Black pepper is considered an important healing spice in ayurveda. Along with long pepper and ginger, it forms the herbal preparation called trikatu, an important ingredient in many ayurvedic formulations. It has cleansing and antioxidant properties, and it is a bioavailability enhancer — it helps transport the benefits of other herbs to the different parts of the body. It helps the free flow of oxygen to the brain, helps enhance digestion and circulation, stimulates the appetite, and helps maintain respiratory system health and the health of the joints.
Black pepper is a warming spice and contributes the pungent taste. It is excellent for pacifying Kapha, helps pacify Vata and increases Pitta.
Aromatic black pepper is widely used as a seasoning in the Western world. In ayurvedic cooking, black peppercorns as well as ground or cracked black pepper are common. Black peppercorns and other whole herbs such as cinnamon chips, cloves and cracked cardamom pods are sautéed in ghee and used to flavor basmati rice. Ground black pepper is combined with coconut milk and other spices to make sauces for vegetables. Pepper combines well with almost every other spice or herb.