The Benefits of Allspice

Allspice. Maximilian Stock Ltd./Photographer's Choice/Getty Images

What is Allspice?

Other Names: pimento, Jamaica pepper, myrtle pepper, newspice, pimenta, clove pepper

Allspice comes from the unripe but dried berry of a small tree called Pimento officinalis or Pimento diocia.

It was first called "pimento", Spanish for pepper, by explorers in the 16th century because of the dark brown, wrinkled skin.

If you have tried allspice before and have tasted hints of pepper, cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg, and juniper, you'll see why it was named "allspice" by the English.

Uses for Allspice

Although we think of it as a cooking ingredient, allspice is also used in alterative medicine.

Allspice is about 4% oil. A compound in the oil, called eugenol, is said to have antiseptic and pain relieving properties. Preliminary studies suggest that allspice may also fight certain bacteria, viruses and fungi.

1)  Gas and Bloating

Allspice can be made into a tea using 1/2 teaspoon of ground allspice powder steeped covered for ten minutes with 1 cup of hot water and then strained. The tea can be taken once a day. It's thought to be best taken between meals, as it can interfere with the absorption of some minerals such as iron.

2)  Muscle Ache

Allspice is a traditional herbal remedy for muscle aches and pain. To make sure it stays in contact with the painful area, herbalists often suggest making a poultice (plaster), by mixing ground allspice with just enough water to make a thick paste.

It's applied to the painful area and left on for at least 20 minutes. A thin piece of gauze may be applied over the allspice paste to prevent it from drying out and preventing mess.


Although practitioners sometimes suggest applying very small amounts (no more than three drops a day) of the oil, larger amounts of the pure oil shouldn't be used on skin as it can cause irritation.

Larger amounts could also be absorbed through the skin and result in overdose.

Allspice oil shouldn't be ingested unless under the supervision of a health practitioner. Even one teaspoon may result in eugenol poisoning, resulting in nausea, vomiting, convulsions, and slowing of the central nervous system.

Certain people may be allergic to allspice.

Notify your doctor immediately if you experience nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, seizures, or skin rash after taking allspice.

Using Allspice for Health

Due to the limited research, it's too soon to recommend allspice as a treatment for any condition. It's also important to note that self-treating a condition and avoiding or delaying standard care may have serious consequences. If you're considering using allspice for any health purpose, make sure to consult your physician first.

Disclaimer: The information contained on this site is intended for educational purposes only and is not a substitute for advice, diagnosis or treatment by a licensed physician. It is not meant to cover all possible precautions, drug interactions, circumstances or adverse effects. You should seek prompt medical care for any health issues and consult your doctor before using alternative medicine or making a change to your regimen.

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