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Piper longum

Botanical Name: Piper longum
Family: Piperaceae
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Piperales
Genus: Piper
Species: P. longum

Common Names: Indian long pepper or Pipli.
Ayurvedic name: Pippali, Pipplamul
Unani name: Filfil Daraz
Hindi name: Pippal
English name: Long Pepper
Trade name: Piplamul

Habitat: Long pepper is a native of the Indo-Malaya region ( Java, Indonesia).It is found growing wild in the tropical rainforests of India.Indian long pepper is mostly derived from the wild plants, but is also grown in small area in the Khasi hills, the lower hills of West Bengal, Eastern Uttar Pradesh,Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Kerala, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu. It occurs wild in the forests of Andhra Pradesh and Andaman & Nicobar Islands as well.

The plant requires hot, humid climate and an elevation between 100 to 1000 MSL. Higher elevations are not conducive to high yields. It needs partial shade for its ideal growth.Partial shade of about 20-25 % intensity is found to be optimum.
The crop thrives well in a variety of soils. It is cultivated successfully in laterite soils with high organic matter content, water holding capacity and well drained fertile black cotton soil. However, light, porous and welldrained soil rich in organic content is most suitable for its cultivation.

Description:
Piper longum plant is a climber. It’s fruit is a slender, much branched, ascending herb and needs support for its proper growth.
The leaves are 5-9 cm long and 5 cm wide; lower leaves are broadly ovate, deeply cordate with big lobes at the base, sub acute, entire and glabrous; upper leaves are dark green and cordate with short petiole or nearly sessile. The young shoots are drooping type.

Flowers are unisexual arranged in erect spikes. Female spikes are 1.25-2.00 cm long arising singly from leaf axil are cylindrical, short and stout.
It gives rise to multiple fruit, which is shining dark green when immature and blackish-green when fully mature. Male spikes are longer, slender and are 2.5-7.5 cm long. The male spikes are dehiscent and non-productive.

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Cultivation & propagation:
The plant requires hot, humid climate and an elevation between 100 to 1000 MSL. Higher elevations are not conducive to high yields. It needs partial shade for its ideal growth.Partial shade of about 20-25 % intensity is found to be optimum. The crop thrives well in a variety of soils. It is cultivated successfully in laterite soils with high organic matter content, water holding capacity and well drained fertile black cotton soil. However, light, porous and welldrained soil rich in organic content is most suitable for its cultivation.

Long pepper is propagated through stem/vine cuttings at the beginning of rainy season. However, it can be easily propagated through the terminal stem cuttings obtained from one year old growth and 3-5 internodes. Vine cuttings can be rooted in polythene bags, filled with the common pot mixture. The nursery can be raised during March and April. The cuttings planted in March-April will be ready for planting in the main field by the end of May.

Edible Uses:
Though often used in medieval times in spice-mixes like “strong powder”, long pepper is today a very rare ingredient in European cuisines, but it can still be found in Indian, and Nepalese vegetable pickles, some North African spice mixtures, and in Indonesian and Malaysian cooking. It is readily available at Indian grocery stores, where it is usually labeled pippali. Pippali is the main spice of Nihari, one of the national dishes of Pakistan and Indian metropolis of Lucknow.

Medicinal Uses:
Long pepper is an important and common ingredient in many medicines of Ayurveda.

  • Plant root is used in Ayurveda as a carminative, tonic to the liver, stomachic, emmenagogue, abortifacient and aphrodisiac.
  • Fruits contain haematinic, diuretic, digestive and general tonic properties, besides being useful in inflammation of the lever, pains in the joints, snakebite, scorpion sting and night blindness.

*The plant is also used in dyspepsia, abdominal pain and diuretic splenopathy, anorexia, asthma, fever and act as anti-haemorrhoidal and appetiser.

Disclaimer : The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplement, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.

Resources:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Long_pepper
https://vikaspedia.in/agriculture/crop-production/package-of-practices/medicinal-and-aromatic-plants/piper-longum

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