The basics of long pepper: Long pepper, also known as the Indian long pepper, is a herb that prominently features in Ayurvedic medicine, also popularly used as a spice and in seasoning mixes. The botanical name for this herb is Piper longum, and it is known to contain a chemical known as piperine, which helps fight parasites and other infectious agents.
In India, long pepper is being used by women to regulate menstrual flow, help the uterus return to the normal size following childbirth and to treat other problems of sexual origin including infertility, cramps and loss of libido.
The many health benefits of long pepper: Long pepper forms an important part of our ancient Indian medicine-Ayurveda, and is thought to hold good therapeutic properties. Research has specified the use of this herb for 3 major health conditions described below-
Diabetes: Diabetes is the leading cause of concern for individuals around the world. Thankfully, long pepper has been found to reduce blood glucose levels in diabetic patients and prevent other complications associated with the disorder.
Liver ailments: Due to our dependency on processed foods, our internal organs, including the liver, tend to become weak, and more and more people are now suffering from liver ailments. Long pepper, known to possess liver-protective functions, may help the body manage liver toxicity, and may also prevent jaundice.
Bacterial infections: In a developing country like India, where lack of sanitation and cleanliness forms an important reason for many bacterial infections, long pepper could be beneficial as a simple home remedy. It is thought that the root and the fruit may possess anti-amoebic activity.
Some researches also suggest that long pepper may help improve the flow of oxygen into the body, prevent major lung disorders, support skeletal function and improve bone strength, improve skin health and slow down ageing.
Apart from these specific health benefits, long pepper is also believed to help patients suffering from the following health problems-
• Stomach ache
• Menstrual problems
Possible side effects and interactions of long pepper: While long pepper is a natural herb, and doesn't carry potential health risks as observed in other medications and drugs, overuse of this herb may be harmful to health.
It is also believed that pregnant and lactating women should be cautious before using this herb as its effects are not well-known.
Also, long pepper, just like other peppers, is known to have chemicals that may irritate the skin. People having sensitive skin should avoid handling it topically.
Ideal dosing of long pepper: The appropriate dosing of this herb is best explained by a naturopath or a herbalist. The dosage takes into consideration several factors including the age, sex and health of the individual.