• The Fantastic Spices World
  • The Fantastic Spices World
  • The Fantastic Spices World
  • The Fantastic Spices World

ALLSPICE ( Pimenta dioica [L.] Mer. )
Names in Other Languages:

English Jamaica pepper, Myrtle pepper, Pimento,Newspice
French Piment, Piment Jamaïque, Poivre aromatique
German Piment, Neugewürz, Allgewürz, Nelkenpfeffer
Spanish Pimienta de Jamaica, Pimienta gorda; Pimienta dulce
Italian Pimento, Pepe di Giamaica
Turkish Yenibahar, Jamaika biberi
Japanese ヒャクミコショウ Hyakumikoshō, オールスパイス Orusupaisu

FAMILY: Myrtaceae

ORIGIN:   : The tree is indigenous to Jamaica. It is also found in Central America (Mexico, Honduras, Guatemala, Costa Rica and Cuba) and also in the neighbouring Caribbean islands.

Green cardamom pods and seeds


Allspice is the pea-sized, berry-like, dark-red to blackish-brown, 5 - 10 cm fruit and it is harvested when not quite ripe.

USEFUL PARTS: Unripe and dried fruits. In the countries of origin, the fresh leaves are also used. The essential oil from leaves.

SENSORY PROPERTIES: Allspice is pungent and fragrant. Strongly aromatic, like cloves with a hint of cinnamon and nutmeg; the taste is similar, but with some peppery heat.


Nutrient composition of allspice (per 100 g)

Composition Quantity

Food energy
Dietary fibre
Vitamin C
Thiamin B1
Riboflavin B2
Vitamin B6
Vitamin E

8.5 g
262.6 kcal
72.1 g
6.1 g
8.7 g
21.6 g
4.6 g

660.6 mg
7.1 mg
134.1 mg
113.3 mg
77.0 mg
77.0 mg
1.0 mg
0.6 mg
2.9 mg

39.2 mg
0.1 mg
0.1 mg
2.9 mg
0.3 mg
36.0 µg
1.0 mg

Source: USDA Nutrient Databases:http//www.organic.planet.com/products/g_allspice.html.


Whole spice, ground spice, berry oil, leaf oil and oleoresin are the major products obtained from pimento.The major use of allspice is in the food industry (65– 70%). A small quantity is used for domestic use (5– 10%), for production of pimento berry oil (20– 25%), for extraction of oleoresin (1– 2%) and in pharmaceutical and perfume industry. Allspice is mostly used in British, American and German cooking. The dried mature fruits are mainly used as a flavouring and curing agent in processed meats and bakery products and as a flavouring ingredient for domestic and culinary purposes. Whole fruits are preferred in prepared soups, gravies and sauces.

The major use of allspice in the ground form is for flavouring processed meats, baking products, desserts, fruit cakes, pies, desserts, pickles, sauces, salads, vegetables, soups, fish, poultry, sausages, meats, marinades, mulled wine and preserves. For domestic culinary use, pimento is often mixed with other ground spices. Oleoresin is also used in the meat processing and canning industries in the same way as ground spice is used. Allspice oleoresin is prepared in very small quantities and has not become a substitute for ground spice in the food industry. However, it has an advantage over ground spice in that it avoids the risk of bacterial contamination and its strength and quality are more consistent. The berry oil contains all the odour principles of the ground spice and oleoresin but lacks some of the flavour principles. Essential oils from leaf oil and berry oil are used as a flavouring agent in meat products and confectioneries. The maximum permitted level of berry oil in food products is about 0.025%. [1]


Allspice contains eugenol, an agent that is said to provide resistance against bacteria, viruses and fungi. It aids digestion and has a mild warming effect, and is said to be an effective topical solution for muscle pain.

Allspice has been used as:

• Temporary anesthetic.
• Headache and tooth pain reliever.
• Sore muscle and arthritis pain reliever - by adding allspice to a hot bath or mixing ground allspice with water to create a paste and applying it to the affected area topically.
• Anti-microbial (eugenol).
• Digestive aid.
• Anti-fungal an anti-bacterial aid.
• Relief from gas, bloating and menstrual cramps - by drinking allspice tea made from one teaspoon ground allspice steeped in hot water and strained after 5-7 minutes.

Allspice is used in toiletries and liqueurs, and it used to be added to flannel to make a plaster for treating neuralgia or rheumatism. Allspice is not only valued as a spice to add flavour to food but has medicinal, antimicrobial, insecticidal, nematicidal, antioxidant and deodorizing properties.

--> Medicine

The powdered fruit of allspice is used in traditional medicine to treat flatulence, dyspepsia, diarrhoea and as a remedy for depression, nervous exhaustion, tension, neuralgia and stress. In small doses it can also help to cure rheumatism, arthritis, stiffness, chills, congested coughs, bronchitis, neuralgia and rheumatism. It has anaesthetic, analgesic, antioxidant, antiseptic, carminative, muscle relaxant, rubefacient, stimulant and purgative properties [2]

It is also useful for oral hygiene and in cases of halitosis. An aqueous suspension of allspice is reported to have anti-ulcer and cytoprotective activity by protecting gastric mucosa against indomethacin and various other necrotizing agents in rats [3]

--> Fungicide

The antifungal potential of extracts of allspice was tested in vitro against the field fungus (Fusarium oxysporum) and six storage fungi (Aspergillus candidus, A. versicolor, Penicillium

. aurantiogriseum, P. brevicompactum, P. citrinum and P. griseofulvum) and in situ against the initial mycoflora of wheat grains after harvest (mainly Fusarium spp., Alternaria spp. and Cladosporium spp.). Allspice suppressed the growth of all the above fungus in vitro [4]

--> Bactericide , Insecticide and Nematicide Properties

Allspice had a strong bactericidal effect against Yersinia enterocolitica[5] Allspice is reported to have insecticidal properties.[6] The nematicidal activity of the essential oil of allspice (Pimenta dioica L. Merr.) leaves and its major constituent eugenol was tested against Meloidogyne incognita. The essential oil and eugenol exhibited promising nematicidal activity at 660 µg/ml [7]

--> Antioxidant

Allspice has a strong hydroxyl radical-scavenging activity[8] Compounds that markedly inhibit the formation of malondialdehyde from 2-deoxyribose and the hydroxylation of benzoate with the hydroxyl radical were isolated from methanol extracts of allspice. These compounds were identified as pimentol and had a strong antioxidant activity as hydroxyl radical scavengers at 2.0 µm [9] A phenylpropanoid, threo-3-chloro-1-(4-hydroxyl3-methoxyphenyl)propane-1,2-diol isolated from berries of P. dioica inhibited autoxidation of linoleic acid in a water– alcohol system[10]

--> Deodorizing effect

The major function of allspice is to flavour food but it has a subfunction of deodorizing or masking unpleasant odours. The concentration of methyl mercaptan is a major cause of bad breath and it was observed that allspice has a deodorizing rate of 61% (deodorizing rate is the percentage of methyl mercaptan (500 ng) captured by methanol extract).

--> Toxicity

Allspice oil should only be used in low dilutions since it is found to irritate the mucous membrane, owing to the presence of eugenol in allspice oil. It is also reported to cause dermal irritation. At low doses it is non-toxic, non-irritant, non-sensitizing and nonphototoxic. [11]



[1] Peter, K.V. Handbook of Herbs and Spices.
Cambridge, , GBR: Woodhead Publishing, Limited, 2004. p 132.

[2] REMA, J. and KRISHNAMOORTHY, B. (1989), ‘Economic uses of tree spices’. Indian Cocoa, Arecanut and Spices Journal 12(4): 120– 1.

[3] REHAILY AL, A.J., SAID AL, M.S., YAHYA AL, M.A., MOSSA, J.S. and RAFATULLAH, S. (2002), ‘Ethnopharmacological studies on allspice (Pimenta dioica) in laboratory animals’. Pharmaceutical Biology 40(3): 200– 5.

[4] SCHOLZ, K., VOGT, M., KUNZ, B., LYR, H., RUSSELL, P.E., DEHNE, H.W. and SISLER, H.D. (1999), ‘Application of plant extracts for controlling fungal infestation of grains and seeds during storage’. Modern fungicides and antifungal compounds II. 12th International Reinhardshbrunn Symposium, Friedrichroda, Thuringia, Germany.

[5] BARA, M.T.F and VANETTI, M.C.D. (1995), ‘Antimicrobial effect of spices on the growth of Yersinia enterocolitica’. Journal of Herbs, Spices and Medicinal Plants 3(4): 51– 8.

[6] BHARGAVA, M.C. and MEENA, B.L. (2001), ‘Effect of some spice oils on the eggs of Corcyra cephalonica Stainton’. Insect Environment 7(1): 43– 4.

[7] LEELA, N.K. and RAMANA, K.V. (2000), ‘Nematicidal activity of the essential oil of allspice (Pimenta dioica L. Merr.)’. Journal of Plant Biology 27(1): 75– 6.

[8] NAKATANI, N. (2000), ‘Phenolic antioxidants from herbs and spices’. Bio factors 13(1– 4): 141– 6.

[9] OYA, T., OSAWA, T. and KAWAKISHI, S. (1997), ‘Spice constituents scavenging free radicals and inhibiting pentosidine formation in a model system’. Bioscience, Biotechnology and Biochemistry 61(2): 263– 6.

[10] KIKUZAKI, H., HARA, S., KAWAI, Y. and NAKATANI, N. (1999), ‘Antioxidative phenylpropanoids from berries of Pimenta dioica’, Phytochemistry 52(7): 1307– 12.

[11] Peter, K.V. Handbook of Herbs and Spices.
Cambridge, , GBR: Woodhead Publishing, Limited, 2004. p 134.