Piperine, along with its isomer chavicine, is the alkaloid[1] responsible for the pungency of black pepper and long pepper. It has been used in some forms of traditional medicine.

Piperine crystals.jpg
Preferred IUPAC name
Other names
3D model (JSmol)
ECHA InfoCard 100.002.135 Edit this at Wikidata
Molar mass 285.343 g·mol−1
Density 1.193 g/cm3
Melting point 130 °C (266 °F; 403 K)
Boiling point Decomposes
40 mg/l
Solubility in alcohol 1 g/15 ml
Solubility in ether 1 g/36 ml
Solubility in chloroform 1 g/1.7 ml
Safety data sheet MSDS for piperine
Except where otherwise noted, data are given for materials in their standard state (at 25 °C [77 °F], 100 kPa).
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Infobox references
Heat Very hot
Scoville scale100,000 SHU


Due to its poor solubility in water, piperine is typically extracted from black pepper by using organic solvents like dichloromethane.[2] However, aqueous extraction can be performed with high yields and selectivity with the use of hydrotrope solutions.[3] The amount of piperine varies from 1–2% in long pepper, to 5–10% in commercial white and black peppers.[4]

Piperine can also be prepared by treating a concentrated alcoholic extract of black pepper with an alcoholic solution of potassium hydroxide to remove resin (said to contain chavicine, an isomer of piperine). The solution is decanted from the insoluble residue and left to stand overnight. During this period, the alkaloid slowly crystallizes from the solution.[5]


Piperine forms salts only with strong acids. The platinichloride B4·H2PtCl6 forms orange-red needles ("B" denotes one mole of the alkaloid base in this and the following formula). Iodine in potassium iodide added to an alcoholic solution of the base in the presence of a little hydrochloric acid gives a characteristic periodide, B2·HI·I2, crystallizing in steel-blue needles with melting point 145 °C.


Piperine was discovered in 1819 by Hans Christian Ørsted, who isolated it from the fruits of Piper nigrum, the source plant of both black and white pepper.[6] Piperine was also found in Piper longum and Piper officinarum (Miq.) C. DC. (=Piper retrofractum Vahl), two species called "long pepper".[7]

Clinical significanceEdit

Piperine has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties as well as being effective against some pathogenic bacteria (especially Gram-positive bacteria).[8]


A component of pungency by piperine results from activation of the heat- and acidity-sensing TRPV ion channels, TRPV1 and TRPA1, on nociceptors, the pain-sensing nerve cells.[9] Piperine is under preliminary research for its potential to affect bioavailability of other compounds in food and dietary supplements, such as a possible effect on the bioavailability of curcumin.[10]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ The Merck Index: An Encyclopedia of Chemicals, Drugs, and Biologicals (11th ed.), Merck, 1989, p. 7442, ISBN 091191028X
  2. ^ Epstein, William W.; Netz, David F.; Seidel, Jimmy L. (1993). "Isolation of piperine from black pepper". J. Chem. Educ. 70 (7): 598. Bibcode:1993JChEd..70..598E. doi:10.1021/ed070p598.
  3. ^ US 6365601, Gaikar, "Process for extraction of piperine from Piper species", issued 2002-04-02 
  4. ^ "Pepper". Tis-gdv.de. Retrieved 2 September 2017.
  5. ^ Ikan, Raphael (1991). Natural Products: A Laboratory Guide (2nd ed.). San Diego, CA: Academic Press. pp. 223–224. ISBN 0123705517.
  6. ^ Ørsted, Hans Christian (1820). "Über das Piperin, ein neues Pflanzenalkaloid" [On piperine, a new plant alkaloid]. Schweiggers Journal für Chemie und Physik (in German). 29 (1): 80–82.
  7. ^ Friedrich A. Fluckiger; Daniel Hanbury (1879). Pharmacographia : a History of the Principal Drugs of Vegetable Origin, Met with in Great Britain and British India. London: Macmillan. p. 584. ASIN B00432KEP2.
  8. ^ Shityakov S, Bigdelian E, Hussein AA, Shariati MA (2019). "Phytochemical and pharmacological attributes of piperine: A bioactive ingredient of black pepper". European Journal of Medicinal Chemistry. 176: 149–161. doi:10.1016/j.ejmech.2019.04.002. PMID 31103896.
  9. ^ McNamara, F. N.; Randall, A.; Gunthorpe, M. J. (March 2005). "Effects of piperine, the pungent component of black pepper, at the human vanilloid receptor (TRPV1)". British Journal of Pharmacology. 144 (6): 781–790. doi:10.1038/sj.bjp.0706040. PMC 1576058. PMID 15685214.
  10. ^ Shoba, G.; Joy, D.; Joseph, T.; Majeed, M.; Rajendran, R.; Srinivas, P. S. (May 1998). "Influence of piperine on the pharmacokinetics of curcumin in animals and human volunteers". Planta Medica. 64 (4): 353–356. doi:10.1055/s-2006-957450. PMID 9619120. S2CID 16731342.