This spice has long been known for its culinary uses and curative powers. During the Middle ages, the Banda Islands were the only source for this spice. The trade was fully dominated by the Arabs, who didn't disclose the source of this spice and sold it to the Europeans at exorbitant rates. During the 15th century, the Portuguese became aware of this fact.
This was the root cause of the so-called 'Clash for Spices' between the Dutch and the British during the 17th century. As of today, around 12,000 tons of this spice is produced in a variety of locations such as Grenada, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, and India. The USA, European Union, and Japan are major buyers of this spice.
In the Mediterranean and the Middle East, it is used in both vegetarian and non-vegetarian delicacies. The Dutch add it to a variety of vegetables like Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, and string beans. The Germans use it in their meats, soups, sauces, potato, and baked dishes. The French use it in omelets, souffles, and a variety of cheese-based sauces.
Black pepper is often used as a substitute to give a stronger and richer essence to sausage mixtures, curries, stews, lamb, chicken, and veal. In the Caribbean, it is a popular topping on a variety of exotic drinks like the 'Bushwacker,' the 'Painkiller', and the ever popular 'Barbados Punch Rum.'
A number of tea bars have also popularized this spice by way of its inclusion in the spiced tea, which is not only refreshing, but is also a healthy alternative with its blend of rejuvenating spices.
There is more to this spice than its sweet and spicy flavor. It releases serotonin, which will make you feel relaxed. It is also known for its antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. Oil extracted from it could be taken to get relief from flatulence, diarrhea, and indigestion.
Though its health benefits are many, it should be used in moderation. Don't ever take more than two tablespoons. Since this spice contains myristicin, an overdose might cause dangerous side effects like hallucinations and delusions. An overdose of this spice can be harmful for pregnant women. In case you are allergic to this spice, avoid it completely.