Pimento (Pimenta dioica)is also known as Allspice.
Allspice comes from the dried berry of the pimento, a tropical evergreen tree of the myrtle family that grows from 22 – 43 feet high on the average. The shrubby, slow-growing pimento has glossy leaves that are leathery and elliptical-shaped; and the aromatic tree produces small, white blooms in the spring and summer; followed by clusters of pea-sized brownish green, spicy berries in the fall. The immature berries are dried and ground to produce allspice. Allspice was named due to its scent, which is a combination of cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves. Pimento was given its name by Spanish and Portuguese explorers, who thought the dried berries looked like peppercorns, and called them “pimenta”, or pepper. The leaves, berries, and oil are used, not only for health and medicinal purposes, but also for spices, flavoring, and fragrance. The wood of the tree was also used to make aromatic walking sticks and umbrellas in the 1800’s, leading to over-harvesting followed by strict controls to prevent extinction. The pimento tree is native to the West Indies, the Caribbean Islands, Central and South America, and Mexico. It is grown commercially in Jamaica, Mexico, Trinidad, Cuba, and Honduras.
Allspice is widely used as a carminative, to prevent or relieve flatulence. It is used as both an aromatic stimulant and as a tonic for the gastro-intestinal tract and digestive system, to treat vomiting, stomach ache, diarrhea and indigestion; along with digestive disorders such as dyspepsia and colic, and is known to improve the appetite. The essential oil in Allspice is a tonic for the nervous system, and has been used to treat nervous exhaustion, hysterical paroxysms, neuralgia, and convulsions. When used externally, Allspice’s warming effects are used to relieve chest infections, arthritis and rheumatism, bruises, and muscle aches and pains. Allspice has been used as a natural herbal remedy fever, colds, flu, diabetes, menstrual cramps, and heavy menstrual bleeding. Allspice extracts have antioxidant, antiseptic and anesthetic properties, and usefulness in fighting yeast and fungal infections.
Allspice is a natural source of beta-carotene, vitamins A, B-1, B-2, and C, niacin, thiamine, and riboflavin; along with the minerals iron, potassium, magnesium, selenium, and manganese. Its active elements are methyleugenol and caryophyllene, resin, tannin, sugar, quercetin, glycocides, and sesquiterpenes; and it contains metabolites of homovanillic and homomandelic acids, malic and galic acids, lignin, and bonastre. Another active constituent is the phenol eugenol, which is used by dentists as an antiseptic and a local anesthetic for teeth.
To soothe indigestion:
Make an infusion of 1 – 2 teaspoons of Allspice powder in one cup of boiling water. After steeping for 15 minutes, strain through a coffee filter. May drink up to 3 cups per day.
To relieve muscle aches and pains, joint pain and arthritis, and to treat bruises:
Make a poultice using Allspice powder mixed with enough water to make a paste. Spread the paste on a clean cloth, and then cover the affected area.
As a dietary supplement:
Take 1 – 2 capsules with water at mealtime; twice a day. Capsules average 600 mg allspice powder.
Latin Name:Pimenta dioica
Common Names: Allspice, pimento, Jamaica pepper, clove pepper, myrtle pepper, pimenta.
Properties: Carminative, anitdiarrheal, rubifacient, aromatic, digestive stimulant, digestive tonic, antioxidant, antiseptic, anesthetic, analgesic, antidontalgic, antifungal, nervous system stimulant, antidepressant, aphrodisiac, tonic.
Flatulence, stomach ache, colic, diahrrea, vomiting, indigestion, dispepsia, poor appetite, aromatic, fatigue, nervous exhaustion, hysterical paroxyms, depression, neuralgia, convulsions, menstrual cramping, heavy menstrual bleeding, fever, colds, flu, chest infections, arthritis, rheumatism, muscle aches and pains, joint soreness and pains, bruises, diabetes, yeast infections, fungal infections, tooth and gum pain.
Possible Side Effects:
Allspice and its extracts can be irritating to the mucous membranes. Consuming more than 5 ml of the essential oil may cause toxicity such as nausea, vomiting, central nervous system depression, and/or convulsions. Allspice should be avoided during pregnancy and while breastfeeding. It is contraindicated for those with cancer or at high risk for cancer, and for chronic gastrointestinal conditions such as reflux disease, duodenal ulcers, diverticulitis, and colitis.