Black pepper is native to south India and is extensively cultivated there and elsewhere in tropical regions.
Dried ground pepper has been used since antiquity both for its flavour and as a traditional medicine.
Black pepper is the world's most traded spice and is one of the most common spices added to cuisines around the world.
Its spiciness is due to the chemical piperine, not to be confused with the capsaicin characteristic of chili peppers. It is ubiquitous in the modern world as a seasoning and is often paired with salt.