Piper longum

 

Piper longum

Synonyms

No documentation

Vernacular Name

Indian longpepper, indonesian long pepper, longpepper, pipal, pippali, tippali

Description

Piper longum or Indian Longpepper has been used in cuisine as well as traditional medicine in India for millennia. Its first mention as a medicinal herb was in the Caraka Samhita. Its long, slender branches yield ovular catkins with small fruit that, when dried, resembles Piper nigrum, also known as black pepper. Due to the popularity of P. longum and other peppers native to the American continents, this plant is becoming increasingly rare.

P. longum is a climbing perennial with substantial woody roots and with stems that extend over the ground. It produces a fruit that is minute, drupe and yellow-orange in color. Spikes, when ripe, are red in color and pungent.

Origin / Habitat

P. longum is a perennial pepper plant native to the hotter climates of India. It grows most commonly from Assam to the Himalayas.

Chemical Constituents

The primary active constituents in Piper longum are piperine, piplartine, and piperlongumine. Piperine constitutes four to five percent of the essential oil derived from the catkins. Additional active chemicals include several piperidine alkaloids, dihydrostigmasterol, sesamim, terpenines and isobuyldeca-trans-2-trans-4-dienamide.[2]

Plant Part Used

Primarily the fruit from the catkins, root, stem.

Medicinal Uses

General

Digestive disorders

Depression

Bronchial disorder

Coughs and cold

Asthma

 

Most Frequently Reported Uses

Digestive disorders

Depression

Dosage

Dosage Range 

500–1000mg per day of crude dried herb one to three times per day.

Infusion: begin with 3 peppers at one dose with honey, increasing by 3 longpeppers per day until the dosage reaches 30 per day.[1]

 

Most Common Dosage

500mg crude herb three times per day.

Standardization Dosage

Standardized to a minimum of 1% piperine

Pharmacology

Pre-clinical

A 1996 study found that an ethanolic extract of P. longum cured ninety percent of rats with an intestinal infection of Entamoeba histolyca, a common intestinal parasite.[3] Gastric ulcer has been reported to be effectively treated by P. longum in rats by increasing mucus production as well as increasing pepsin.[4] P. longum also inhibits cell adhesion according to a 2005 study.[5] It also exhibits antioxidant activity in rats at dosages of 250mg/kg to 500 mg/kg. The same study states that P. longum is also useful in reducing oxidative stress caused by used by Adriamycin.[6] Additionally, the acidamides in P. longum have an antiplatelet effect, therefore inhibiting thrombus in rats.[7] P. longum has been shown to have antihyperlipidemic effects comparable to existing prescription drug therapy.[8]

Clinical

A 1980 study of asthma in children age 1 to 12 found P. longum to greatly reduce both the severity and frequency of asthmatic incidents. The study consisted of 240 children all suffering from asthma, taking increasing doses of the powdered fruit two to three times a day,  starting at from as little as 1g per dose to a maximum of 30g per dose. Once the maximum dosage was reached, each successive dose contained decreasing amounts of P. longum until the original dosage level was reached.  The results of this treatment dramatically reduced the symptoms of asthma in nearly 80 percent of the subjects. Those of the majority found that asthmatic symptoms not only occurred less frequently, but with significantly decreased severity. A small minority of 8 percent, however, found that their symptoms were aggravated after the treatment.[9]

Another human study tested the efficacy of an Ayurvedic treatment consisting of P. longum and Butea monosperma, traditionally called Pippali Rasayana on the treatment of giardisis. A group of fifty giardia patients were divided into a control, placebo group and a group treated with Pippali Rasayana. The patients were treated for a period of fifteen days at a dose of 1 gram three times a day by mouth. At the completion of the treatment 92 percent of the group treated with Pippali Rasayana showed significant reduction in symptoms associated with giardisis. Additionally, the same 92 percent had a no detectable traces of the bacteria Giardia lamblia in their stool.[10]

Interaction and Depletions

Interaction with other Herbs

No documentation

Interaction with Drugs

There are no reported interactions between P. longum and prescription or over the counter medications.

Precautions and Contraindications

Side effects

Generally considered safe for use as directed

Pregnancy

Not to be used by pregnant or nursing women without supervision of a healthcare professional

Age limitation

No documentation

Adverse reaction

No documentation

Read More

  1) Safety

  2) Ayuverda

References

  1. Nadkarmi, KM. Indian Materia Medica. Bombay: Popular Prakashan Press; 1976.
  2. Premila, M.S. Ayurvedic Herbs: A Clinical Guide to the Healing Plants of Traditional Indian Medicine. Binghamton, NY: The Haworth Press; 2006.
  3. Ghoshal S, Prasad BN, Lakshmi V. Antiamoebic activity of Piper longum fruits against Entamoeba histolytica in vitro and in vivo. J Ethnopharmacol. Mar 1996;50(3):167-170.
  4. Agrawal AK, Rao CV, Sairam K, Joshi VK, Goel RK. Effect of Piper longum Linn, Zingiber officianalis Linn and Ferula species on gastric ulceration and secretion in rats. Indian J Exp Biol. Oct 2000;38(10):994-998.
  5. Kumar S, Arya P, Mukherjee C, Singh BK, Singh N, Parmar VS, Prasad AK, Ghosh B. Novel aromatic ester from Piper longum and its analogues inhibit expression of cell adhesion molecules on endothelial cells. Biochemistry. 6 Dec 2005;44(48):15944-15952.
  6. Wakade AS, Shah AS, Kulkarni MP, Juvekar AR. Protective effect of Piper longum L. on oxidative stress induced injury and cellular abnormality in adriamycin induced cardiotoxicity in rats. Indian J Exp Biol. Jul 2008;46(7):528-533.
  7. Park BS, Son DJ, Park YH, Kim TW, Lee SE. Antiplatelet effects of acidamides isolated from the fruits of Piper longum L. Phytomedicine. Dec 2007;14(12):853-855.
  8. Jin Z, Borjihan G, Zhao R, Sun Z, Hammond GB, Uryu T. Antihyperlipidemic Compounds from the Fruit of Piper longum L. Phytother Res. 26 Jan 2009. (Epub ahead of print)
  9. Fernandes A, Tavares F, Athavale VB. Asthma in children: a clinical controlled study of Piper longum in asthma. Paediatr Clin India. 1980;5:45-52.
  10. Agarwal AK, Tripathi DM, Sahai R, Gupta N, Saxena RP, Puri A, Singh M, Misra RN, Dubey CB, Saxena KC. Management of giardiasis by a herbal drug 'Pippali Rasayana': a clinical study. J Ethnopharmacol. May 1997;56(3):233-236.