Pippali or Indian long pepper does not need much introduction. This Asian spice was used as an alternative of cayenne in cooking since centuries in the western world as well.
But nowadays its culinary use has been replaced by black pepper. Long pepper is a close relative of black pepper, and hence, both are often confused. But long pepper generally has hotter flavor.
In Ayurvedic medicine, long pepper is counted as an excellent rejuvenator (Rasayana). This ayurvedic herb has tremendous potential in preventing and curing several diseases. Especially it is good for your lungs, liver, and heart.
Pippali is used as a potent anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving agent in the larger part of the Indian subcontinent. Even the folk medicine of China mentions the extract of long pepper to be used in several home remedies.
In many Asian parts, it is also used as a heart tonic.
The detailed information of this medicinal spice has been elaborated in several Ayurvedic classical texts. Let us know about long pepper in detail.
Pippali – All you need to know
Pippali, the Sanskrit name of Long pepper signifies its action as a rejuvenator that replenishes the depleted tissues.
The plant of Pippali grows into a shrub which has numerous creeping stems with a large woody rootstock. The leaves are thin and broadly ovate in shape. Fruits are small, oval-shaped berries of blackish-green in color.
These fruits are entirely sunk in a solid fleshy spike which is 2-4 cm long. These dried, greyish brown spikes are what we use as medicine. The thick branched woody root is also medically important in Ayurveda.
Pippali is typically found in the humid climate and shady regions with moist conditions. This plant is of South-Asian region. It is mainly cultivated on a large scale in India, Nepal, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, and Malaysia.
Pippali fruit has got powerful and spicy odor with a pungent taste that leaves your tongue numb for a few seconds. In spite of being very spicy, it has got a sweet post-digestive effect. It gets easily digested and is known for sharp action, and unctuousness.
Pippali is warm, but it’s sweet after effect calms down the heat with its cooling energy. It is highly useful in balancing abnormal Kapha and Vata doshas.
What are the benefits of Pippali?
Pippali is a fascinating spice as unlike other spices it does not aggravate heat in the body. Therefore, it is used in many Ayurvedic medicines and as an excellent alternative to acidic spices.
It has vast medicinal properties like,
- One of the best digestives and appetizers. Hence, it is regarded as one of the best liver tonics and stomachic drug
- Widely used in gastric problems like abdominal pain, indigestion, constipation, intestinal disorders, amoebiasis, IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome) by digesting undigested or partially digested food and finally expelling them out
- Treats abdominal tumors and distension, flatulence, and improves digestive fire
- Also, is an excellent aphrodisiac and Rasayana as it revives weakened organ functions particularly of lungs, nourishes tissues thus keeping them healthy & young
- Works best in diseases of the respiratory tract like cough, sore throat, asthma, bronchitis, difficulty in breathing, chronic hiccoughs, laryngitis, etc.
- Acts as an analgesic when applied locally for muscular pains and inflammation in gout, rheumatic pain, sciatica, paralysis
- Useful in treating chronic fever, jaundice, enlarged spleen, and other abdominal viscera
- Highly used in piles, urinary disorders, and diabetes
- Helps in treating anemia caused due to worm infestation by irritating and expelling them out of the body
How to use Pippali?
In traditional medicines, mature fruits and roots of Pippali are extensively used in preparing various formulations.
Since centuries-long pepper has been used as a spice to enhance appetite and stimulate digestion but its other applications are not well known. Pippali can be used in the following ways:
- 250 mg of Pippali powder taken twice daily with lukewarm water relieves chronic cough within 4-5 days
Mix powder of Pippali and Yellow-fruit nightshade with some honey and lick it thrice a day. It alleviates and expels out the cough
- The decoction of dried Pippali fruit and root gives gradual relief in acute as well as chronic bronchitis with cough
- 250 mg Pippali powder after meals with water twice daily gives benefit in asthma
- Milk decoction of Pippali can help treat asthma
- Prepare a decoction of Pippali with four times water. Drinking it two-three times a day brings down the temperature
- In old fever, take 250 mg Pippali powder with 5-10 drops of ghee daily. It gives relief from heat within a few days
Mix one part of Pippali powder with two parts of jaggery. Licking this mixture twice daily cures the problem of indigestion, intestinal worms, and anemia
Boil barley along with ½ teaspoon of Pippali and one teaspoon of ghee. Intake of this remedy helps to relieve bloating and abdominal distention due to gases
In poor appetite, taking 250 mg Pippali powder with water twice daily improves appetite
Combination of Pippali powder and dried ginger powder in equal quantities is the best remedy for colic pain
Powder of Pippali consumed with ghee, honey and sugar is very useful in vomiting
- In gout, 250 mg Pippali powder with 1-2 teaspoon ginger juice taken after warming a little twice daily gives relief from pain. This similar remedy is also useful in spleen disorders
- Grind roasted dried Pippali fruits into a fine powder. This powder if taken with honey daily gives relief in arthritic pain
- This powder in two parts can also be given with one part each of black pepper powder and rock salt for two times a day in arthritic pain
To reduce fat take 250 mg Pippali powder with ½ teaspoon of honey 10-15 minutes after meals. Drink a cup of lukewarm water over it. Do it twice daily, and you can see the benefit within 15-20 days
Make a fine paste of 30 dried Pippali fruits and fry with 50 ml of ghee. Add sugar and honey. Daily take 3-5 g of this mixture by adding milk to it before food. This remedy is useful in erectile dysfunction and premature ejaculation. Meanwhile take a diet rich in rice, milk, and ghee.
What is the recommended dose?
Pippali is widely used in the form of dried fruit powder. 0.5 to 1 g powder can be used either in a single dose or in divided doses in a day.
Pippali should not be used in excess for longer duration without any cleansing procedure. Its long term use increases Tridoshas.
It is not ideal for persons having pitta body type (Prakriti). It is usually not recommended for pregnant women and infants.
However, it could be used in children in a small dose of 250mg per day with milk or ghee.
What do recent studies say about Pippali?
Enormous studies have been conducted on Pippali and its chemical constituents. Findings suggest several known and unknown medicinal benefits of Pippali, some of them are as follows:
- Piperine, an active biochemical ingredient of Long pepper, shows significant activity against multidrug-resistant strains of Mycobacterium. This finding encourages to develop new alternative medicine with Piperine alone or in combination with other drugs to fight against the drug resistance among Mycobacterial strains
- Long pepper extract and Piperine possess anti-inflammatory activity by inhibiting prostaglandins and leukotrienes
- Pippali Rasayana, an Ayurvedic preparation, was tested for its rejuvenating effect. It was found to produce significant activation of macrophages i.e., cells scavenging on invading microbes and enhanced phagocytic activity
- Liver protective effect of long pepper along with black pepper has been reported in cases of liver damage and liver toxicity by several studies
- Results of an investigation indicate that Pippali offers significant protection against biochemical changes induced stress and reduces cardiotoxicity due to its anti-oxidant activity
- Compounds containing Piperidine groups, chemical constituents of long pepper are considered as a potential therapy for the treatment for obesity
Pippali – A spice cum tonic
Pippali has been used since ages more as a spice than a medicine. As its several medicinal uses have been reported, regular use of this spice in our daily life could prevent us from several ailments and at the same time cure them as well.
Pippali, the ancient spice cum tonic is undoubtedly one of the excellent examples of food with incredible medicinal benefits.