Long pepper - The anti-cancer, anti-ageing rejuvenating herb
Long pepper has a very ancient history in the world of herbs and spices. Romans and Greeks were the early recipients of the spice through sea trade from India. And the spice did enjoy similar trade importance for a considerably long period until it was taken over by black pepper. Interestingly, the medicinal properties of the spice are not only adjudged by the Indian medical books of Ayurveda but also by the famous Greek physician Hippocrates, the father of modern medicine, who cites long pepper not as a spice, but as a medicinal herb.
Although long pepper is not used as widely as black pepper in cooking, it retains its unique place as a herb in the preparation of Ayurvedic medicines. Long pepper is mainly valuable in treating both respiratory and digestive disorders. It is also a rejuvenating anti-aging herb that produces distinct effects when it is fresh and when it is dry. But mostly long pepper is dried and used for making medicines.
Long pepper is also an essential ingredient in the three herb mixture, ‘Trikatu,' which is effective in treating digestive disorders, obesity and upper respiratory conditions like allergic rhinitis. Long pepper increases lung strength and finds use in Ayurvedic treatment methods like Vamana and Nasya to expel imbalanced doshas from the body.
In clinical studies Pipperlongumine, the chemical compound present in Long pepper has shown activity against tumors and cancers. Dry Pipalli (Long pepper) also balances Vata and Kapha disorders and is very useful in treating skin diseases and piles. But since it tends to increase Pitta, it is used only for the period of treatment notably along with other herbs and not for regular consumption like other spices.