About four species of aromatic, evergreen trees belong to this tropical American genus. The fruits of Pimenta dioica were first imported to Europe by the Spanish in the 16th century and given the name "allspice" by John Ray (1627-1705), and English botanist, who likened their flavor to a combination of cloves, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Allspice is an important crop in Jamaica; trees are grown in plantations, knwon as "pimento walk", which fill the air with their fragrance during the flowering season. Pimenta dioica is rich in volatile oil, which consists mainly of eugenol (as found in Syzygium aromaticum, See, Clove). The related West Indian P. racemosa was once important as the source of bay rum, an aromatic liquid used in hair dressings, which was distilled from the leaves and is now synthesized. This species has five varieties that differ in distribution and in the chemical composition of their essential oils. The most widespread and commercially important is P. racemosa var. racemosa, which is cultivated, notably in the Dominican Republic, as a source of bay oil or West Indian bay oil; it has a pleasant, spicy aroma and also contains eugenol.

Discovered in the Caribbean by Christopher Columbus (who thought it was pepper), allspice was so named in the seventeenth century because it tastes like a combination of cloves, cinnamon, and nutmeg. A tea made from allspice has been said to be good for couples who are "inharmonious".

Evergreen tree with an often crooked trunk, smooth, shiny, silvery bark, slender branches, and aromatic, elliptic to oblong, thinly leathery leaves, 6-20cm (2½in-8in) long. Small white, scented flowers are borne in panicles, 4-12cm (1½-5in) long in spring and summer, followed by strongly aromatic, red-brown, globose berries, about 6mm (¼in) in diameter.

Common Name:
Other Names:
Jamaica Pepper, Allspice, Pimento, Clove Pepper
Botanical Name:
Pimenta dioica, Eugenia pimento
Native Location:
Mexico, C America, and Cuba
Rich, well-drained, sandy soil in sun.
By seed sown when ripe; semi-ripe cuttings in summer.
Leaves are picked as required and used fresh for infusions. Fruits are collected when fully grown, but unripe and green, and distilled for oil, or dried for liquid extracts and powders; they turn black when dried. Bark is removed from prunings, dried and ground.
10-15cm (30-50ft)
5m (15ft)
Min. 15-18°C (59-64°F)
Magickal Uses:
Burned as an incense to attract money or luck. It is also used to promote healing
Parts Used:
Leaves, fruits (berries), oil
A pungent, warming, aromatic herb with a clove-like aroma. It improves the digestion, has a tonic effect on the nervous system, and is locally antiseptic and anesthetic. Oil of pimento is carminative and antioxidant.
Medicinal Uses:
Aromatic, stomachic, carminative, condiment, anti-diarrhea
Internally for indigestion, gas, diarrhea, and nervous exhaustion. Externally for chest infections, and muscular aches and pains.
To treat flatulence, indigestion, tooth pain, and muscle pain.
Preparation and Dosage:
7 grains powdered.
A typical dose of allspice is approximately 2tsp of powder mixed in 1 cup water, or three drops of essential oil mixed with sugar.
Possible Side Effects:
Allspice's side effects include nausea, vomiting, and anorexia.
Drug Interactions:
Taking allspice with these drugs may increase the risk of bleeding or bruising.
Abciximab (ReoPro)
Antithrombin III (Thrombate III)
Aspirin (Bufferin, Ecotrin)
Aspirin and Dipyridamole (Aggrenox)
Bivalirudin (Angiomax)
Clopidogrel (Plavix)
Dalteparin (Fragmin)
Danaparoid (Orgaran)
Dipyridamole (Novo-Dipirido, Persantine)
Enoxaparin (Lovenox)
Eptifibatide (Integrillin)
Fondaparinux (Arixtra)
Heparin (Hepalean, Hep-Lock)
Indobufen (Ibustrin)
Lepirudin (Refludan)
Ticlopidine (Alti-Ticlopidine, Ticlid)
Tinzaparin (Innohep)
Tirofiban (Aggrastat)
Warfarin (Coumadin, Jantoven)
Supplement Interactions:
May interfere with absorption of iron, zinc, and other minerals from food.
Culinary Uses:
Dried fruits and used whole in pickling spices, marinades, and mulled wine; also steeped in rum to make pimento dram, a Jamaican liqueur, and ground for flavoring cakes, cookies, desserts, sauces, ketchups, and chutneys. An essential ingredient of Jamaican jerk dishes (pork or chicken marinated in spices and barbecued). Leaves are infused for tea.
Economic Uses:
Powdered berries are added to medicines to disguise the flavor, and to liniments and bandages. Oil is used in commercial food flavoring; also in perfumery, notably Asian fragrances, and after-shave lotions.
Encyclopedia of Medicinal Herbs by Joseph Kadans, N.D., Ph.D. Copyright © 1970 Parker Publishing Company, Inc. pg 29
The Encyclopedia of Herbs by Deni Bown Copyright © 1995, 2001 Dorling Kindersley Limited pp 316-317
The Essential Herb-Drug-Vitamin Interaction Guide by George T. Grossberg, M.D. and Barry Fox, Ph.D. Copyright © 2007 by Barry Fox, Ph.D. pg. 32