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How Do Herbs Help

Piper longum (Pippali/Pipli, Pipplamula)

Biological Name:
Piper longum

Family:
Piperaceae

Other Names:
Dried Catkins, Long Pepper, Pimpli, Pipal, Piplimool, Pipara, Pihal, Tippli, Pippali, Mothi, Pippli-moolam.

Habitat:
The plant grows as a bush in Sri Lanka and India. It is specially raised across the globe. It occurs in hotter parts of India, from central Himalayas to Assam, Khasi & Mikir hills, lower hills of west Bengal, evergreen forests of Western Ghats from Konkan to Kerala and Car Nicobar Islands.

Additional Info:
It is an appetizer, rejuvenator, snigdha (slimy), laghu (light), Katu (pungent), tikhshna (sharp), madhura (sweet), vipaka, sheetaveerya (cold), subdues deranged function of vata and sleshma, purgative, anti-asthamatic, expectorant, stomachic, antipyretic, helpful in skin diseases, polyuria, abdominal lump, piles, spleenamegaly, colic, and rheumatoid arthritis.

It is Amana-saka (destroys toxins), Bhedanı-ya (purgative), Chedana (scratches toxins from the tissues), Dıpana (stimulates digestion), Hikka nigrahan (alleviates hiccups), Jvarahara (mitigates fevers), Krmighna (vermifuge), Kusthaghna (alleviates skin diseases), Medhya (benefits the nervous system), Medohara (reduces fat tissue), Pacana (digestive) ,Rasayana (benefits all seven tissues), Sirovirecana (cleanses the orifices of the head), Svasahara (prevents asthma).

Elements Applied:
Fruit is commonly applied in herbal medicine. Root is less commonly used.

Active Components:
Piper longum contains resin, volatile oil (β-bisabolene, β-carophyllene), starch, gum, fatty oil (Fixed oil Esters-Williamson 2002), Lignans (Sesamin, fargesin) and a large number of alkaloids and related compounds, the most abundant of which are Piperine, piperlongumine, piplartine. Piperine has been shown to enhance the bioavailability of structurally and therapeutically diverse drugs, possibly by modulating membrane dynamics (increasing permeability).

Piper longum as one of the major ingredients was tested in combination with other drugs. The study reported that increased their bio availability either by promoting rapid absorption from the gastrointestinal tract or by protecting the drug from Icing metabolized during its first pass through the liver after being absorbed or by combination of both mechanisms.

Used For:
It promotes expectoration thus used for coughs, colds, bronchitis, asthma, wet and ‘mucousy’ conditions of the lungs. It is a rejuvenative for the lungs. It encourages vasodilation and therefore increases circulation, specifically to the lungs. Used with honey in asthma, bronchitis, laryngitis, pneumonia and compromised immunity in the respiratory system to reducekapha.

It is also used to treat mild fever by removing the ama from rasa dhatu and alleviating the concurrent aches in the muscles and joints (Frawley & Lad 1994)

The herb is known to stimulate agni and clears slow weak digestion. It is useful in nausea and painful abdomen. Its anthelmintic qualities are used as part of a formula to kill worms, amoebas and parasites. As a carminative it relieves flatulence.

It has a hepatoprotective effect on liver that may benefit fibrosis (Tillotson 2001).

Its ability to nourish majja dhatu, due to its sweet vipaka, helps in vata disorders and also to nourish the brain.

It is useful in joint pains, stiff joints, rheumatic pains, sciatica, gout, epilepsy, and paralysis. The herb is also believed to improve vitality. Long Pepper is also thought to increase one’s lifespan.

Preparation and Intake:
The commonly used forms of medicine are oil, powder, and infusion.

Safety:
2-4 ratti (.25–.05 gm) per day can be taken safely (Bhavaprakasha Nighantu). Exercise care. Herbs in Ayurvedic medicine are commonly mixed with other herbal medicines to reduce the toxic effect one of them may produce on the body.