What Are the Side Effects of Ingesting Black Pepper?

Black pepper has been known to cause stomach upset, gastrointestinal ailments, respiratory irritation, edema, respiratory arrest, anoxia and death, as stated by Healthline. The United States Food and Drug Association lists black pepper as "generally recognized as safe" for consumption in food.

Black pepper is a spice made by grinding the dried flesh and skin of the piper nigrum fruit. Although commonly used as a spicy addition to many dishes, black pepper is also used as a homeopathic remedy to treat some health problems. Many people take black pepper for bronchitis, upset stomach and cancer. However, the evidence for using black pepper in cancer treatment is conflicting, according to WebMD.

People who ingest large amounts of black pepper may find that they developed stomach irritation and other gastrointestinal ailments due to its spicy nature. Black pepper may also cause respiratory irritation from accidental inhalation of the ground pepper. Healthline.com states that inhalation of black pepper or pepper oil may also cause edema, respiratory arrest, anoxia and death. Applying pepper to the skin can also cause redness and irritation.

It is possible for black pepper to interact with some medications, too. According to Healthline.com, black pepper should be used cautiously with anti-inflammatories, antioxidants, pain relievers, cholinergic agonists, cytochrome P450, cyclosporine, rifampin and propranolol.