Name: Piper longum
Fruit. Indigenous to north-eastern and southern India and Sri Lanka. Cultivated throughout India, especially in Bengal.
Constituents: Volatile oil, Alkaloids- piperine, piperlongumine, piplartine. 1
Traditional Ayurvedic Uses:
Pippali is certainly one of the most widely used of all Ayurvedic herbs. It is one of the best herbs for enhancing digestion, assimilation and metabolism of the foods we eat. It is also highly prized for its ability to enhance assimilation and potency of herbs in a synergistic formula (this is called the Yogavahi effect). You will find it in most of our formulas because of these and other benefits.
The Ayurvedic texts list Pippali as one of the most powerful Rasayana herbs, meaning it is a longevity enhancer. It also cleans the srotas that transport nutrients and remove wastes, so it is considered important for purification. It balances two of the three laws of nature at work in the mind and body (Vata and Kapha). It also soothes the nerves to improve the quality of sleep at night.
Pippali enhances all 13 of the metabolic processes (Agnis) that create the 7 categories of bodily tissues (Dhatus).
Along with Black Pepper and Ginger, Pippali is part of the famous digestive formula known as Trikatu (Three Spices).
LUNGS: Primarily used for cold, wet and mucous conditions of the lungs. It is a rejuvenative for the lungs and kapha generally. It encourages vasodilatation and therefore increase circulation- specifically to the lungs. Used in asthma, bronchitis, pneumonia and generally compromised conditions of the lungs.2
GIT: Used to stimulate agni and clear weak digestion and symptoms
of nausea, slow digestion, flatulence, cold and painful abdomen. In
malabsorption it can increase assimilation of nutrients. Tillotson
mentions a study (Koul and Kapil 1993) that demonstrates that piperine
increases the absorption of Turmeric root. Used as part of a formula to
kill worms and parasites. Helps Diarrhea from cold symptoms. Also
considered to have a hepato-protective effect.3
REPRODUCTION: Its sweet post-digestive effect points to its ability to tonify the reproductive tissue- useful in infertility, impotence, premature ejaculation.4
Contraindications: In excess pitta and other inflammations of the intestines.
Combinations are Best
The experts at Ayurveda do not recommend the use of single herbs for self-care due to several important reasons: