Pepper has been an important spice since ancient times, when it was worth its weight in gold, if not more. In the Middle Ages, it was seen as a sign of wealth and contributed to the fortune of Venice. Paradoxically, the Middle Ages prescribed this "hot" remedy to treat fever. In Asia, pepper is used as an anti-venom and to treat dysentery. Pepper represents one quarter of the spices sold today, with over 200,000 tons sold per year.
Pepper essential oil has balancing properties. In aromatherapy, it is used as a digestive tonic and sedative for tooth pain.