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Piper retrofractum


Piper longum, Piper officinarum, Piper chaba, Chavica officinarum, Chavica maritime [1]

Vernacular Names:

Malaysia Chabai Jawa, Lada panjang
English Javanese pepper, Java Long Pepper
Indonesia Cabe jawa (Java); Cabi sola (Madura); Lada panjang (Melayu)
Amaras (Ilicano); Boyo,boyo, Kayungo, Litlit, Sabia, Sali Mara, Saog matsing, Subon-manok (Tagalong)
Jia Bi ba
Gajapipali, Chevuyam
Poivre long de Java
Javanischer langer Pfeffer [1]

General Information


Piper retrofractum is a vine from the Piperaceae family. The stem can reach up to 12 m in length. The leaves are short-petioled, green in colour, oblong-ovate or elliptic-lanceolate in shape, measuring 6-7.5 cm long and 3.2-8.5 cm wide, chartaceous. The base is sublateral or inequilateral, pointed or slightly cordate with tips acute. It is penninerved, the lateral nerves 7 – 11 on each side of the midrib, ascending. The male spikes are 3.8 to 8.5 cm long and 2.5 to 4.5 mm in diameter; the bracts are somewhat stalked and peltate. There are 2-3 stamens which are stalkless. The female spikes are oblong in shape when matured, red in colour, fleshy, cylindric, 3 to 6.5 cm long, 6.5 to 11 mm in diameter, the rachis is smooth and the bracts are stalkless and peltate. The fruit is more or less united partly or wholly imbedded in and concrescent with rachis. There are three short stigmas. The seeds are subglobose to obovoid-globose, 2 to 2.5 mm.[11]

Plant Part Used

Roots, leaves and fruits [1] [7] [8]

Chemical Constituents

1-undecylenyl-3,4-methyllenedioxy benzene;  alpha-amyrin;  beta-sitosterol; chavicine; cineol terpinan-4,1-betacaryophylene; fructose;  glucose;  guineesine; N-isobutyl-decatrans-2-trans-4-dienanmide; palmatic acid; pellitorine; piperidine; pipereicosalidine; piperine; piperlonguminirine; pipernonaline; piperoctadecalidine; piplartine; retrofractamide-D; sesamin; tetrahydropiperic acid; veneol,[1] [2] [3] [4] [7] [8] [9]

Traditional Used:

Gastrointestinal Diseases

The fruit of P. retrofractum is considered a carminative and is used to treat stomach distension or flatulence. The decoction of the ripe fruit is a remedy for diarrhoea. Powdered ripe fruit is inserted into tooth cavity to relieve toothache. Decoction of the root is also used to treat flatulence. The roots also treat dyspepsia, colic and gastralgia in this case it is either chewed on or brewed into tea to be consumed orally. A gargle made from the leaves is used to treat stomatitis.[1] [7] [8]

Other uses

The fruit is considered a tonic and is given to women after delivery to help in reviving while at the same time clean the uterus. In Indonesia, where it is native, the plant is used to treat neurasthenia, rheumatism and bronchitis.[1] [7] [8]

Pre-Clinical Data


Antimicrobial activity

Antiprotozoal activity

An amide isolated from the hezane extract of P. retrofractum showed activity against leishmanial parasite in vitro. Piplarine in the dose of 100 IM was able to inhibit leishmanial activity in vitro and this is further verified in vivo where at a dose of 30mg/kg there was significant inhibition of visceral leishmaniasis in hamster model.[5]

Antibacterial activity

Khan et al[6] evaluated the antimicrobial activity of various extracts of the fruits of different Piper species including P. retrofractum . They findings showed that the various extracts of the fruit of P. retrofractum showed activities against the following organisms: Staphylococcus albus, Salmonella typhi, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Escherichia coli and Bacillus megaterium including the fungus Aspergillus niger.


No documentation

Clinical Data

Clinical Trials

Androgenic activity

A single blind designed study was carried out to determine androgenic effects of P. retrofractum on adult hypogonadism patients in Indonesia. It was observed that the extract could increase blood testosterone level in 78% of cases, at 100mg/day there was no decrease in FSH and LH levels and did not affect the PSA and body weight. At this dose there was weak androgenic activity as evidenced in the increase in the frequency of coitus.[10]

Adverse Effects in Human:

No documentation

Used in Certain Conditions

Pregnancy / Breastfeeding

It has been advised that pregnant women should not take this drug as it may induce abortion.

Age Limitations

Neonates / Adolescents

No documentation


No documentation

Chronic Disease Conditions

No documentation


Interactions with drugs

No documentation

Interactions with Other Herbs / Herbal Constituents

No documentation



No documentation

Case Reports

No documentation


    1. Arief Hariana Tumbuhan Obat dan Khasiatnya Penebar Swadaya Jakarta pg. 71-73
    2. Jong Woong Ahn*, Chong Ock Lee, Eun Joo Kim, Ok Pyo Zee, Hyung Jin Kim Piperoctadecalindine, a New Piperidine Alkaloid from Piper retrofractum Fruits BKCSDE 1992 13(4):388-391 ( [Accessed on 24th November 2010]
    3. Jong-Woong Ahn; Mi-Ja Ahn; Ok-Pyo Zee; Eun-Joo Kim; Sueg-Geun Lee; Hyung Jin Kim; Kubo I. Piperidine alkaloids from Piper retrofractum fruits Phytochemistry 1992 Vol 31(10): 3609 - 3612
    4. Banerji A, Sarkar M, Datta R, Sengupta P, Abraham K. Amides from Piper brachystachyum and Piper retrofractum. Phytochemistry. 2002 Apr;59(8):897-901.
    5. Hardik S. Bodiwala, Gaganmeet Singh, Ranvir Singh, Chinmoy Sankar Dey, Shyam Sundar Sharma, Kamlesh Kumar NBhutani, Inder Pal Singh Antileishmanial amides and lignans from Piper cubeba and Piper retrofractum J. Nat. Med. 2007 61: 418 – 421
    6. Khan, Mohib Siddiqui, Mustafa Antimicrobial activity of Piper fruits NPR Vol.6(2) [March-April 2007]
    7. Syamsul Hidayat Seri Tumbuhan Obat Berpotensi Hias 2  P.T. Elex Media Komputindo, Jakarta 2009 pg. 94
    8. C.P. Khare Indian Medicinal Plants: An Illustrated Dictionary Springer-Verlag Berlin 2007 pg. 490
    9. Hardi Soenanto Obat Traditional untuk Pasangan Suamik Istri P.T.Elex Media Komputindo, Jakarta 2009 pg. 30
    10. Nukman Moeloek, *Silvia W Lestari, *Yurnadi, **Bambang Wahjoedi Clinical Study Of Piper Retrofractum Vahl. (Javanese Long Pepper) Extracts As An Androgenic Phytopharmaca in Male Hypogonadism ( [Accessed on 24th November 2010]
    11. [Accessed on 24th November 2010]

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