(Javanese pepper, Piper cubeba)
Plant family: Piperaceae (pepper family).
Origin: Indonesia. Most cubeb pepper is today harvested in Java and
other Indonesian islands, but also from some African countries (Sierra
Leone, Congo), cubeb pepper is exported.
Used plant part: Fruit. The stalked berries are a little bit larger
than pepper corns, having a furrowed surface. Most berries are hollow.
They are sold whole and should be crushed or ground before usage.
Pungent and bitter with a strong terpene aroma. The aroma is variously
described dry-woody, warm-camphoraceous and spicey-peppery.
Cubeb peppercorns Use:
In Europe, the bitter and hot cubebs have been a popular substitute
for black pepper in the 16th and 17th century, but have fallen much in
disfavour since then. Their fate resembles negro pepper, which is a
spice of similar flavour and today largely unavailable on the European
market. The main reason for both spices' sudden disappearance is
probably their pronounced bitterness, which made them inferior to
black pepper as soon as the latter got imported at reasonable price.
Today, cubebs are mostly used in some North African states, most
notably in Tunisia and Morocco.
|Country of Origin: Indonesia
Extraction Method: Steam distilled
|Characteristics and Constituents of Piper Longum :
The fruits contain 1% volatile oil, resin, alkaloids piperine and
piperlonguminine, a waxy alkaloid N-isobutyldeca-trans-2-trans-4-dienamide and
a terpenoid substance. Roots contain piperine, piperiongumine or piplartine.
Dihydrostigmasterol has been isolated.
Actions and Uses :
Antiallergic activity of the fruit has been studied. It effectively reduced
passive cutaneous anaphylaxis in rats and protected guinea pigs against
antigen-induced bronchospasm; a 30% protection of mast cells was observed in
an in-vitro study. Both alcoholic extract and piplartine extracted from the
stems showed significant inhibition of ciliary movements of oesophagus of
frog. Neogi et al studied the pharmacology of piperine. Piperine decreased the
rate and amplitude of respiration and showed nonspecific blockade of
acetylcholine, histamine and 5-hydroxytryptamine induced spasm on isolated
guinea pig and rabbit intestine. The oil of fruit has been found to possess
significant paralytic action on the nerve-muscle pre- paration of A.
lumbricoides. The hepatoprotective effect has been shown in carbon
tetrachloride-induced liver damage in rats. A common use of the fruit is in
the prevention of recurrent attacks of bronchial asthma. Another important
indication is in chronic malaria. In a study of 240 children with a long term
use of fruit 58.3% had decreased severity of attacks. In another study 20
children were studied for one year with the same treatment. Eleven had no
recurrence. All patients had strongly positive skin test which became negative
in 6 and decreased significantly in 12 after five weeks of treatment. Along
with Piper nigrum and C. officinale it has been useful in viral hepatitis.
Piper longum is in widespread use for many centuries.