Piperine: Old Spice and New Nutraceutical?

Curr Pharm Des. 2019;25(15):1729-1739. doi: 10.2174/1381612825666190701150803.


Background: Many of the activities associated with pepper fruits have been attributed to piperine, the most active compound present in these spices.

Objective: This paper aims to provide an overview of the known properties of piperine, i.e. piperine's chemistry, its physiological activity, documented interactions as a bioenhancer and reported data concerning its toxicity, antioxidant properties and anticancer activity.

Discussion: It is known that piperine possesses several properties. In its interaction with other drugs, it can act as a bioavailability enhancer; this effect is also manifested in combination with other nutraceuticals, e.g. with curcumin, i.e. piperine can modify curcumin's antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial and anticancer effects. Piperine displays significant immunomodulating, antioxidant, chemopreventive and anticancer activity; these effects have been shown to be dose-dependent and tissue-specific. However, the main limitation associated with piperine seems to be its low bioavailability, a disadvantage that innovative formulations are overcoming.

Conclusion: It is predicted that an increasing number of studies will focus on piperine, especially those directed towards unraveling its properties at molecular level. The current knowledge about the action of piperine will form a foundation for ways to improve piperine's bioavailability e.g. exploitation of different carrier systems. The therapeutical applications of this compound will be clarified, and piperine will be recognized as an important nutraceutical.

Keywords: Piperine; anticancer; antioxidant; characteristics; enhancer; interactions; nutraceutical..

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Alkaloids / chemistry*
  • Alkaloids / pharmacology
  • Benzodioxoles / chemistry*
  • Benzodioxoles / pharmacology
  • Biological Availability
  • Dietary Supplements*
  • Piperidines / chemistry*
  • Piperidines / pharmacology
  • Polyunsaturated Alkamides / chemistry*
  • Polyunsaturated Alkamides / pharmacology
  • Spices*


  • Alkaloids
  • Benzodioxoles
  • Piperidines
  • Polyunsaturated Alkamides
  • piperine