Pippali Mula (Piper longum roots) Uses, properties and more

The fruits of plant Piper longum are known as Pippali/Pipri and the roots as Pippali or Pippala Mool. Both are used for medicinal purpose in Ayurveda. The roots are anti-inflammatory, analgesic, carminative, laxative, and expectorant. They are hot in potency and used to treat diseases that occur due to vitiation of Vata (air) and Kapha (phlegm) Dosha/humour. Due to hot potency the roots are used in digestive weakness and excessive phlegm inside body.

Pippali medicinal Uses

Pippali roots relieves inflammations, edema and restores the structures of the body to normalcy, improves appetite, and relieves flatulence. It is stomachic, digestive, pungent, hot, and very useful for digesting food, bile producing and laxative.

Pippali Moola has milder effects than Pippali. It is available in small cylindrical pieces of nodal and internodal pieces, about 2 mm thick. The nodal pieces are considered superior to intermodal ones.

General Information

Piper longum is perennial herb with a thick, erect, jointed, branched rootstock, stems numerous 60—90 cm long,, ascending or prostrate (not climbing), much branched, stout, cylindrical, thickened above nodes, finely pubescent.

The leaves are simple, alternate, numerous, 3.7—8.7 cm long, lower ones broadly ovate, very cordate with broad rounded lobes at base, upper ones oblongoval, cordate at base, all subacute, entire, glabrous, thin, bullate with reticulate venation sunk above and raised beneath, dark green and shining above, pale and dull beneath, petioles of lower leaves 5—7.5 cm long, stout, of upper ones very short or none, stipules about 1.2 cm long, membranous, lanceolate, obtuse, enclosing the bud but soon falling off.

flowers naked, unisexual, dioecious, sessile in axils of fleshy bracts supported by two lateral bracts arranged in solitary, pedunculate spikes, male spikes slender, bracts narrow, female spikes 1.2—2.5 cm long, bracts circular, flat, peltate, perianth absent, stamens 2, anther 2-celled.

Ovary superior unilocular with a solitary erect ovule, stigmas 3 or 4, short, spreading, persistent.

Fruit very small ovoid, completely sunk in solid fleshy spike which is 2.5—3.7 cm long, ovoid-oblong, erect blunt, blackish green and shining.

Root is greyish brown in colour,longitudinally wrinkled and having roots and root scars on the surface. It is stout, cylindrical, 0.2-0.6 cm thick, reddish brown to grey. It is aromatic and tastes pungent.

Scientific Classification

The botanical name of Pippali is Piper longum. It belongs to plant family Piperaceae.

Piperaceae is a large tropical family, having more than 10 genera and approximately 1500 species. This family belongs to class dicotyledons but due to its unique anatomical features it resembles monocotyledon.

Piperaceae family comprises of two larger genera, Piper and Peperomia. The genus Piper, the largest in the family, occurs throughout the tropical and sub-tropical regions. Most important economic species of this genus include Piper nigrum, Piper betle (Paan / Betle leaf), Chavya (Piper cubeba) and Piper longam (Pippali / long pepper). Below is given taxonomical classification of plant.

  • Kingdom: Plantae – Plants
  • Subkingdom: Tracheobionta – Vascular plants
  • Superdivision: Spermatophyta – Seed plants
  • Division: Magnoliophyta – Flowering plants
  • Class: Magnoliopsida – Dicotyledons
  • Subclass: Magnoliidae
  • Order: Piperales
  • Family: Piperaceae – Pepper family
  • Genus: Piper L. – pepper
  • Species: Piper longum
  • Part(s) used for medicinal purpose: The fruits and Roots
  • Plant type: Herb
  • Habitat: Hotter parts of India

Distribution: From the central Himalayas to Assam, Khasi and Mikir hills, lower hills of Bengal, evergreen forests of Western Ghats from Konkan to Travancore, also the Car Nicobar Islands.

Also cultivated in Afghanistan, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Malaysia and Singapore.

Vernacular names / Synonyms

  • Scientific name: Piper longum
  • Sanskrit: Pippalimuula, piplamul, Pippali-Jataa, Granthi, Shadgranthi, Granthika, Maagadhi-muula, Kanaamuula, Krishnaamuula Pippaliamuula
  • Bengali: Pipulmul
  • English: Piper root, Indian Long Pepper roots
  • Gujrati: Gantoda, Ganthoda
  • Hindi: Piparamula
  • Kannada: Modikaddi, Hippali, Tippali, Modi
  • Malayalam: Kattuthippaliver, Tippaliveru
  • Marathi: Pimplimula
  • Oriya: Pippalimula, Bana Pippalimula
  • Punjabi: Pippalimula, Magha
  • Tamil: Kanda Tippili, Ambinadi Desavaram
  • Telugu: Modi, Madikatta
  • Urdu: Filfil Daraz
  • Unani: Bekh-Filfil Daraaz , Bekh-Daarfilfil, Peeplamool

Constituents of Piper longum

Piper longum root gave the alkaloids piperine, Piplartine (piperlongumine) and piperlonguminine,

sesamin, methyl-j, 4, y-trlmethoxycinnamate.

Piperine has hypotensive, antipyretic, CNS-stimulant, analeptic activity. It improves availability of medicine for absorption.

Important Medicinal Properties

The roots of Pippali plant (Pippali Mula) have anti-inflammatory and analgesic effect is nearly equal to that of Ibuprofen according to a study on animals. This indicates that Piper longum Linn root has weak opioid but potent NSAID (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory) type of analgesic activity.

Below is given medicinal properties along with the meaning.

  • Antibacterial: Active against bacteria.
  • Antispasmodic: Antispasmodic: Used to relieve spasm of involuntary muscle.
  • Anti-inflammatory: Reducing inflammation by acting on body mechanisms.
  • Anthelmintic: Expel Parasitic worms (helminths) and other internal parasites from the body.
  • Analgesic: Relieve pain.
  • Carminative: Preventing the formation or causing the expulsion of flatulence.
  • Digestive: Digestant.
  • Diuretic: Promoting excretion of urine/agent that increases the amount of urine excreted.
  • Emmenagogue: Stimulates or increases menstrual flow.
  • Expectorant: Promotes the secretion of sputum by the air passages, used to treat coughs.
  • Laxative: Tending to stimulate or facilitate evacuation of the bowels.
  • Thermogenic: Warming

Ayurvedic Properties and Action

Pippali Mula is pungent in taste (Rasa), pungent after digestion (Vipaka), and is hot in effect (Virya).

The Pungent (Katu), Hot (Ushna), Penetrative (Teekshna), Dry (Ruksha), Light (Laghu) properties (guans) act against vitiated Air Humour (Vata) and Phlegm (Kapha).

  • Rasa: Katu
  • Guna: Laghu, Ruksha
  • Virya: Ushna
  • Vipaka: Katu
  • Tissues: All but bone
  • Systems: Digestive, reproductive, respiratory

Action / Karma

  • Deepana: Promote appetite but do not aid in digesting undigested food
  • Kaphahara: Pacifies Kapha Dosha
  • Pachan: Assist in digesting undigested food, but do not increase the appetite
  • Pitta vardhak: Increases pitta
  • Ruchikarak: Improve taste
  • Vatahara: Pacifies Vata Dosha
  • Vatanulomana: Takes vata / wind downward, mild laxative

Pipri mula is an Ushna Virya herb. Ushna Virya or hot potency herb, subdues Vata (Wind) and Kapha (Mucus) and increases Pitta (Bile). It has property of digestion, vomiting and purging, and gives feeling of lightness. It is considered bad for sperms and fetus.

It is a Katu Vipak herb. Vipak refers to post-digestive (effect after digestion / cooking of Rasa) effect of tastes after its mixing with digestive juices. It is the long term effect of herb.

Katu Viapk herbs / foods, pungent after digestion. It increases dryness in body. Such foods reduce fertility and Kapha. Katu vipaak has catabolic effect on body.

Important Formulations

  1. Panchakola Churna
  2. Dashamhula Taila
  3. Dashamhulapancakoladi Kvatha Churna

Therapeutic Uses

  1. Anaha (Constipation), Arsha (piles), Gulma, Udararoga (diseases of abdomen), Pliha roga (spleen disorders)
  2. Kshaya (Pulmonary tuberculosis), Grahani (Dysentery)
  3. Shvasa (dyspnoea), cough, cold, and chronic bronchitis
  4. Krimiroga (intestinal parasites)
  5. Vishama jvara (intermittent fever),
  6. Urustambha (stiffness of thigh), Vatavyadhi (Nervous diseases)
  7. Nidranasha (Insomnia), Headache

Medicinal Uses of Piper longum (Pippalimool)

Pippalimool or roots of Pippali (long pepper) plant, are used in dried powder (reddish-brown to creamy-grey bitter powder) form with warm water, milk or preferably with ghee. When used with Ghee, the drying and hot properties of Pippalamula are balanced. This combination is beneficial in headaches due to vitiation of Vata.

  1. For sleeplessness and high blood pressure, the Pippla Moola churna should be taken with cold water, twice a day.
  2. The decoction of roots is prepared by boiling the 2 tablespoon of roots in one glass water and cooking till water reduces to half cup. This is filtered and taken twice a day.
  3. Pippali roots can be taken in form of tea for cold, cough and congestion. For making the tea, the powder is boiled in water and sugar and milk is added.
  4. In case of enlarged liver and spleen, five grams root powder and one gram pippali fruit powder is boiled in 200 ml water and cooked for few minutes. This is filtered and taken.

Dosage of Piper longum

  1. Dose of the powder for adults is 2 to 3 grams and for children it is 250 mg to 500 mg, to be taken twice daily, preferably on an empty stomach mixed with 3 to 5 gm of ghee or butter or Honey and followed by warm water or milk.
  2. Contraindications, Interactions, Side-effects and Warnings Piper longum
  3. No toxic effect or adverse reaction is reported with recommended dose of Pippali root powder.
  4. It is hot in potency, it decreases Vata and Kapha and increases pitta. So it should be used carefully in person with pitta Prakriti.
  5. It should not be used if tissues are inflamed.
  6. It should be taken only in recommended doses. High doses causes burning sensation and vitiation of all Dosha.
  7. Avoid in pregnancy and lactation.
  8. Avoid in blisters, dryness and persistent bitter taste in the mouth, red eyes, hot and watery face, inflammation of the body, inflammations of the intestines and high pitta.
  9. Low dose is safe for long-term use.
  10. Do not use at a high dose for long periods of time.
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