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Know your Herbs

Long Pepper

Long pepper is also known as pippali or Indian long pepper. The scientific name for long pepper is Piper longum and belongs to the family Piperaceae. It is cultivated, dried and used as a spice all over the world. It is a flowering vine, similar to Piper nigrum or black pepper but it is a little hotter than black pepper. Long pepper looks like a poppy seed embedded in a flower spike. The seeds contain piperine, an alkaloid, which gives the seeds a pungent taste. Piperine is also a CNS stimulant, hypotensive and anti-pyretic agent.

This herb is most commonly found in India. It is a creeping herb, native to the Himalyas and grows well in Europe, Africa, America and Asia. It is a tropical herb and grows around 3 meters in length. The unripe and dried berries are used for various purposes. The fruits are sweet, pungent, stimulant, aromatic and hot in nature. The leaves are green, large and broadly ovate and deeply cordate i.e. the leaves can be triangular and have an oval outline.

It is essentially grown as a spice in Northeast India and Meghalaya. Long pepper is a perennial herb and flourishes under the shades of trees and rainy areas.

Pepper is a Sanskrit name derived from the word pippali. It acts as a rejuvenator herb since it relieves from gas, activates appetite and also tranquilizes vata and kapha dosha.

Long pepper was first studied by Hippocrates, and then it reached to Greece and Europe and finally was introduced to the whole world.

Long pepper has been used in the science of Ayurveda due to its medicinal activities. Long pepper have a vast range of medicinal properties anticancer, anti-oxidant, anti-microbial, immunomodulatory, analgesic, antihyperlipidemic, anti-diabetic, anti-depressant, anti-inflammatory, anti-obesity, anti-fertility, hepatoprotective, and cardioprotective properties.

Long pepper possesses phenolic amides that are more effective than vitamin E in anti-oxidant activity.

Long pepper contains large number of compounds and alkaloids. The compounds which are mostly found in long pepper are piperine, methyl piperine, asarinine, piperlongumine, piperettine, tetrahydropiperine and many more. It also contains lignans like sesamin, esters, complex mixture of volatile oils such as caryophyllene and bisaboline and organic acids such as palmitic acid.

The roots of the plant are also used for various medicinal purposes and contain steroids, piperlonguminine, glucosides and piperine.

Among all the components, piperine is the most active alkaloid and provides many health benefits. Piperine acts as hypotensive, anti-pyretic, restorative, and protective agent and as an adjunct since it also improves bio-availability of other herbs such as curcumin.
 

Benefits of Long Pepper

  • Helps in Insomnia: Long pepper can help in achieving and maintaining good sleep in cases of insomnia and other sleep disorders.
     
  • Stimulates Metabolism: It stimulates sluggish metabolism and prevents accumulation of fat in the body. It cuts down the level of LDL or bad cholesterol.
     
  • Improves Bone Strength: Long pepper maintains and improves bone strength and skeletal integrity so that risk of fracture decreases.
     
  • Rejuvenates Respiratory System: Long pepper detoxifies and rejuvenates the entire respiratory system. It removes excess mucus from the tract. It nourishes the deeper respiratory tissues of the body.
     
  • Improves Digestion: Long pepper is used to improve appetite and digestion and treat stomach ache, heartburn, indigestion, intestinal gas, diarrhoea and cholera.
     
  • Helpful in Epilepsy: The fruits and roots of Long pepper are helpful in treating epilepsy.
     
  • Calms Nervous System: Long pepper calms down the agitated nervous system.
     
  • Improves Heart and Spleen Health: Long pepper is helpful in controlling spleen enlargement and rapid heartbeat.
     
  • Improves Skin Health: Long pepper helps in treating skin ailments and hastens the process of healing of wounds.
     
  • Fights against Fever: It is a good antipyretic herb used to treat high fever in Ayurveda.
     
  • Help in Diabetes: Long pepper helps in controlling diabetes as it aids in improving insulin sensitivity and production.
     
  • Improves Energy Level: Long pepper helps in improving energy level as it provides warming energy which stimulates prana agni.
     

Due to the therapeutic values of Long pepper, it forms a part of Daily Boost Tea by Preserva Wellness.