Scientific Name(s): Pimenta dioica (L.) Merr. Family: Myrtaceae (myrtle)

Common Name(s): Allspice , pimenta , Jamaica pepper , clove pepper , pimento


Apart from use for spices and fragrance, allspice has been used traditionally for various GI complaints, rheumatism, and neuralgia. Extracts demonstrate antimicrobial properties; however, clinical studies are lacking.


There are no clinical applications for P. dioica or clinical evidence to provide dosing recommendations.


Contraindications have not yet been identified.


GRAS (generally recognized as safe) when used as food. Ingestion in excess of amounts found in food should be avoided because safety and efficacy are unproven.


None well documented.

Adverse Reactions

Allspice can irritate mucosa. Clinical studies are lacking.


Allspice is not generally associated with toxicity, but eugenol can be toxic in high concentrations. Ingestion of extracts may produce toxicity and affect the CNS.


P. dioica is a sturdy perennial tree that grows to 13 m. It has leathery, oblong leaves and is native to the West Indies, Central America, and Mexico. Dried, full-grown but unripe fruit and leaves are used medicinally. Commercially available allspice powder consists of the whole ground, dried fruit. Synonyms include Pulmonaria officinalis Lindl., Pimenta pimenta (L.) Karst., Pimenta vulgaris Lindl., and Myrtus dioica and Myrtus pimenta . The plant should not be confused with Lippia sidoides , commonly called "alecrim-pimenta" in Brazil. , , ,


Allspice is used as a food flavoring, odor reminiscent of a combination of cloves, cinnamon, and nutmeg. It has also been used in cosmetics and toothpastes. Allspice has been used medicinally as a tonic, purgative, carminative, and antidiarrheal, as well as for rheumatism, neuralgia, and stomachache.


Allspice berries contain between 1% and 4% of a volatile oil, which contains between 60% and 80% eugenol and eugenol methyl ether (40% to 45%). The leaf oil contains more eugenol (up to 96%) and is similar in composition to clove leaf oil. Allspice oil also contains cineole, levophellandrene, caryophyllene, and palmitic acid. Enzymes released after harvesting appear to be responsible for producing many of the volatile components from chemical precursors. Small amounts of resin, tannic acid, and an acrid fixed oil are present. Other phenolic glycosides and flavonoids have been identified in the berries. Gas chromatography has been used to describe the chemical composition of the essential oil. , , , ,

Uses and Pharmacology

Any pharmacologic activity associated with the plant is most likely caused by the presence of eugenol; however, clinical studies are lacking. Antioxidant properties have been described for allspice, but studies evaluating this property in clinical applications are also lacking. , ,

Antimicrobial effects
Animal data

Allspice essential oil has been evaluated for effect against nematodes and ticks. , Activity has also been demonstrated against a limited range of bacteria including Escherichia coli , Salmonella enterica , and Listeria monocytogenes , with possible applications in the food industry. , Activity appears limited against Staphylococcus aureus and E. coli toxin. ,

Clinical data

Research reveals no clinical data regarding the use of allspice for antimicrobial properties.

Other effects

A methanol extract from the plant leaves showed both prohibitory and inhibitory effects on estrogen receptors in vitro, supporting the traditional use of allspice in menopause in Costa Rica.

An aqueous extract of allspice reduced the growth of prostate cancer cells in a laboratory experiment possibly via androgen receptor activity. ,


The essential oil of allspice has been used at doses of 0.05 to 0.2 mL; however, there is no clinical evidence to support this dosage. Traditional uses of allspice have reported 5 to 10 mL per 240 mL of water taken 3 times a day.


GRAS when used as food. Avoid ingestion in excess of amounts found in food because safety and efficacy are unproven.


None well documented. An in vitro experiment suggests allspice may upregulate cytochrome P450 3A4 activity; however, the relevance of this finding is unknown.

Adverse Reactions

Allspice and extracts of the plant can be irritating to mucous membranes. ,


Although allspice has not been generally associated with toxicity, eugenol can be toxic in high concentrations. Ingestion of more than 5 mL of allspice oil may induce nausea, vomiting, CNS depression, and convulsions. When the oil and eugenol were applied to intact, shaved abdominal mouse skin, no percutaneous absorption was observed.


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