Despite the unusual name, Peperomia plants are common all around us. You’ve probably seen them as a house or office plant.
Even though we all know they’re pretty, you might be missing out on their full potential. They have a long history of medical applications, and they can even clean up the air!
So, if you’re interested in finding out about Peperomia benefits, you’ve come to the right place. Let’s take a look at what Peperomias are and how you can use them.
What Is Peperomia?
Peperomia is a group of plants native to South America, Mexico, and the Caribbean. They belong to the pepper family, which is why many people call them pepper elders.
Still, the most common name for these plants is radiator plants. This is because they like dry environments, like the windowsill above a radiator.
Aside from their resilience, the Peperomias have a lot to offer.
What Are the Top Peperomia Benefits for Health?
People have used Peperomia for hundreds of years in Bolivia as a wound dressing to stop hemorrhage.
Over the years, science has come to discover more and more applications for the species. However, the most impressive by far are its medical benefits.
We also associate these plants with lower cholesterol levels and fewer infections. For this reason, many people add Peperomia to their daily routine.
Here are some of the notable health uses for Peperomias:
- Soothes stomach ache
- Topical tincture to reduce inflammation of acne and boils
- Boost the healing process
- Provides some pain relief
- Cures headaches
- Treats Rheumatoid Arthritis
- Aids with kidney function
- Provides antifungal effects
- Works as an antioxidant
We’re even likely to hear more about the plant’s medicinal range since it has shown great promise in treating cancer!
Just keep in mind that all these benefits are never a replacement for a professionally prescribed treatment plan.
Can Peperomias Work as Detergents?
On top of all the amazing health benefits of Peperomia plants, you can also use them for household cleaning.
Most Peperomia plants contain a chemical called phytol. This chemical has a few different properties and uses.
While phytol can also be an active agent in many of the plant’s medical uses, it’s also a detergent. It can break down organic compounds, which makes it especially useful for dirt and grass stains.
However, it’s not very practical to distill your cleaning products out of ornamental plants. The yield would be minimal, anyway.
That’s why Peperomias won’t be replacing the store-bought cleaners in your detergent cabinet any time soon.
Can Peperomias Clean the Air?
Other than cleaning your counter, Peperomias can clean your air too.
Plants take in carbon dioxide and replace it with oxygen, thanks to photosynthesis. That much we know.
However, certain species can offer you more in terms of air purification, and the glorious Peperomia is one of them.
They’re especially good at removing formaldehyde from the air.
Keep in mind that formaldehyde is an irritant that can interact with your cells and disrupt their activities. Long-term inhalation can lead to increased cancer risk and sinus problems.
Are Peperomias Edible?
Peperomia Pellucida plants are edible to humans. They have a sharp flavor that can add a punch to any dish.
As long as you wash the plant thoroughly, you should have no problems eating the entire thing.
Moreover, since these plants prefer dry environments, they can store plenty of water. So, not only can you use the plants for nutrition, but you can also use them for hydration.
That makes Peperomia plants incredibly versatile. For this reason, they’re a staple in many cultures.
How Can You Eat Peperomias?
Since there are many uses for these plants, preparation is everything. Thankfully, the ornamental plant is versatile when it comes to culinary styles.
Yet, it’s important to note that eating one Peperomias once won’t be enough for you to see any significant results.
You need to add a healthy diet to your routine to make sure you get any benefits. It’ll take a few months before you start to notice any effects of eating raw Peperomia plants.
It’s always a good idea to mix and match your greens to maintain a more balanced nutritional approach.
Let’s take a closer look at how you can prepare Peperomias.
The easiest way to use Peperomia plants is to eat them raw. While they might not be tasty on their own, you can still use them with other ingredients.
For example, the fastest way to enjoy the fresh leaves is to add them to your salads. Alternatively, you can use them as a garnish on pretty much any dish to add a little earthy spiciness.
This way, you get a boost for your immune system with some analgesic and anti-inflammatory benefits.
However, since you’re eating the plant with no processing, it may take a while for your body to break it down.
Another simple way of using Peperomia plants is boiling them. This makes the plant much softer and easier to eat.
Bring a pot of water to a boil and submerge the plant in the water for a few minutes. Be careful not to leave the plant in the boiling water for too long, or it will fall apart.
Finally, as soon as you remove it from the boiling water, dip the plant in a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking process.
However, you might lose some of its benefits in the cooking process.
Drying your Peperomias has a couple of advantages. The first one is that the plant can last much longer.
During winter and fall, they shed their leaves. That means if you want to use it all year round, you’ll need to pluck a few stems in advance to store them.
Plus, fresh Peperomias don’t have a long shelf life. If you leave them out in the open air, they’ll wilt in a matter of days. Instead, try drying out the stems.
The second advantage is it’s much easier to use the plant when it’s dry. You can crush the dried plant into a powder and then add it to pretty much anything, including your food.
Still, while you’re drying out the plant, it might lose a bit of its volatile oil concentration. So, if you want to get the most health benefits, drying out may not be the best idea.
If you’re after the topical healing properties of Peperomia plants, then making a salve is the way to go. A salve is a cream or ointment that you can apply locally to different areas.
You start by crushing the leaves, stems, and roots of the plant using a pestle and mortar. Then, add the powder to any type of oil base you like, whether it’s olive or coconut oil.
If you prefer, you can use a body lotion. Still, it’s best to use a product with all-natural ingredients.
For this, you can use raw, boiled, or even dried Peperomia plants. Just keep in mind that fresh Peperomia plants will add the most benefits to a salve.
You can then apply this salve to any area that needs healing, like wounds and acne scars. Additionally, you can use it to help with chafing.
Which Peperomia Plant to Grow?
There are thousands of different species of Peperomia, but they’re not all common. Only a handful are known to most people.
So, let’s take a look at four of the most common Peperomia plants that have special properties.
The Angulata is mostly used as an ornamental house plant, and it can help with toothaches and liver health. However, you most likely recognize it as the beetle peperomia.
Argyreia is probably the most recognizable plant from the peperomia family. It has leaves with two shades of green, a deep and light green.
The two shades create a striped pattern that resembles a watermelon. This is why we call it the watermelon peperomia.
Another common type of Peperomia is the Pellucida, which is an incredibly common plant in Brazil and Portugal.
The Pellucida has incredible cordate leaves that look like tiny hearts. How fitting, since they are the species that have the most medicinal properties!
Peperomia Griseo Argentea
The Griseo Argentea is one of the most unique members of the Peperomia family. Unlike all its relatives, it has silver leaves, making it easily the most decorative option on our list.
Even though it has the prettiest foliage, it has the least benefits. So, if you’re interested in function over beauty, then you may want to choose another species.
Peperomias are one of the prettiest house plants there are. Still, many of us don’t know how useful they can be.
So, what are the top Peperomia benefits?
Peperomia is an antioxidant, analgesic, and anti-tumor agent that can also help with gastric disturbances. When used topically, the plant helps boost healing and improves skin irritation.
As an added bonus, the Peperomias can also help purify the air from the potentially harmful formaldehyde. It’s an all-around charmer!
Growing up with a mom who filled her home (inside and out) with all sorts of plants, Lisa got her start in gardening at a young age. Living now on her own with a home and yard full of plants (including an indoor greenhouse), she shares all the gardening tips she’s gained over the years.