Pippali or long pepper is a very important medicinal herb of Ayurveda. It is used as single drug and also in combination to treat various diseases related to respiratory and digestive system. Long pepper is distributed throughout tropical and subtropical regions of the world. In India it is cultivated in Warmer parts of India (from Central Himalayas to Assam), lower hills of West Bengal, Uttar Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, and Western Ghats. Long pepper is antioxidant, decongestant, carminative, expectorant, warming, analgesic, and detoxifier.
Long pepper(pippali) is used in many Ayurvedic medicines to treat various health problems. It is one of the three ingredient in Trikatu churna which is used to treat dyspepsia and improving gastric function. Long pepper is used to treat a variety of conditions like asthma, bronchitis, cough, digestive disorders, enlargement of the spleen.
The plant description
Slender, aromatic, perennial climber, with woody roots;numerous wide ovate, cordate leaves, inflorescence: Cylindrical, pedunculate spike, female flower up to 2.5 cm long and 4-5 mm in diameter;male flower is larger and slender, fruits small, ovoid berries, shiny blackish green, embedded in fleshy spikes.
Latin name: Piper longum, Synonym Piper latifolium Family: Piperaceae
Ayurvedic names: Pippali, Magadhi, Vaidehi, Upkulya
- Assamese: Pippali
- Bengali: Pipul
- English: Long Pepper
- Gujrati: Lindi Peeper, Pipali
- Hindi: Pipar
- Kannada: Hippali
- Malayalam: Pippali
- Marathi: Pimpali, Lendi Pimpali
- Oriya: Pipali, Pippali
- Punjabi: Magh, Magh Pipali
- Tamil: Arisi Tippali, Thippili, Thippiliver (root)
- Telugu: Pippalu
- Urdu: Filfil Daraz
Ayurvedic Medicinal Properties
For medicinal purpose the fruits and roots of the plant are used. The roots are known as Pippalimula. The dried, immature, catkin-like fruits of the plant are known as Pippali.
Ayurvedic properties of Pippli (fruits)
- Rasa: Katu (pungent)
- Guna: Laghu (light), snigdha (unctuous), tikshna (sharp)
- Virya: Anushnashita (slight cold)
- Vipaka: Madhur (sweet)
- Dosha: Pacifies kapha and vata
Ayurvedic properties of Pippli Moola (Roots of Pippali)
- Rasa: Katu (pungent)
- Guna: Laghu (light), Ruksha (dry)
- Virya: Ushna (hot)
- Vipaka: Katu (pungent)
Constituents of Long pepper (Roots and fruits): Alkaloids (Piperine, Piperlongumine, Piperlonguminine etc), and Essential Oils.
The major alkaloid of long pepper is piperine. Piperine is antipyretic (reduces fever), hypotensive (lowers BP), restorative, liver protecting, CNS stimulant and improves drug availability.
Traditional Medicinal uses of Pippali
For medicinal purpose immature fruits and roots are used. Ayurvedic text describes this as Rasayana and tonic.
The fruits and roots decoction is used for treating chronic bronchitis, cough and cold.
As per Ayurvedic text, Pippali is given with jaggery for cough, respiratory infection, difficult breathing; with honey for diarrhoea. Ayurvedic medicine Chausath Prahari Pipal, is prepared by triturating Pippali in its own decoction, and given for treating variety of diseases that occur in body due to Vata and Kapha Dosha. Trikatu is also a famous Ayurvedic medicine containing Pippali.
A simple formulation consisting of equal amount of Vidanga (seeds), borax powder and Pippali (fruits) is used as Ayurvedic contraceptive.
Paste of Pippali is applied topically for muscular pain and swelling.
Home remedies of pippali
Sinus congestion, coughs, and hiccups: Take 1/2 tbs long pepper powder with 1/2 tbs of rock salt and boil in one and half glass of water and cook for 15 mins and then filer and drink .
Cough: Take about 10 gms of each of dried ginger or sonth, holy basil leaves and long pepper. Add 4-6 small cardamoms and grind to yield a fine powder. Take this powder with equal amount of honey relieves cough.
Fever: For fever due to any reason, take root of long pepper and make decoction in water and drink twice a day. This cures fever, removes toxins and improves liver function.
Headache: For headache heat long pepper powder and smell it.
Insomnia or trouble sleeping: Take 1 gm long pepper powder with milk.
Asthma: Take 2 gm long pepper powder with honey.
Enlarged spleen and liver: Take 5 gm root of long pepper and 1 gm long pepper powder. Boil in 200 gm of water filter and drink it.
Rapid heartbeat: Take 25 gm each of root of long pepper (pipara mool)and green cardamom and make a powder. Take 3 gm of this powder daily with ghee gives relief from constipation and rapid heartbeat.
Chronic malaria patients with splenomegaly (enlarged spleen): Give long pepper fruits boiled in milk and water and drink in early morning.
Pippali Vardhmaan Rasayana
Pippali is a very effective medicine in treatment of Amavata. Amavata is rheumatoid arthritis. Ayurveda says the reason for this disease is formation of Ama (toxins) in the body due to impaired digestion, followed by vitiation of all dosha i.e. Vata, Pitta and Kapha.
A study done of arthritis patients for Vardhamaan Pippali Rasayana effect on condition showed, 50.56% relief from the symptom of pain in joints, 48.7% relief from the symptom of stiffness in the joints, 53.25% relief from the swelling in joints and 46.20% relief from restriction of movements with remarkable reduction (17.76%) in ESR.
Pippali Vardhamaa Rasayana is prescribed by Acharaya Charaka and Acharaya Sushrut for treatment of Chronic fever, Malarial fever, Arthritis, Gout, Asthma, Chronic bronchitis, and Wasting disease.
Pippali Vardhmaan Rasayana is basically, administration of Pippali powder in increasing doses for few days then decreasing the doses and finally withdrawing.
The method is, long pepper powder is given in dose of 1 gm, twice a day on first day. It is increased by 1 g daily up to a maximum dose of 5 g twice a day. The maximum dose 5 g, is given for 5 days and then it is decreased by 1 g daily to a dose of 1 g twice a day. Total duration of the treatment is 15 days.
During treatment, person should take Mudga Yusha, and Mridu Virechak Eranda taila (Castor oil) in doses of 30-40 ml with hot water according to their constipation.
Side effects of Pippali
- It is hot in potency, it decreases vata and kapha and increases pitta. So it should be used carefully in person with pitta Prakriti.
- It should not be used if tissues are inflamed.
- It should be taken only in recommended doses. High doses causes burning sensation and vitiation of all Dosha.
- It should not be used continuously for long duration.