We’re so used to pepper that we tend to forget how precious, fragrant and versatile it is.
What is pepper?
Piper nigrum, the black pepper plant, is a vine native to southern India that can grow up to 20 meters long (65 feet). Its very small, berry-like fruits grow in clusters and change in colour, taste, and scent as they ripen. Typically, black pepper is obtained from young green fruits which are picked and dried in the heat until they turn black and develop their pungent pepper smell. But you can also get white, green and red pepper from these fruits, each with a different intensity - so many flavourful choices with just one plant.
If this already amazes you, then rejoice, because there are so many plants in the world called pepper... enough to be overwhelmed! In Lush products alone, we use or have used pink pepper (Shinus molle), Sichuan pepper (Zanthoxylum Alatum), Sansho pepper (Zanthoxylum piperitum) and Jamaican pepper, also known as allspice.
What are the benefits of all these fragrant spices?
Although each pepper has its own specificity, their main common trait (when it comes to cosmetics) is their scent. Not that they all smell the same! But their oil, powder or infusion release strong and complex fragrances that can perfume the skin and hair.
As for black pepper, which we love so much at Lush, it is said to help relieve tension and aches while stimulating blood circulation when applied to the skin and scalp.
Did pepper change the world?
Well, kind of! Black pepper is listed as one of the Fifty Plants that Changed the Course of History (Bill Laws, 2010). Indeed, it was one of the stars of the spice trade. This trade began near 1000 BCE, bringing fragrant plants from all over the world, by land and sea, to the most enthusiastic European noses and palates. Black pepper was so popular and profitable that it encouraged explorers like Christopher Columbus to find easier and faster routes to India (where pepper was produced). And we all know how that ended!
Where does Lush source pepper?
Many peppers mean many sources! To learn more about our suppliers, browse your Lush product’s list of ingredients and click on the ones you are interested in. This should take you to a page full of details.
You can find the warm scent of black pepper gorgeously paired up with patchouli and vanilla in our Lord of Misrule range.