Piperine: A review of its biological effects

Phytother Res. 2021 Feb;35(2):680-700. doi: 10.1002/ptr.6855. Epub 2020 Sep 14.


Medicinal plants have been used for years as a source of food, spices, and, in traditional medicine, as a remedy to numerous diseases. Piper nigrum, belonging to the family Piperaceae is one of the most widely used spices all over the world. It has a distinct sharp flavor attributed to the presence of the phytochemical, piperine. Apart from its use as a spice, P. nigrum is frequently used for medicinal, preservation, and perfumery purposes. Black pepper contains 2-7.4% of piperine, varying in content is associated with the pepper plant. Piperine displays numerous pharmacological effects such as antiproliferative, antitumor, antiangiogenesis, antioxidant, antidiabetic, anti-obesity, cardioprotective, antimicrobial, antiaging, and immunomodulatory effects in various in vitro and in vivo experimental trials. Furthermore, piperine has also been documented for its hepatoprotective, anti-allergic, anti-inflammatory, and neuroprotective properties. This review highlights and discusses the medicinal and health-promoting effects of piperine, along with possible mechanisms of its action in health promotion and disease prevention. In addition, the present review summarizes the recent literature related to piperine as a therapeutic agent against several diseases.

Keywords: Piper nigrum; black pepper; cancer prevention; metabolic syndromes; piperine.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Alkaloids* / pharmacokinetics
  • Alkaloids* / therapeutic use
  • Alkaloids* / toxicity
  • Animals
  • Benzodioxoles* / pharmacokinetics
  • Benzodioxoles* / therapeutic use
  • Benzodioxoles* / toxicity
  • Drug Therapy, Combination
  • Humans
  • Piperidines* / pharmacokinetics
  • Piperidines* / therapeutic use
  • Piperidines* / toxicity
  • Polyunsaturated Alkamides* / pharmacokinetics
  • Polyunsaturated Alkamides* / therapeutic use
  • Polyunsaturated Alkamides* / toxicity


  • Alkaloids
  • Benzodioxoles
  • Piperidines
  • Polyunsaturated Alkamides
  • piperine