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Japanese Pepper Tree (Zanthoxylum piperitum)

Fagara piperita.
Common Name Latin Name Plant Family
Japanese Pepper Tree
Zanthoxylum piperitum

None known

  • Medicinal Use

    Antiperiodic, antitussive, carminative, diuretic, parasiticide, stimulant[178].

    The fruit contains a essential oil, flavonoids and isoquinoline alkaloids[279]. It is anthelmintic, antibacterial, antifungal and stomachic[279]. It inhibits the synthesis of prostaglandin and, in larger doses, is toxic to the central nervous system[279]. It is used in Korea in the treatment of tuberculosis, dyspepsis and internal parasites[279].

    The resin contained in the bark, and especially in that of the roots, is powerfully stimulant and tonic[82].

  • Edible Use

    Seed – cooked. It is ground into a powder and used as a condiment, a pepper substitute[1, 2, 11, 34, 183]. The fruit can also be used[116]. It is often heated in order to bring out its full flavour and can be mixed with salt for use as a table condiment[183]. The ground and dry-roasted fruit is an ingredient of the Chinese ‘five spice powder'[238].

    The bark and leaves are used as a spice[2, 105, 238].

    Young leaves – raw or cooked. They are used in soups or as a flavouring in salads[177, 179, 183].

  • Cautionary Notes

    None known

Cultivation & Habitat

Seed – best sown in a greenhouse as soon as it is ripe in the autumn. Stored seed may requires up to 3 months cold stratification, though scarification may also help[113]. Sow stored seed in a cold frame as early in the year as possible. Germination should take place in late spring, though it might take another 12 months. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle and grow them on in a cold frame for their first winter. Plant them out in early summer. Cuttings of half-ripe wood, July/August in a frame. Root cuttings, 3cm long, planted horizontally in pots in a greenhouse. Good percentage[78]. Suckers, removed in late winter and planted into their permanent positions[113].
Easily grown in loamy soils in most positions, but prefers a good deep well-drained moisture retentive soil in full sun or semi-shade[1, 11, 200]. A very ornamental plant[1], it is hardy to about -15¡c[184]. Flowers are formed on the old wood[206]. The bruised leaves are amongst the most powerfully aromatic of all leaves[245]. Dioecious. Male and female plants must be grown if seed is required. Self-sown seedlings have occasionally been observed growing in bare soil under the parent plant[K].
E. Asia – N. China, Japan, Korea.

Become ungovernable, break the chains of the matrix; grow and forage your own food and medicine.

*None of the information on this website qualifies as professional medical advice. Take only what resonates with your heart and use your own personal responsibility for what’s best for you. For more information [brackets] [000], see bibliography.