Jamaican Pimento: 5 Unique Health Benefits of Allspice

What is Jamaican Pimento? It is the name Jamaican for the berries produced by the Pimenta dioica tree. These berries are also called pimento seeds on the island.

Pimenta dioica plant is a member of the Myrtle family. The plant is native to the Caribbean, Mexico, and Central America.

Spanish explorers found Pimento growing wild when they arrived in the region.

Around the globe, the Jamaican pimento is known as Allspice. That’s because Pimento berries flavor profile has hints of several other spices.

fresh-made allspice tea made from Jamaican pimento
Jamaican Pimento Tea

Jamaica remains the world’s major producer of Pimento. However, the spice is cultivated in other countries.

Pimento Allspice Berries

Unripe Pimento berries start out green and change to almost purple color as they mature.

In Jamaica, branches containing mature Allspice berries are broken off the jamaican pimento tree. New branches will grow and produce the next crop of Pimento.

Farmers then pick the from the branches and berries and dry them. Jamaican Pimento is usually sun-dried.

Dried twigs and imperfect berries are discarded and the good Pimento is sold either whole or in pure powdered form.

What Does Allspice Taste Like?

When you first taste Allspice you get the feeling it is a combination of different spices, but isn’t. Pimento seeds have a flavor that is similar to at least three other spices.

Allspice flavor has been described as a combination of cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg rolled into one. But personally I find it taste more like cloves than cinammon or nutmeg.  

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Allspice Uses

Allspice is commonly used in Caribbean cuisine, as well as European and Mediterranean cuisine.

Although the whole dried berries are sometimes used in cooking they do not dissolve. So it is more convenient for the berries to be ground and made into Allspice powder. 

Allspice is used to flavor soups, meats and poultry. Whole pimento berries work just fine for that purpose to. You will just need to remove them after cooking.

The spice is also used to flavor baked products such as cakes and pumpkin pies and other desserts. This is where using the powder comes in handy.

Other Pimento Uses

  • Pimento Wood. The bark and and wood of the Pimento tree are often added to the fire when making Jamaican jerk foods. They add a great smokey pimento flavor to jerk chicken and pork.
  • Pimento Leaf Tea. In Jamaica fresh pimrnto leaves are also used to make hot tea for treating indigestion, menstrual cramps, colds and headaches.
  • Allspice Essential oils. Pimento oil is used for aromatherapy. Inhaling a few drops can have a calming, relaxing effect.

Health Benefits of Jamaican Pimento

A number of studies have isolated the chemical makeup of the Pimenta dioica plant.  Findings suggest that Allspice may offer some health benefits.

Four important compounds were identified in the plant-Ericifolin  Eugenol, Quercetin, and Gallic Acid

These compounds offer some  beneficial health benefits. These are compounds identified in the Allspice tree.

Ericifolin – This chemical reportedly has the ability to inhibit the formation and growth of tumor cells.

Eugenol– An antiseptic and anti-inflammatory compound found mainly in cloves.

Quercetin– A chemical that is found in many foods including berries. It may be able to help control blood sugar, reduce swelling and prevent heart disease.

Gallic Acid – Reports indicate that Gallic Acid may kill the some bacteria Staphylococcus aureus and Helicobacter pylori bacteria. More studies are needed.

Pimento Oil Benefits

Jamaican Allspice is world renowned for the unique quality of the essential oils extracted from Allspice that grows on the Island. 

Allspice essential oils are extracted from Allspice berries and fresh leaves. 

Benefits of Allspice Essential Oils

Bioactive chemicals in the Pimento oil display these properties:

  • antiseptic
  • analgesic
  • antioxidant
  • relaxant
  • carminative
pimento essential oils
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And so, the essential oils may provide benefits like the ones below.

Anesthetic: Allspice essential oils may help relieve muscle aches and  pain. It may also soothe headaches.

Stress Relief: Like other essential oils, Allspice oil can deliver a calming effect. This may be especially appreciated by those of us who have a difficult time getting a good night’s sleep.

 But the oil may provide general relief from anxiety.

Antiseptic: Eugenol in Pimento oil can be used as an antiseptic for treating minor cuts and wounds. 

This compound is often prescribed by dentists as an antiseptic to patients following  extractions, fillings or root canals.

Antioxidants: Chemicals found in clove oil are also found in Pimento oil.  These are known antioxidants that help reduce skin inflammation such as acne. 

Digestive Aid: The carminative properties of allspice essential oils can be used to relieve discomfort caused by bloating and gas. It may also relieve nausea and indigestion.

jamaican pimento berries
Dried Pimento Berries

Jamaican Pimento Benefits

  • Ericfolin
  • Quercetin
  • Gallic Acid
  • Eugenol

How to Make Pimento Tea

You can make Jamaican Pimento tea in just a few simple steps. The plant’s fresh or dried leaves can be used to make tea. Or you can use Allspice powder.

Jamaican Pimento Leaf Tea. Boil 4-5 leaves in two cups of water for approximately 5 minutes. Strain and sweeten and consume.

Allspice Powder Tea. Add half teaspoon of powder to one cup of hot water. Stir and let sit for 3or 4 minutes. Strain, sweeten-if desired-and serve.

What Is Allspice?

Allspice are berries produced by the Pimenta dioica tree. Allspice is native to the Caribbean, Mexico and Central America.

Is Allspice The Same As Pimento

Pimento is the most widely used name for Allspice in the Carribean. But the spice is different from what is commonly called Pimento Pepper.

Do Allspice Berries Dissolve

The whole Allspice berries will not dissolve. So, if you use whole Pimento berries when cooking, you will need to remove them manually. Alternatively, you can grind them before use.

Are Pimento Leaves Edible?

Yes. In Jamaica the fresh leaves are used to make tea for treating indigestion. The dried leaves are crushed and rubbed on meats and poultry before cooking.

Can Allspice Make You Sick?

Allspice is generally considered to be safe. However there is no evidence that it is safe for everyone.

Disclaimer: This website is for informational purposes only. Nothing stated here should be viewed as medical advice. Please talk to your Healthcare provider about matters relating to your health.