Long Pepper
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Long Pepper
ative Photo: Thingnam Girija
Common name: Long Pepper, Indian long pepper • Hindi: पिपली Pipli • Marathi: पिंपळी Pimpli • Tamil: திப்பிலீ Tippili • Malayalam: തിപ്പലീ Tippali • Telugu: Pippallu • Kannada: ಹಿಪ್ಪಲಿ Hippali, ತಿಪ್ಪಲಿ Tippali • Konkani: पिपली Pipli • Urdu: Pipul پیپل • Gujarati: પીપરી Pipari • Sanskrit: पिप्पली Pippali, Magadhi
Botanical name: Piper longum    Family: Piperaceae (Pepper family)

Long Pepper is a climber, of South Asian origin (Deccan peninsula), cultivated for its fruit, which is usually dried and used as a spice and seasoning. Long pepper is a close relative of the black pepper plant, and has a similar, though generally hotter, taste. The word pepper itself is derived from the Sanskrit word for long pepper, pippali. It is a slender, aromatic, climber with perennial woody roots, creeping and jointed stems, and fleshy fruits embedded in the spikes. Leaves are numerous, 6.3 to 9.0 cm, broadly ovate or oblong-oval, dark green and shining above, pale and dull beneath. The older leaves are dentate, dark in color and heart shaped. The younger leaf is ovate in shape and contains 5 veins on them. Flowers are monoceous and male and female flowers are borne on different plants. Male flower stalk is about 1 to 3 inch long and female flower stalk is ½ to 1 inch long. Fruit is long. When it ripes it attains red color and when it dries it attains black color. It is one inch in diameter. The plant flowers in rains and fruits in early winters.
Medicinal 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).

Identification credit: Prashant More Photographed in Lodhi Garden, Delhi & Jijamata Udyan, Mumbai.

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