if you plan to undergo surgery, you need to stop using black pepper in a more tremendous amount than those on food at least two weeks before surgery. Additionally, pepper contains chemicals that increase blood levels of cyclosporine and Cefotaxime.  

Cyclosporine may increase blood pressure and damage kidneys if taken in high doses. It may also cause vomiting, diarrhea, stomach upset, flushing, shakes, headaches, dizziness, and unusual hair growth.

An increased level of Cefotaxime can result in rashes, itching, hives, fever, nausea, vomiting, and stomach pain.

Additionally, it is also observed that it causes gastrointestinal issues, can affect pregnancy, and male fertility, can cause redness of the skin, and trigger you to sneeze.

bowl of ground black pepper on blue washed wood

Is black pepper bad for your health?

It is generally true that eating a lot of black pepper is not healthy. Black pepper usually upsets the stomach. You might experience heartburn or indigestion if you overdo it.

Pepper-containing products cause stomach irritation and gastrointestinal side effects comparable to those caused by aspirin.

The consumption of pepper will destroy gastric cells that will manifest themselves in bleeding in the mucous membranes of the GI tract [5]. 

Now, let’s talk about the potential dangers of consuming too much black pepper. We have provided a partial list of possible side effects of black pepper below for your convenience. 

Potential dangers of too much black pepper:

Typical side effects of black pepper include acid reflux, constipation, loss of potassium, and nausea. Sneezing, hives, rashes, and swelling around the tongue and mouth are all signs of an allergic reaction to black pepper. In extreme cases, it can even cause profound respiratory reactions.

Pepper also modifies the absorption of toxins since it destroys the stomach and gut lining’s natural protective barrier [6]. Its ability to affect the liver detoxifying enzymes and enhance absorption can alter the effectiveness of prescription medications like chemotherapy, cholesterol-lowering drugs, and heart rate medications. 

When consumed in large quantities, black pepper causes stomach burns. As discussed above, black pepper can cause death due to respiratory problems when ingested in large quantities. 

In certain circumstances, black pepper may react with medicines harmfully [7]. There may be some irritation to pregnant women, and there may be some allergies to nursing mothers who consume black pepper.

Further, some medications, including antihistamines used to treat allergy symptoms, may be absorbed and available more readily by black pepper. While this may be useful for poorly absorbed medications, it is also possible for other medications to be absorbed at a dangerously high rate [8].

Gastrointestinal problems:

According to studies, black pepper can cause damage to the gastric mucosa. Some subjects in the study exhibited symptoms of gastric bleeding after consuming black pepper.

In some studies, the main component of black pepper, piperine, has caused severe digestion problems. You can taste a burning sensation when you consume black pepper.

Even though this is just one of the characteristics of black pepper, overeating this spice can result in a similar sensation of burning in the stomach and throat.

An upset stomach or other gastrointestinal symptoms may result from consuming black pepper in medicine form by mouth.

However, researchers conclude that further research on the long-term safety of spices (including black pepper) is necessary. Anyhow, it is recommended not to take black pepper if you are suffering from digestive disorders. 

Over absorption of certain drugs:

Several drugs are absorbed better in the presence of black pepper. A few of these are liver-stimulating agents and antihistamines, which combat allergies.

Piperine, a bio enhancer in black pepper, helps increase the absorption of drugs. The benefits of this could prevent poorly absorbed medications; however, overabsorption may lead to accelerated absorption and even lead to severe complications.

Can affect pregnancy:

Black pepper does not harm a pregnant woman when consumed in normal amounts. However, it may be unsafe to take large amounts since it can trigger a miscarriage. Pregnant women must avoid directly applying black pepper to their skin, too [9].

According to the scientific community, there are many reasons why black pepper should not be used during pregnancy. An infant’s body may experience a burning sensation due to this substance’s pungency.

An animal study found that black pepper’s piperine interferes with several reproductive processes in female mice [10]. The piperine also reduced the mice’s ability to mate and produce offspring.

A study on female rats showed that long pepper (another kind of black pepper) inhibits pregnancy by 80%.

Researchers advise against using the compound during pregnancy and lactation because it may have contraceptive effects [11].

Women might also experience reduced uterine contractions after taking piperine. If this occurs, delivery or pregnancy can become problematic.

Affects male fertility:

As well as affecting female fertility, piperine may also affect male fertility. A rat study has demonstrated that the compound damages sperm.

The sperm-storing duct in the male reproductive system, the epididymis, was subjected to a concentration of superoxide radicals [12].

Possibly affects blood sugar levels:

Several studies suggest that black pepper can affect blood sugar levels. This is also another profound side effect of black pepper.

People with diabetes may experience blood sugar fluctuations if they take more black pepper than they eat. Diabetes medication dosage may need to be adjusted accordingly.

Black pepper slows blood clotting:

Among the other side effects of black pepper is disruption of blood clotting. Black pepper, which contains piperine, may reduce blood clotting.

When people with bleeding disorders take more black pepper than they are usually offered in foods, they might experience more bleeding.

It is also believed that the piperine in black pepper may slow the formation of blood clots, thereby causing bleeding complications or altering blood sugar levels during surgery.

Drug interactions may occur:

Some medications can interact with black pepper due to its piperine content. Some co-administered drugs may react with piperine in black pepper. While it may lead to some benefits in some instances, it can also have adverse consequences. 

Piperine inhibits or stimulates the activity of several metabolic enzymes and transporters, and this is because piperine acts as an inhibitor and inducer [13].

In addition, researchers have found that piperine inhibits carbamazepine (a medication used to treat epilepsy). 

Moreover, it is believed that piperine inhibits the activity of the body enzyme CYP3A, which plays an essential part in the removal of toxins. This is a severe side effect of black pepper since it might result in harmful toxins building up in the body.

Skin redness may occur:

Most adults are safe when putting black pepper directly on their skin. However, some people may experience redness and a burning sensation on their skin due to the chemicals [14]. 

Researchers found that cosmoperine, a compound found in black pepper, causes skin inflammation by engorgement of blood vessels (when blood clots in the arteries). Skin tingling can also accompany this condition. However, there has been little research on it.

Esophageal cancer

Esophageal cancer occurs when malignant (cancer-causing) cells develop in the esophagus. Black pepper indigestion may be associated with nasopharyngeal or esophageal cancer. However, this is subject to controversy.

Can cause you to sneeze

It is prudent to be aware of sneezing, even though it may not be a severe side effect. This is because black pepper contains the compound piperine, which can cause irritation.

It is possible to irritate the nerve endings within the nasal mucous membrane by breathing in the aroma of black pepper. When you sneeze, you do so because the irritants make your nose want to expel them [15].

Although, most dishes use black pepper as an ingredient. But it’s imperative to understand when to stop taking it since some of its side effects can be severe. 


Pepper is generally non-toxic and doesn’t cause side effects in most people. Piperine was found to be safe in a study with human volunteers. 

However, some people experience nausea while taking the supplement. The consumption of 250 times the average human consumption did not cause toxicity in rats.

It was also believed that piperine shares similarities with specific cancer-causing agents in its chemical structure. Piperine and other chemicals in the black pepper can cause potential dangers if you consume too much black pepper.

Some people are known to experience burning sensations inside their stomachs after consuming black pepper, so they should monitor the amount of pepper they consume before discarding it completely.

Burning sensations can also occur in the eyes if black pepper is accidentally inhaled. Black pepper should be used with care, and it is a good idea to wash the hands with soap after using it.

According to the study, your daily intake of black pepper should be limited to only three days per week as a food flavoring spice.

However, you should consult your doctor for other potential side effects based on your health conditions and possible interactions with other drugs.

Before we wrap things up, I would like to talk about the recommended amount of black pepper. In this way, you will have an easier time avoiding unwanted side effects of black pepper.

wooden mortar and pestle with ground black pepper

How much black pepper is safe?

Many cuisines use black pepper to enhance their taste and smell. Many health conditions can also be treated using black pepper. In addition to black pepper’s benefits, many side effects are usually associated with excessive use.

You may want to contemplate dosage or ask yourself how often to take black pepper and what is a reasonable dose. 

Make sure you know the appropriate instructions for using black pepper products. The typical amounts of black pepper used in food and cooking are considered safe for humans.

There is some evidence that supplements containing 5-20 mg of piperine per dose are also safe (but there have been few studies in this area).

No recommendations have been made regarding how high the dosage should be. The compound piperine is present in black pepper in amounts ranging from 0.4% to 7%.

It takes about six teaspoons of black pepper to consume 1 gram of piperine. That’s not likely to happen [16].

The safe dosage of black pepper depends on the user’s height, weight, age, and other conditions and how the appropriate dosage should be used if the substance is being used as a supplement or for other health reasons. 

The scientific literature does not provide enough information yet to determine the appropriate dose range for children or adults to take black pepper. 

Conclusion on the side effects of black pepper:

Black pepper is associated with many health benefits, one of the most popular spices in the world. Black pepper contains piperine, which seems to kill bacteria.

Piperine may also kill fungi and parasites and aid the body in absorbing some drugs. But naturally-occurring substances such as black pepper are not always completely safe.

In most cases, black pepper is considered safe in cooking and as a supplement but may become dangerous for human health if it significantly increases the absorption of certain drugs. 

However, if consumed in large quantities, black pepper may also cause many other potential side effects. Therefore, black pepper should be used cautiously.

For this reason, if you’re considering increasing your intake of black pepper or taking piperine supplements, consult your healthcare provider to find out whether there might be any drug interactions.

Other related articles:

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  2. 10 Health Benefits Of Mangoes
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  4. 9 Proven Health Benefits Of Chia
  5. 10 Foods That Boost The Immune System

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