HomeHerb DatabaseJamaica Pepper Thursday, April 24, 2014  
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Allspice

  • Pimenta officinalis L.
  • Myrtle family



Common Names

herbsClove pepper
herbsJamaica pepper
herbsPimento


Parts Usually Used

Fruit


Description of Plant(s) and Culture

Allspice is the dried berry of the pimento, an evergreen tree growing to 40 feet in height; it bears opposite, leathery, oblong to oblong-lanceolate leaves whose pinnately arranged veins show prominently on the underside. Small white flowers grow in many-flowered cymes in the upper leaf axils from June to August. The fruit is a fleshy, sweet berry which is purplish-black when ripe. The berries used for allspice are collected when they have reached full size but are not yet ripe. The name comes from the berry's taste, which has been described as a combination of cloves, Juniper berries, cinnamon, and pepper.


Where Found

Grows in the West Indies, South America, Central America, and Mexico.


Medicinal Properties

Aromatic, carminative, stimulant


Legends, Myths and Stories

Allspice tastes like a blend of cloves, cinnamon, and nutmeg, but is actually a single spice ground from the under-ripe dried berry of a tropical, evergreen myrtle tree, native to the West Indies and Central America. Smith's Dictionary of Economic Plants states: "In Jamaica the berries are highly spoken of as a substitute for tobacco, being odoriferous, but they require a long pipe to smoke them, when they afford a treat unknown in smoking tobacco."


Uses

Pimento water and oil of pimento are helpful for flatulent indigestion or simple flatulence; the oil is used for hysteria. Taken with a laxative, the oil lessens the tendency toward griping.. As an ointment or a bath additive, allspice is said to have some anesthetic effects. Also used for rheumatism and neuralgia.


Formulas or Dosages

Pimento water: combine 5 parts crushed berries with 200 parts water and distill down to half the original volume. A dose is from 1-2 fluid ounces.

Oil: a dose is from 2-5 drops. For flatulence, take 2 or 3 drops on sugar.

Powder: a dose is from 10-30 grains.

Plaster: boil crushed berries in water until the mixture is thick enough to spread on a linen cloth.

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