Allspice - The Herb

Page Summary/Index:

General description, origin and history of Allspice
Primary therapeutic effects of Allspice
Minor and potential therapeutic effects of Allspice
Cultivating Allspice - how to grow Allspice
Preparing Allspice remedies and part used
Side effects or contra-indications of Allspice
Properties of Allspice
Constituents of Allspice

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Common Name/s: Other Name/s: Botanical  name/s:
Allspice, Pimento Pimenta, Jamaican pepper, Clove pepper Pimento dioica,
Pimenta officinalis,
Pimento officinalis,
Eugenia pimenta

General description and domicile:
The Allspice tree (
Pimento dioica) is native to The West Indies and is also cultivated in Central and South America. It is an evergreen tree that can reach heights of 30 or more feet with small white flowers. The fruit are brown and pea sized globular berries that are picked before ripening but after attaining full size. The berries are sun dried (kiln dried product is also available but is said to be inferior as it loses a lot of the volatile oil that gives this spice its particular flavor). When dried it resembles peppercorns although somewhat larger.

This spice was named Allspice because it tastes of several spices, almost as if cloves, pepper and cinnamon is present in the spice.

It takes at least three years for the trees to mature and bear fruit.

Allspice is mainly used as a culinary spice but is worth mentioning because it has several medicinal applications.


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Remedy Profile
Primary therapeutic effects:
Flatulence, particularly if associated with griping pains.



Diarrhea - allspice will not stop diarrhea but should ease the griping pains.

Because allspice is an aromatic carminative it it of particular value for foul-smelling flatulence. Allspice is frequently combined with purgatives to control the griping pains. The major constituent in Allspice is Eugenol that has a local anesthetic effect on the mucous membrane of the gut. Eugenol is also an irritant so dosage should be carefully controlled.

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Secondary therapeutic effects:
A poultice of allspice can be tried for rheumatic pains, there is only anecdotal evidence to support the efficacy of allspice in this application but as eugenol is anesthetic and antiseptic it may work. The Eugenol may be irritant to some people so it should be tested first.


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Minor and potential therapeutic effects:
These are differentiated from the major therapeutic effects of Allspice for the following reasons: either the constituent that causes the effect is relatively weak (in other words marginal efficacy) or the constituent causing the effect is present in Allspice but in such small quantities that it is too low in dosage.
Potential therapeutic effects are also noted here when there is some evidence of effect or efficacy but the information is either anecdotal or subjected to too little testing to be conclusive. Not all herbs have minor effects noted.

Some believe that allspice helps with hysteria but there is no real corroborative evidence that it is effective.

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How to choose the right remedy/Herb:
In many cases there are several herbal remedies to choose from. This can be very confusing. Our Choose the Herbal Remedy page explains how to refine your choice

Cultivation of Allspice:
There is little indication that this tree will grow anywhere but in the tropics. Providing you are living in an area suitable for the growth of the tree it will grow from seed (but not the seed in the berries harvested for the spice as these are immature on picking). It takes three years before the tree will flower and bear fruit.

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Part used:
The fully grown unripe berries or fruit (and sometimes the leaves are used for oil extraction).


Remedy preparation:
The dried berries are ground to a fine powder for the culinary spice.
The dried herb is often used for therapeutic purposes as is the volatile oil (called Pimento Oil)


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Potentially an irritant to skin and mucus membrane.


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Eugenol: Anaesthetic, antimicrobal, disinfecting, stimulant, aromatic and anticonvulsant.

Eugenol is a Phenylpropanoid in the Phenols group. Eugenol is widely distributed in the plant kingdom.

Potentially irritant. Sensitivity should be tested before using this substance or oil on the skin.

Cineole: One of the two most important Monoterpene Oxides, the other is Ascaridole, Cineole is one of the most widely distributed constituents amongst plants as an oxidised product of monoterpenes. Cineole is often also called Eucalyptol, named so because it is the major component of Eucalyptus oil.

Cineole is a expectorant widely used in commercial cough lozenges. It has a reputation as a skin irritant amongst many practitioners but recent tests have failed to confirm this.

Caryophyllene - C15H24:
A natural bicyclic Sesquiterpene with a strong spicy woody odour that is responsible for the distinctive flavour of black pepper..

Sesquiterpenes: When sesquiterpenes occur in essential oils it is mostly in combination with monoterpenes. Sesquiterpenes have a higher melting point than monoterpenes.

Sesquiterpenes are anaesthetic, antifungal, antiseptic and antibacterial.


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