Health benefits of Japanese pepper

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Japanese pepper Quick Facts
Name: Japanese pepper
Scientific Name: Zanthoxylum piperitum
Origin China, Japan, Korea and also in other countries such as Nepal, Tibet, Bhutan and Japan
Colors Reddish
Shapes Berries or peppercorns of about 5 mm that contain black seeds
Taste Bitter, Acrid, Pungent
Health benefits Beneficial for tuberculosis, dyspepsia, internal parasites, asthma, kidney and bladder complaints, edema, dysentery, ecchymosis, lactorrhea, malaria, polyuria and spermatorrhea
Zanthoxylum piperitum, popularly known as Japanese pepper or Korean pepper in English, sanshō in Japanese and chopi in Korean, is an aromatic spiny shrub, belonging to the Rutaceae (citrus and rue) family.  The plant is native from Hokkaido to Kyushu in Japan, southern parts of the Korean peninsula, and Chinese mainland and also in other countries such as Nepal, Tibet and Bhutan. Some of the well-known popular common names of the plant includes Japan Pepper, Poivrier De Sichuan, Clavalier, Fagara, Sansho, Poivrier Du Japon, Szetchwan pepper, Anise pepper, Spice pepper, Sichuan pepper, Chinese pepper, Japanese pepper, (Japanese) prickly ash, Indonesian lemon pepper, Szechuan-Pfeffer, Chinesischer Pfeffer, Japanischer Pfeffer, Blütenpfeffer, Bergpfeffer, Gelbholzbaum, Anispfeffer, Indonesischer Zitronenpfeffer, sanshou, Chin chiao, Chopinamu, Chop’inamu, Faah jiu, Fagara, Hu chiao, Hua chiao, Hua jiao, Japanischer Pfeffer, Pepper Ash and Sansho.  The plant is normally harvested from the wild, and is also much cultivated in Japan and Korea, for its fruit which is used as a pepper-like flavoring. The plant is also often used as a medicine. It is occasionally grown as an ornamental in gardens.

Japanese Pepper Facts

Name Japanese pepper
Scientific Name Zanthoxylum piperitum
Native China, Japan, Korea and also in other countries such as Nepal, Tibet, Bhutan and Japan
Common Names Japan Pepper, Poivrier De Sichuan, Clavalier, Fagara, Sansho, Poivrier Du Japon, Szetchwan pepper, Anise pepper, Spice pepper, Sichuan pepper, Chinese pepper, Japanese pepper, (Japanese) prickly ash, Indonesian lemon pepper, Szechuan-Pfeffer, Chinesischer Pfeffer, Japanischer Pfeffer, Blütenpfeffer, Bergpfeffer, Gelbholzbaum, Anispfeffer, Indonesischer Zitronenpfeffer, sanshou, Chin chiao, Chopinamu, Chop’inamu, Faah jiu, Fagara, Hu chiao, Hua chiao, Hua jiao, Japanischer Pfeffer, Pepper Ash, Sansho
Name in Other Languages Chinese:  Hua jiao (花椒),  Shan jiao (山椒), Shan hua jiao (山花椒  ), Le Dang Hua Jiao
Czech:  Čínský pepř, Japonský pepř, Pepř sečuánský, Sanšó
Dutch: Japanse peperboom
English: Japanese pepper, Japanese-pepper tree, Szechwan pepper, Korean pepper, chopi, Japanese prickly ash
Estonian: Pipra-koldpuu
Finnish: Pippurilimopuu
French: Clavalier, Clavalier poivrier, Poivre anisé, Poivre brun, Poivre de Szechuan, Poivre du Setchuan, Poivre du Sichuan, Poivrier du Japon, Poivre rouge, poivre fleur
German: Anispfeffer, Chinesischer Pfeffer, Gelbholzbaum, Japanischer Pfeffer, Szechuan-Pfeffer, Pfefferbaum, Japanischer, japanischer Gelbholzbaum, japanischer Pfefferbaum
Hindi: Tephal, Tirphal, timbur
Hungarian:   Ánizsbors, Kínai bors, Szecsuáni bors,
Italian: Pepe d’anis
Japanese: Kinome (キノメ),   Kinome (きのめ),  Sanshō no ha (山椒の葉 ) ,  Sanshou (サンショウ)
Korean: Cho pi na mu (초피나무),  chopi (초피)
Marathi: Tiraphaḷa (तिरफळ)
Persian: فلفل ژاپنی
Polish: Pieprz chiński, Pieprz japoński, Pieprz syczuański, Żółtodrzew, Sanshō
Portuguese: Fagara, pimenta-do-japão, pimenteira-do-japão
Russian: Yaponskiy perets (Японский перец)  Iaponskii perets, Sychuan’skii perets (Сычуаньский перец), zheltodrevesnik perechnyy (желтодревесник перечный), perechnoye derevo (перечное дерево)
Spanish: Cayatuna, Pimienta de anis, Pimienta del Japón, pimentero japonés
Vietnamese: Hoàng lực, Sưng, Trưng, Xuyên tiêu
Plant Growth Habit Compact, rounded, deciduous aromatic spiny shrub or small tree
Plant Size 8-15 ft. (2.5-4.5 m) tall and wide
Leaf Leaves are alternate, pinnately compound, from 7.5-15 cm long, with eleven to twenty-three leaflets, the main-stalk downy, having a few small spines on the lower side, and slightly winged
Flowering season April to June
Flower Flower yellow-green, small, in 2.5-5 cm clusters. It is dioecious, and the flowers of the male plant can be consumed as hana-sanshō, while the female flowers yield berries or peppercorns of about 5 mm.
Fruit Shape & Size Berries or peppercorns of about 5 mm that contain black seeds which are ground and used as a seasoning in Japan
Fruit Color Reddish
Seed Seeds are black, about the size of large shot
Taste Bitter, Acrid, Pungent
Plant Parts Used Bark, Seed, Leaves, Fruits
Season October till November
Precautions
  • Avoid use during Pregnancy, Breast Feeding.
  • In larger doses, is toxic to the central nervous system.

Plant Description

Japanese pepper is a compact, rounded, deciduous aromatic spiny shrub or small tree that normally grows about 8-15 ft. (2.5-4.5 m) tall and wide. Leaves are alternate, pinnately compound, from 7.5-15 cm long, with eleven to twenty-three leaflets, the main-stalk downy, having a few small spines on the lower side, and slightly winged. Leaflets are 2-4 cm long, ovate, stalk less, toothed, with an occasional prickle on the midrib which is also downy above, dark green, but often yellow in the center when young. The backside is whitish by comparison to the top side.

Flower & Fruit

The tree blooms in April to May, forming axillary flower clusters, about 2.5-5 cm, and yellow-green in color. It is dioecious, and the flowers of the male plant can be consumed as hana-sanshō, while the female flowers yield berries or peppercorns of about 5 mm. In autumn, these berries ripen, turning scarlet and burst, scattering the black seeds within. These black seeds are ground and used as a seasoning in Japan.

Health benefits of Japanese pepper

Japanese pepper is a great condiment and has a lot to give for health.  Listed below are some of the well-known health benefits of Japanese pepper

1. Good for Eye Health

Vitamin A helps to protect your eyes from night blindness and/or any age related weakening. It may lower the risk of certain types of cancers. Amazingly, it reduces or minimizes the risk of acne. It supports normal vision, cell growth and your immune system.

2. Contains lots of B vitamins

Japanese pepper consists of B Vitamins which are beneficial to the body. It is vital in boosting the immune system, breaks down food to energy and encourages healthy hormones. It also prevents diseases such as beri-beri, and reduces risks in heart diseases. Studies show that Japanese pepper also contains Vitamin B12, a vitamin that can help you avoid anemia. Moreover, it contains vitamin B9 (folic acid) which is essential for pregnancy and for growing a healthy baby.

3. Strengthens the bones

This incredible pepper has calcium which helps build and maintain strong bones. Calcium is needed for better functioning of your heart, muscles, and nerves. Moreover, Japanese pepper may help in slow bone mineralization which in effect, reduces risks of fractures in the bones.

4. Treatment for diarrhea

Japanese pepper was known before as naruhajika and was used traditionally as a remedy for diarrhea since the Heian Period. In fact, it was considered as a best treatment for many digestive problems. It helps in normalizing your bowel movements and supports your intestines in absorbing fluids. If you want an easy home remedy found in the kitchen, you better try Japanese pepper at your home.

Traditional uses and benefits of Japanese pepper

  • It is antiperiodic, antitussive, carminative, diuretic, parasiticide and stimulant.
  • Fruit consists of an essential oil, flavonoids and isoquinoline alkaloids.
  • It is anthelmintic, antibacterial, antifungal and stomachic.
  • It prevents the synthesis of prostaglandin and, in larger doses, is toxic to the central nervous system.
  • It is used in Korea in the treatment of tuberculosis, dyspepsis and internal parasites.
  • Resin contained in the bark, and especially in roots, is powerful stimulant and tonic.
  • Fruit pericarp has been used as an anthelmintic and for treating disorders of the digestive organs in Korea.
  • Decoction of the root is used in the treatment of snakebites.
  • Bark was extensively used for toothache, colic, and rheumatism.
  • It is recommended in the treatment of dysentery, spermatorrhcea, galactorrhoea, and polyuria.
  • Externally, it is used as a stimulant to the skin and as a parasiticide.
  • Seeds are considered diuretic, and are used in the treatment of dropsies, diseases of the kidney and bladder, and in asthma.
  • Decoction of the root is used in the treatment of kidney and bladder difficulties.
  • It is used as a wash; the decoction is used to treat ecchymosis and other skin affections.
  • Ethno botanical uses of Japanese pepper include the treatment of tuberculosis, dyspepsia (indigestion), internal parasites, asthma, kidney and bladder complaints, edema, dysentery, ecchymosis, lactorrhea, malaria and polyuria.
  • It prevents the skin from damage caused by free radicals. It slows down the effect of free radicals on the Skin. It slows down the Aging process. It promotes cell regrowth. It makes skin beautiful and radiant.
  • It inhibits the synthesis of Prostaglandin in the body.
  • Japanese Pepper is used as a remedy for digestive and Intestinal problems.
  • It is helpful in burning body fat.
  • It helps to digest food and burn fat in the body.
  • In China, Japanese pepper has historically been used as an antiseptic and as a digestive aid that was thought to benefit the spleen and stomach.
  • The spicy, warming herb was also used for intestinal parasites, colds, fevers, and as an anti-fungal.
  • In Korea, the berries are used in temple food dishes, referring to vegetarian meals that are served in Buddhist temples, which aid meditative practices.
  • It’s used for stomach ache and abdominal fullness and used mainly for gastric disorders.

Culinary Uses

  • Ground-up seeds are used as a pepper substitute whilst the bark and leaves are used as a spice.
  • Pulverized berries are the standard spice for sprinkling on broiled eel (kabayaki-unagi) and is one of the main ingredients of the blended spice called shichimi.
  • Seed is ground into a powder and used as a condiment, a pepper substitute.
  • It is often heated in order to bring out its full flavor and can be mixed with salt for use as a table condiment.
  • Ground and dry-roasted fruit is an ingredient of the Chinese five spice powder.
  • Bark and leaves are used as a spice.
  • Young leaves can be consumed raw or cooked.
  • They are used in soups or as a flavoring in salads.
  • Both the leaves and fruits (peppercorns) are used as an aromatic and flavoring in these countries.
  • Young leaves and shoots are often garnished grilled fish and soups.
  • The young leaves are crushed and blended with miso using suribachi to make a paste, a pesto sauce of sorts, and then used to make various aemono (tossed salad).
  • Immature green berries are blanched and salted, or simmered using soy sauce into dark-brown tsukudani, which is eaten as condiment.
  • Berries are also cooked with small fry fish and flavored with soy sauce, a specialty item of Kyoto.
  • In Southern Korean cuisine, dried and ground chopi fruit is used as a condiment served with varieties of food, such as chueo-tang (loach soup), maeun-tang (spicy fish stew), and hoe (raw fish).
  • Leaves are also eaten pickled as jangajji, pan-fried to make buchimgae (pancake), or deep-fried as fritters such as twigak and bugak.
  • Chopi leaves are added to anchovy-salt mixture to make herbed fish sauce, called chopi-aekjeot.
  • Young leaves are used as a flavoring in salads.

Other Facts

  • The trees can start fruiting when they are 2-3 years old.
  • Thick wood of the tree is traditionally made into a gnarled and rough-hewn wooden pestle, to use with suribachi in Japan.
  • While sansho wood surikogi are less common today, they impart subtle flavor to foods ground with them.
  • In Southern parts of Korea, the fruit is traditionally used in fishing.
  • Being poisonous to small fish, a few fruit dropped in a pond make the fish float shortly after.
  • In Japan, Sansho found favor as a cooking ingredient that could help remove strong odors from food, such as fish dishes.

References:

https://npgsweb.ars-grin.gov/gringlobal/taxon/taxonomydetail?id=42197

https://pfaf.org/user/plant.aspx?LatinName=Zanthoxylum+piperitum

https://www.cabi.org/isc/datasheet/57359

https://landscapeplants.oregonstate.edu/plants/zanthoxylum-piperitum

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zanthoxylum_piperitum

http://www.theplantlist.org/tpl1.1/record/kew-2469335

https://gd.eppo.int/taxon/ZANPI

https://davesgarden.com/guides/pf/go/2210/#b

https://temperate.theferns.info/plant/Zanthoxylum+piperitum

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The content and the information in this website are for informational and educational purposes only, not as a medical manual. All readers are urged to consult with a physician before beginning or discontinuing use of any prescription drug or under taking any form of self-treatment. The information given here is designed to help you make informed decisions about your health. It is not intended as a substitute for any treatment that may have been prescribed by your doctor. If you are under treatment for any health problem, you should check with your doctor before trying any home remedies. If you are following any medication, take any herb, mineral, vitamin or other supplement only after consulting with your doctor. If you suspect that you have a medical problem, we urge you to seek competent medical help. The Health Benefits Times writers, publishers, authors, its representatives disclaim liability for any unfavorable effects causing directly or indirectly from articles and materials contained in this website www.healthbenefitstimes.com