Allspice is also known as Jamaica pepper, Meyers spice, or pimento berry. Regardless of the name, it’s all the same plant. It’s a small evergreen tree that originated in Central America and grew in tropical climates.
We use its berries to make essential oils, but there are many other benefits to this seemingly unassuming shrub. It’s native to Jamaica and was used by the locals as a substitute for black pepper when it wasn’t available. It’s been used for its medicinal properties for centuries and has even made its way into numerous famous recipes throughout history.
There are two primary species of allspice—bitter and sweet—and each one offers very different benefits (2). The most prominent active compounds found in allspice essential oil are eugenol and methyl eugenol; however, many more terpenes are also present, such as beta-caryophyllene, linalool, alpha-copaene, beta-bisabolene, dipentene, arabinogalactan and caryophyllene oxide (3).
Allspice Essential Oil Benefits
Allspice essential oil is beneficial in many ways and can be used as a topical remedy or as a supplement. Some of the many health benefits of allspice include helping with digestive disorders, sore muscles, joints, cold and flu symptoms, and improving immunity. It can also treat headaches, skin issues, mood disorders, and nervous disorders.
Additionally, it acts as an antioxidant and may help protect against environmental toxins. When used topically, allspice essential oil can help with muscle and joint pain and may even reduce the appearance of scars. It can help with digestive issues, reduce inflammation, and improve mood.
A Natural Antimicrobial
Allspice essential oil is a natural antimicrobial and can help fight off bacteria, fungi, and even some parasites. It can prevent infections in cuts and wounds, repel insects, and even kill worms in the digestive tract (4).
In a study, participants were given a mix of ground cloves, cinnamon, and allspice and found that the oils from these spices were up to 99.9% effective against the bacteria Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA). This is excellent news, given the increasing antibiotic resistance and the threat of a post-antibiotic era. Although you’d have to eat many spices to gain the same benefit as a topical essential oil, it still shows good use as a natural antimicrobial.
A Natural Pain Reliever
In addition to being a natural antimicrobial, allspice essential oil is also a natural analgesic meaning it has pain-killing properties. It’s been used to manage discomfort associated with arthritis, muscle spasms, and joint pain. It’s also been effective at treating headaches, menstrual cramps, and various types of neuralgia (5).
When applied topically, it can penetrate the skin and is believed to enter the bloodstream and reach the spinal cord, where it can be most effective. In addition to relieving pain, it also helps increase circulation.
A Natural Digestive Aid
Allspice essential oil is a natural digestive aid and can help calm nausea and vomiting, help indigestion, and even treat stomach ulcers (6). When ingested, it can help relieve stomach pain, ease gastrointestinal issues, and even help with weight loss by stimulating metabolism (7). Clove essential oil is another spice with antispasmodic and anti-inflammatory properties and can be a great alternative if you can’t find allspice essential oil.
Protect Against Environmental Toxins
Allspice essential oil can help protect against environmental toxins. The phenol content in the oil is responsible for this, and it can be beneficial in the home environment. Phenols act as antioxidants and can reduce harmful chemicals such as formaldehyde, trichloroethylene, benzene, and carbon tetrachloride in enclosed spaces (8).
The phenols can help protect your body from harmful effects when exposed to high pollution levels and other toxins. This is particularly beneficial in the kitchen, where dangerous fumes from various cleaning products may be present.
Help Manage Depression and Anxiety
Allspice essential oil can help manage depression and anxiety by increasing serotonin levels in the brain. It’s been shown to be as effective as prescription drugs in some cases (9).
When ingested, allspice can help improve mood and reduce feelings of anxiety. It can also help stimulate the digestive system and improve overall health. It can help lower blood flow to swollen areas and soothe the skin when applied topically.
Promotes a Healthy Immune System
Allspice essential oil is a potent anti-inflammatory and has even been shown to be more effective in some cases than anti-inflammatory drugs. It’s also a great source of antioxidants, which can help protect against diseases and may reduce the risk of developing certain cancers (10).
When ingested, it can help support healthy immune system function, particularly for those with autoimmune disorders, and even help with allergies. It can help reduce inflammation and benefit those with muscle and joint pain when applied topically.
The Bottom Line
Allspice essential oil is a powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory and has many other health benefits.
It can help boost the immune system, help manage diseases, and protect against environmental toxins. It’s particularly beneficial in the kitchen and is most commonly used in desserts and other sweet dishes. It can be ingested or applied topically and is recommended for adults only as it can be extreme.
Given that it’s a natural antimicrobial, analgesic, and antioxidant, it’s excellent for many health issues. It’s most beneficial for promoting immune system function and can be used in many ways, including topical application, ingesting food, or drinking tea.