Pippali or Long pepper is a unique aromatic herb that has been with us for centuries owing to its extensive curative properties. The traditional herb goes by the botanical name Piper longum and comes from the Piperaceae family. The holistic science of ayurveda classifies this herb as a potent rejuvenative herb that has strong anti-ageing and aphrodisiac effects on the body and is widely used for treating diabetes, asthma, indigestion, cough and cold.

Clad by the vernacular names ‘Pipli’ in Hindi, ‘Tippili’ in Tamil, ‘Pippalu’ in Telugu, ‘Tippali’ in Malaylam, and ‘Pipul’ in Bengali, the long pepper is indigenous to several parts of India, Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore, and Srilanka. In India, it is mostly found at an altitude of 1800 metres, in the hotter parts of Khasi and Mikir hills, the central Himalayas to Assam, lower hilly regions of Bengal and the evergreen forests of the Western Ghats from Konkan to Kerala.


pippali in a bowl

Pippali is an exotic climbing perennial plant that usually bears long thin conical ridged fruits. Unlike any other herb, it is the dry fruits of the pippali plant that offers us therapeutic benefits.

Even ancient Sanskrit scriptures have mentioned long pepper in various vernacular names such as Kana, Magadhi, Vaidehi, Chapala, Krushna, Trishna, Shoundi, Kola, etc and extensively used it in various herbal formulations. The ancient Ayurveda scholar Bhava Prakash classifies Pippali in Haritakyadi, Trikatu and Panchakola category. According to Acharya Charaka, Pippali portrays strong Deepana (enhances stomach fire), Pachana (improves digestion), Sheeto Prashamana (treats cough and cold), Shoola Prashamana (treats colic and abdominal pain), Asthapanopaga (treats enema), Kasahara (treats cough and congestion), Hikkanigrahana (controls hiccups), Kantya (relieves sore throat), Triptighno (relieves pseudo-satiation), and Vamanopaga (treats emesis) properties.

Types Of Pippali

According to scriptures of Susruta and Vagbhata, there are two types:

Pippali or Long Pepper (i.e. Piper longum) and Gaja Pippali (i.e. Piper chaba)

According to ayurvedic scholar Raja Nighantu, there are 4 types:

Pippali (i.e. Piper longum), Gaja Pippali (i.e. Piper chaba), Vana Pippali (i.e. Piper sylvaticum) and Saimhali (i.e. Piper retrofractum)

Nutritional Content

The host of natural compounds in pippali includes glycosides, eugenols, alkaloids, terpenoids, resins, sugar, saturated fat, essential oil, volatile oil, and active constituents like piperine, piperlatine, piperlongumine, myrcene, triacontane, quercetin, and sylvatine. Sanctified with these uber essential nutrients and compounds, pippali offers extensive health benefits and is used to treat almost all health anomalies.

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Health Benefits Of Pippali

Manages Diabetes

The exceptional hypoglycaemic property of pippali plays a significant role in assuaging the blood sugar levels of the body. The production of insulin from the β-pancreatic cells becomes active on taking pippali churna. It helps to reduce the breakdown of starch into glucose which in turn leads to low blood glucose levels.

Shields Against Infections

The biochemical compounds present in this aromatic herb has been used since ancient times to shield the body against various infections. Thanks to its strong anti-viral, anti-bacterial, and antifungal properties, pippali is not only used for removing bacteria or germs from the body but also used for treating and healing wounds.

Aids In Weight Loss

Touted for its natural fat-burning properties, this aromatic spice effectively detoxifies the body by removing AMA toxins and reduces sudden hunger pangs and a craving for unhealthy foods. It improves digestion, reduces the accumulation of bad cholesterol in the body, thereby improving metabolism and helping the body to shed weight faster.

Relieves Menstrual Problems

In the days leading up to the menstrual cycle, the hormones get haywire and can often lead to PMS symptoms like mood swings, stomach cramps etc. Pippali has been used since time immemorial for managing the heavy menstrual flow and combating menstrual cramps. Ancient healers used to give, pippali powder to induce contractions during delivery and even afterward to improve healing.
Also Read: Ashokarishta: This Ayurvedic Tonic Helps With Hormonal Balance

Remedies Respiratory Disorders

Pippali is an ultimate remedy for all sorts of Kapha aggravating disorders like asthma, bronchitis, COPD, cough and cold symptoms. It provides relief from cough and congestion and also helps in removing phlegm deposits from the respiratory tract.

Mix 1 tsp of pippali powder, turmeric powder, dried ginger powder and 1 tsp of honey into a cup of lukewarm water. Take this herbal kadha to strengthen the lung tissues and improve lung health.

Promotes Digestion

Imbued with excellent carminative and digestive properties, Pippali even helps in treating a host of digestive woes. The potent anti-flatulent property reduces the formation of gas in the alimentary canal, thus reducing flatulence, bloating, constipation, and abdominal distension. Thanks to its powerful antacid property, the herb prevents the formation of excessive acids in the stomach thereby treating indigestion, ulcer, gastritis and promoting better absorption of nutrients in the body.

Remedies Diarrhea

Imbued with potent anti-bacterial and anti-diarrhoeal properties, pippali  is extensively used for removing bacteria from the intestines that causes diarrhea and other intestinal infections. It holds a high significance in treating a type of diarrhea known as AMA ATISARA i.e., acute diarrhea where the bowel is slimy, sticky, full of mucus and has a foul odour. The dried fruit powder not only removes the toxins from the body but also effectively reduces the frequency of stools.

Enhances Libido

Boasted for being a natural aphrodisiac, Pippali helps in reducing mental stress and anxiety and stimulates the hormones for increasing libido in both men and women. It also increases virility and stamina in men. Proper consumption on doctor’s recommendation promotes longevity and can also be used as an incredible remedy for erectile dysfunction.

Effect On Doshas

Pippali showcases Katu (i.e. pungent) Rasa. It is blessed with Laghu (light) and Tikshna (i.e. piercing) gunas. It has Ushna Virya (hot potency) and Madhura Vipaka (sweet metabolic property). The bioactive ingredients in this aromatic herb aggravate the Pitta (fire and air) doshas and balance the Vata (air) doshas and Kapha (earth and water) doshas.
Also Read: Introduction To Ayurveda: Learn About Vata, Pitta And Kapha Doshas

Dosage:

0.5-1 gram of powdered churna infused in water or milk twice a day after meals or as recommended by the doctor.

Side Effects:

Without performing the Panchakarma or Rasayana procedure, it is not advisable to consume Pippali for a long time period. If taken in excess, it can aggravate the Kapha and Pitta doshas and cause indigestion, stomach pain, allergic conditions like itching, redness, and swelling.

It is also advisable to consult an ayurvedic doctor before taking this herb during pregnancy or lactation period.

Conclusion

Pippali is one such humble spice that is laden with umpteen health benefits. Thanks to the goodness of the essential bio-active ingredients it is widely used for managing diabetes, treating respiratory diseases, promoting weight loss, preventing infections, and many more.