10 Health Benefits Of Pippali Or Long Pepper: Turn Up the Heat!

Health benefits of pippali or long pepper include easing asthma and GERD

[pullquote]Pippali or long pepper is more oily and slightly sweeter than traditional black pepper, making it less heating on the body.1[/pullquote]

A piquant herbal remedy that promises to ease a variety of health problems from a cold to a flagging libido – that’s pippali or Piper longum for you! Whether you are having it brewed into a healing decoction, as a strengthening or restorative powder or churna, or even in a simple soup, this spicy ayurvedic remedy is both easy to use and effective. Here are some of the problems it can help you fight.


1. Treats Respiratory Problems

Pippali is most renowned for its effectiveness against conditions affecting your respiratory tract, like colds, coughs, bronchitis, and asthma. It serves as a counter-irritant and eases inflammation. It is even used in treating bronchial asthma in children.2 Pippali not only helps fight infections by virtue of its antibacterial properties but also works locally to help thin phlegm and ease congestion.3

[pullquote]Long pepper is also used to treat chronic fevers due to its antipyretic properties.4 You could have a soothing cup of ginger tea made with a quarter teaspoon of pippali churna or powder. Add tulsi and honey to amp the power of the tea. Drink this twice or thrice a day to soothe your cough, flu, or fever.[/pullquote]


One study of patients with respiratory illnesses found that taking pippali for 45 days helped improve their overall condition and eased clinical symptoms of their illness.5 Pippali is also said to help improve lung strength, detoxify the lungs, and improve their health in general.6

Pippali can also help those suffering from asthma, helping reduce not only the intensity of an attack but even the frequency of occurrence. In one study, researchers tested a remedy combining pippali powder with milk on children with asthma. They found that the severity as well as the frequency of the attacks reduced in as many as 85% of the patients.7


2. Boosts Digestion

If you have digestive problems like flatulence and heartburn or are experiencing a dulled appetite, pippali can help. It stimulates your digestive system and boosts your appetite due to its carminative properties. It can also fight and protect against ulcers thanks to its anti-inflammatory properties.8

[pullquote]The antiamoebic and antibacterial properties of long pepper, along with its ability to stoke your digestive system, can help overcome diarrhea or other gastrointestinal infections. It can also kill worms and other parasites in your digestive system.9[/pullquote]


Ayurveda finds it beneficial for “amlapitta,” something you’d know better as GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disorder) or simply heartburn. In one study, those taking pippali churna saw similar improvements in their symptoms. Pippali’s impact was comparable to that of a conventional drug used for the problem.10 If flatulence or a gassy feeling is proving a problem, taking pippali helps expel the built-up gas from your intestines.11 Diarrhea, constipation, and nausea can all be eased with the help of pippali.12

3. Detoxifies Your Liver

The active component of long pepper, piperine, can counter hepatotoxicity or chemical-driven liver damage.13 Piperine has the potential to protect your liver, restricting fibrosis and improving regeneration. However, do note, if your problems involve cirrhosis or acute damage, it may not offer adequate protection.14


4. Helps Manage Diabetes

Animal studies have shown that the plant extract from pippali can help manage hyperglycemia or high blood glucose levels typical of diabetes. In one study, pippali extracts showed significant antidiabetic activity in diabetic rats – their fasting blood glucose levels had dropped significantly when tested after 30 days of treatment.15 Pippali helps boost insulin in the body while decreasing levels of glycosylated hemoglobin, a marker of diabetes.

[pullquote]Piperine may work as a bioenhancer and help improve the effectiveness of metformin, a medicine used to manage diabetes. Taking piperine along with a subtherapeutic (reduced) dose of metformin has been seen to have better effects than just taking a therapeutic dose of metformin.16[/pullquote]


Ayurveda looks at pippali as an alternative remedy not just for diabetes but also related problems from the oxidative stress your body experiences if you are diabetic. For instance, it helps maintain normal function of your liver, wards off heart problems, gastrointestinal issues, respiratory problems, and also has antimicrobial properties to keep your body healthy.17 It may protect against liver and kidney damage that are typical complications of diabetes.18 It also corrects cholesterol abnormalities that diabetics are prone to, making it a promising antidiabetic remedy.19

Just remember, pippali or its extracts are not a substitute for your diabetes medication. Do consult your doctor if you intend to use this natural remedy.


5. Fights Insomnia

Powdered pippali is given along with honey as a remedy for sleeping problems like insomnia, also known as “anidra” in ayurveda. You could also take it with milk at bedtime to help you sleep better.20 In one study, people with stress-induced insomnia were given a herbal formulation called pippalimulyadi vati at night. This combined pippali with other herbs like ashwagandha and jatamansi. At the end of the trial, the subjects reported better sleep and showed considerable improvement in overall well-being, alertness, and fitness, scoring on both subjective and clinical markers of sleep.21 Pippali’s sedative or tranquilizing effects are put to use not just in insomnia but also in epilepsy treatments.22

6. Cuts Fat And Helps Boost Metabolism

If you are trying hard to shed those extra pounds, pippali could help your cause. In one animal study, test animals with dyslipidemia or high cholesterol/fat levels in the body saw their fat and lipid levels come down after being given piperine for a few weeks, even though their appetite wasn’t dulled or altered.23 The antihyperlipidemic (lipid lowering) property of pippali has even been compared to that of a commercial antihyperlipidemic drug.24 In addition, it also revs up your metabolism, which might help those with sluggish metabolism and associated weight gain.25

7. Helps Defend Against Alzheimer’s Disease

[pullquote]Pippali may also be useful against epilepsy, another neurological disorder. Animal studies have shown promise with test subjects who were given extracts of the long pepper fruit showing anti-seizure activity.26[/pullquote]

Long pepper has strong antioxidant activity which helps counter the free radical damage that’s responsible for aging-related diseases like Alzheimer’s disease (AD). The chemical compounds in the pepper can control the production of a protein called amyloid precursor protein that is involved in AD and, in doing so, can be beneficial in warding off the illness.27

8. Fights Inflammatory Conditions Like Rheumatoid Arthritis

[pullquote]Pippali also has pain-relieving properties when used as a topical treatment. It can help with inflammation as well as muscular pain.28[/pullquote]

Rheumatoid arthritis (RA), an inflammatory disease that causes severe joint pain and can impair mobility and hamper quality of life, could be eased with the use of long pepper. Called “amavata” in ayurveda, RA can be treated by pippali due to its ability to purge the ama or toxins from the body and ignite metabolic and digestive fires. In one study, people who underwent treatment with pippali in increasing and tapering doses (vardhamana pippali) showed an improvement in symptoms, including easing of swelling and stiffness, improvement in movement of joints, as well as reduced pain.29 Animal studies also show that the extract displayed potential anti-arthritic activity and significantly suppressed swelling associated with RA.30

9. Improves Effectiveness Of Tuberculosis Treatment

[pullquote]One appetite-boosting, detoxifying remedy for tuberculosis combines one-eighth of a teaspoon of pippali churna with a quarter teaspoon each of anti-inflammatory turmeric and appetite-stimulant ginger in a quarter cup of warm water, with a spoon of honey to sweeten it. This drink can be had twice a day – once when you wake up and later in the afternoon or as suggested by your ayurvedic doctor.[/pullquote]

In spite of being a widely researched illness with drugs to treat it, tuberculosis presents a problem due to the development of drug-resistant strains of bacteria. The piperine in pippali can help enhance the effectiveness of anti-tuberculosis drug rifampicin by boosting its bactericidal activity. What’s more, it may even make Mycobacterium tuberculosis more vulnerable to the drug. Piperine is also immunomodulatory, helping your body’s defenses against the organism.31 In addition to its impact on the bacteria that cause tuberculosis, pippali also helps boost the typically dulled appetite of anyone undergoing treatment for the illness.

Just as important, it is also known to help rejuvenate your lungs.32 Its detoxifying effect and its ability to bring down a fever and relieve dosha imbalances in the body (excess kapha or vata in ayurvedic terminology) are also beneficial.33

10. Boosts Reproductive And Sexual Health

Pippali can also act as a rejuvenating tonic for your reproductive organs. It is said to help with problems like infertility and impotence as well as premature ejaculation.34 It can also be used in the treatment of gonorrhea.35 In women, the remedy is also used in the treatment of the pain associated with menstrual cramps.36

[pullquote]To improve sexual drive or libido, ayurvedic treatments combine pippali and ghee with ashwagandha for men and shatavari for women.[/pullquote]

It is also used in postnatal care to help the mother’s recovery. It can help purge any leftover blood or tissue from the uterus after the delivery. The powdered root and fruit are given mixed into warm jaggery water. The treatment is carried out for 2 to 3 days after the birth of the baby.37

As with any medication, herbal or otherwise, you need to ensure you get the dosage of pippali right by consulting a trained practitioner. Pippali may interact with certain medications, boosting the blood levels of these drugs by modulating their metabolism in the liver. Ask if your medication is likely to be affected. Certain beta blockers, medication for tuberculosis, and anti-asthmatic drugs could be affected. It is also best avoided by those with intestinal inflammation.38

While taking small amounts of long pepper should not pose a problem, if you take larger amounts (5 gm and up) for prolonged periods, it may cause issues like irritation or discomfort from the heat or skin irritation from topical use. Typical doses may vary from 1 to 5 gm a day and may need to be taken along with milk or honey or diluted in water to ease the impact of the heat and pungency on your body.39