Pimenta is a sturdy tree that grows to 13 meters. It has leathery, oblong leaves and is native to the West Indies, Central America and Mexico. The parts of the plant used medicinally are the dried, full-grown but unripe fruit and leaves. Allspice powder available commercially consists of the whole ground dried fruit.
The plant has been used as a carminative. Besides its use in cosmetics and toothpastes, it is used as a food flavoring. Its odor is reminiscent of a combination of cloves, cinnamon and nutmeg. Allspice has been used medicinally as a tonic, purgative, carminative and antidi?arrheal3 and for rheumatisms, neuralgia and stomach?ache.
Allspice berries contain from 1 % to 4% of a volatile oil, which contains from 60% to 80% eugenol and eugenol methylether (40% to 45%).1-3 The leaf oil contains more eugenol (up to 96%) and bears many similarities to the composition of clove leaf oil. The oil is known as pimenta or allspice oil, and also contains cineole, levophellandrene, caryophyllene and palmitic acid.3 Enzymes released after harvesting appear to be responsible for producing many of the volatile compo?nents from chemical precursors.1 More than three dozen chemical constituents have been identified in the plant.1 In addition, small amounts of resin, tannic acid and an acrid fixed oil are present?
Any pharmacologic activity associ?ated with the plant is most likely due to the presence of eugenol. Eugenol has local antiseptic and anesthetic properties. Eugenol also has antioxidant properties and allspice may serve as' a potential source of new natural antioxidants. Furthermore, allspice appears to have in vitro activity against yeasts and fungi.
Eugenol, aqueous extracts of allspice and allspice oil, has been shown to enhance trypsin activity and to have larvicidal properties.
Allspice and extracts of the plant can be irritating to mucous membranes. Although allspice generally has not been associated with toxicity, eugenol can be toxic in high concentrations. Ingestion of more than 5 ml of allspice oil may induce nausea, vomiting, central nervous system depression and convulsions.
When pimento oil and eugenol were applied to intact shaved abdominal skin of the mouse, no percutaneous absorption was observed.
Allspice is a popular spice and fragrance. The oil may induce topical irritation and ingestion of the oil may result in toxicity.
Uses: Apart from use for spices and fragrance, allspice has been used for various gastrointestinal ills, rheumatism and neuralgia. Extracts have antiseptic, anesthetic, and Cntioxidant properties and efficacy in vitro against yeasts and fungi.
Allspice can irritate mucosa. Ingestion of extracts may produce toxicity and affect the CNS