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Pippali: Ayurvedic Secrets and Therapeutic Wonders


Dravya (Herbs) hold a great importance in the ancient medicine system because it is one of the important pillars of ayurveda. In the management of diseases the most important thing we need is medicine. Before prescribing this medicine we should be familiar with the herbs, health benefits or its effect on our body. So today we will study one of the most effective herbs named Pippali, its pharmacological actions and its effects on various body systems and management of diseases.

Pippali: Ayurvedic Secrets and Therapeutic Wonders


Classical Reference - Bhavprakash Nighantu Page no - 15

Classical Reference - Bhavprakash Nighantu, Page no. - 15

Pippali, also known as Long pepper and it is known as one of the best Yogvahi (Bioenhancer) herbs mentioned in ayurveda. It means if we use this herb with some other herb then it increases its effect or in other words it reaches to the microchannels, does rapid absorption and gives its maximum effect or benefit. Apart from its Yogvahi property, Pippali has numerous health benefits. So Let's have a Look!

Classical Synonyms

  • Magadhi - Available in Magadh Pradesh (covers area of bangladesh and Nepal)
  • Krishna - Due to its Krishna or black colour
  • Vaidehi - Grown in Vaidehi Pradesh
  • Shaundi – Because used with condiments in drinking liquors
  • Chapala – That consoles
  • Kana – Due to the size of the Fruit
  • Kola – Because the fruit weighs 1 kola
  • Katuvalli – As it is having pungent taste
  • Vishwa – Due to its wide use
  • Shyamvaha – After drying it has black fruit
  • Katubija – Pungent taste fruit
  • Teekshna – Hot in potency
  • KrishnaPhala – Black coloured fruits
  • Vrishya – Used as aphrodisiac

Vernacular Names

  • English - Indian long pepper
  • Hindi - Pipal, Pipli
  • Gujarati - Lindipipali
  • Marathi - Pimpli
  • Punjabi - Maghs, pipal, Pipal
  • Tamil - Tippili, Sirumulam, Pippallu, Pippili, Kundan
  • Telagu - Pipili, Pippali katte Pippallu
  • Kannada - Tipili, Hipli, yippali
  • Bengali - Pipul, Pipli
  • Urdu - Pipul

Historical Review

In our ancient classical texts more than 300 herbs were explained and Pipplai is one of those herbs. As per ancient classical reference it is mentioned that pippali originated from samundra manthan. Another reference in Jaimini Brahmana 3/149 was found that when Vashishtmuni's son was dead then he became very depressed and always wished to have more progeny. So then he consumed Pippali fruit and here the name Pippali came. The use of Pippali is wider in Purana period then Vedic period. For example Agni punarana mentioned Trikatu in various places for the management of Rajyakshma, Medoroga, Gulma, Tarunya pidika etc. In atharvaveda, Pippalii is considered as rasayan and vata roga bheshaj or aushadhi. In Charak samhita's Vimana sthana, it is explained that pippali is one of the best yogvahi herbs because it increases the efficacy of formulation if used as an ingredient or Adjuvant by reaching to the microchannels. In sushruta samhita's sutra sthana 26 chapter, It is clear that Katu rasa (Pungent taste) dravya are avrishya (Non aphrodisiac) in nature but Pippali is an exception.

Description Of Plant

Pippali is an aromatic climbing perennial plant which has long thin conical ridge fruits with embedded spikes. Leaves are ovate or heart shaped having dark green colour from above and pale green from below. Flowers usually come in the rainy season and the fruits grow in early winters having orange yellowish colour and drupes 1 inch in diameter.


Pippali is usually found in hotter parts of India like Assam, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, western ghats of kerala or Konkan etc. It is also found in Malaysia, Sri Lanka, Singapore and south eastern regions.

Cultivation And Propagation

Pippali is cultivated in limestone soil on a very large scale from end of march to mid September in a high humid climate. Cow dung is the best manure to be used and the vines bear 3-4 years after plantation. Spikes of pippali are harvested in January when green and unripe, to be used after drying in sunlight.

Scientific Classification

  • Kingdom - Plantae
  • Phylum - Spermatophyta
  • Class - Magnoliopsida
  • Order - Piperales
  • Family - Piperaceae
  • Genus – Piper
  • Species – Longum

Pharmacological Properties

  • Rasa (Taste) - Katu (Pungent)
  • Guna (Physical property) - Laghu (Light), Snigdha (Smooth), Teekshana (Sharp)
  • Veerya (Potency) - Ushna (Hot potency)
  • Vipaka (Post digestion effect) - Madhur (Sweet)
  • Effect on tridosha - Pacifies Vata and kapha Dosha

Classical Categorization

As Per Acharya Charak

  • Kashar (Alleviates cough)
  • Hikkanigrehana (Prevent unwanted hiccups)
  • Shiro Virechana (Which clears the head sinuses and expels out increased cough)
  • Vaman (Induces Emesis)
  • Triptighana (Reduces excessive thirst)
  • Deepniye (Carminative)
  • Shoolaprashaman (Allevites pain)

As Per Acharya Sushruta

  • Shiro Virechana (Which clears the head sinuses and expels out increased cough)
  • Pippalyadi
  • Urdhvabhaghar (Best for Upper respiratory tract disorders)

Types Of Pippali

Mainly 4 forms are available

  1. Pippali - Found in India
  2. Gajpippali - Available in Bengal, Assam by the name of "Chayi"
  3. Saihali - Mainly seen in Srilanka, Singapore etc nalso known as "Jahaji pippali"
  4. Vanpippali - Grows in Forest by their own and has small size, thin and less Pungent.

Pippali In Two Forms

  1. Ardra Pippali
  2. Shushka Pippali

In clinical practice mostly Shushka pippali is used as ardra pippali is Kapha prada (Increases Kapha) because of its Snigdha (Smooth), Sheetla (Cold), Madhur (Sweet) and Guru (Heavy) properties.

Chemical Constituents

1. Piperine

Chemical Name

  1. Piperoyl piperidine
    • b. (E, E) 1-[5-(1, 3-Benzodioxol-5-yl)-1-oxo-2, 4- pentadienyl] piperidine
    • Molecular weight - 285.33
  2. Methyl piperine
  3. Iperonaline
  4. Piperettine
  5. Asarinine
  6. Pellitorine
  7. Piperundecalidine
  8. Piperlongumine
  9. Piperlonguminine
  10. Refractomide A
  11. Pregumidiene
  12. Brachystamide
  13. Brachystamide-A, brachystine
  14. Pipercide
  15. Piperderidine
  16. Longamide
  17. Tetrahydropiperine

Properties Of Pippali

  • Deepani - (Appetizing)
  • Vrishya - (Aphrodisiac)
  • Swadupaki - (Sweet effect after digestion)
  • Rasayani - (Rejuvenator)
  • Atyaushna - (Hot in potency)
  • Katuka - (Pungent)
  • Snigdha - (Smooth)
  • Kapha Vata Hara - (Kapha vata pacifier)
  • Laghu - (Light)
  • Pitala - (Increases Pitta)
  • Rechana - (Expels out motion from intestines despite of known its state i.e. digested or undigested)
  • Shwasa Kasa Udar roga Jwarana - (Alleviates cough, Cold, Abdominal disorders and Fever)
  • Kushtha prameha gulma arsha pleehashoola marutana - (Alleviates skin issues, Diabetes, Abdominal tumours, Piles, Splenic pain and excessive vata)

Clinical Use Of Pippali Churna In Different Disorders

  • Pippali churna is given with Guda (Jaggery) - Pandu (Anaemia), Ajeerna (Indigestion), Aruchi (Anorexia).
  • Pippali churna with Milk - Pandu (Anaemia)
  • Pippali Churna with Nagakesar, Yashtimadhu, Guda, Ghrit - Pandu (Anaemia)
  • Pippali churna with Guda and Milk - Kasa
  • Pippali churna with madhu - Kasa (Cough), Jwara (fever), Pleeha roga (Spleen disorder)

Therapeutic Properties Of Pippali

  • Anticancer
  • Bronchodilation
  • Hepatoprotective
  • Hypocholesterolemic
  • Anti-inflammatory
  • Antiamoebic
  • Coronary Vasodilation
  • Antibacterial
  • Anti-obesity
  • Immunomodulatory
  • Insecticidal and Acaricidal Anti- arthritic Activity
  • Fungicidal
  • Anti-diabetic

Actions Of Pippali On Different Systems

Localised - Powdered form of pippali is used as Nasal Spray. It clears all the obstructed kapha accumulated in sinuses due to its Pungent or sharp property.

Internal Use

  • Central nervous system - Pippali is Medhya (Nervine tonic) and vatahar (Alleviates vata), So due to these effects it acts wonderfully in improving brain functioning, increases the production of neurotransmitters and enhances memory.
  • Digestive system - Due to its bitter taste it is carminative and Vatanulomaka (passes out vata without any issue), Shoolaprashaman (Reduces pain), Mriduvirechak (Mild purgative) due to its smooth and hot properties.
  • Circulatory system - Due to its pungent taste and sweet post digestion effect it purifies blood and improves Hb.
  • Respiratory system - Pippali is considered as one of the best herbs for respiratory tract infections due to its kapha vata shamak properties.
  • Urinary tract system - It is diuretic due to its sweet post digestion effect and is effectively used in Urinary disorders.
  • Reproductive system - Its roots are Garbhashyasankochaka (Improves uterine muscles tonicity) and its fruit is aphrodisiac thus useful in Dysmenorrhea, Oligospermia.

Special Note

Pippali should always be used as an adjuvant or in less quantity as mentioned in charak samhita Vimana Sthana 1/16.

"पिप्पल्यो हि कटुकाः सत्यो मधुरविपाका गुर्व्योनात्यर्थं स्निग्धोष्णाः प्रक्लेदिन्यो
भेषजाभिमताश्चताः सद्यः; शुभाशुभकारिण्यो भवन्ति; आपातभद्राः, प्रयोगसमसाद्गुण्यात्;
दोषसञ्चयानुबन्धाः;- सततमुपयुज्यमाना हि गुरुप्रक्लेदित्वाच्छ्लेष्माणमुत्क्लेशयन्ति,
औष्ण्यात् पित्तं, न च वातप्रशमनायोपकल्पन्तेऽल्पस्नेहोष्णभावात्; योगवाहिन्यस्तु खलु
भवन्ति;तस्मात् पिप्पलीर्नात्युपयुञ्जीत|"

As per above shloka it is mentioned that Pippalis is having pungent taste, sweet post digestion effect, Not too heavy, hot and smooth in nature and is considered to be one of the most effective herbs with immediate results whether good or bad.

If used in excess, it increases kapha and pitta dosha because of its smoothness and hot nature, also unable to pacify vata, thus increasing all the three doshas. So one should always use pippali in moderation.

Home Remedies Of Pippali

1. In Cough

10 gms of each Basil leaves, Dried ginger, Long pepper, 4-6 Elaichi powder.

Mix and take them with equal amounts of honey twice daily to get rid of Cough with expectoration and Dried cough.

2. In fever

Decoction of Pippali mool two times a day acts wonderfully in managing fever, infection and excreting toxins.

3. In Headache

Nasya (Nasal Spray) of Lukewarm Pippali powder.

4. Insomnia

1 gms of Pippali churna with 1 glass of Cow's milk.

5. In Dyspnoea

2gm of Pippali powder mixed with honey.

6. In Splenomegaly

1 gm of Pippali fruit and 5 gms of Pippali Mool powder to be taken after boiling in 200 ml of water.

7. In Palpitations

Take 25 gm each Pipplai mool and elaichi powder and should be consumed with 1 tsp of cow's ghee.

Modern Overview

Pippali in Cancer!

Pippali has two active alkaloids that mainly possess anticancer activity i.e Piperine and piperidine. These both alkaloids inhibit the signalling pathways and do apoptosis. Piperine also reduces the size of tumour by decreasing the free radical production. It also has great effect in inhibiting unwanted cell growth by its direct or indirect effect on Hedgehog pathway (Signalling pathway for cell differentiation), Wnt/β-catenin pathway (Regulation pathway for cells functioning) and Notch pathways (Signalling pathway in malignant cell transformation).

Pippali in Efficient Absorption of Nutrients !

Pippali is known as srotovahi in ayurveda that means this herb reaches our microchannels and clears out all the obstruction. So our body becomes more potent to absorb all kinds of nutrients from the diet we take. Along with its srotovahi property it is pungent or sharp in nature thus also helps in reaching the minute body channels.

Part Used

  • Fruit
  • Roots


½ - 1 gm

Special Classical Formulations

  • Vardhman Pippali rasayan
  • Guda Pippali
  • Pippalikhand
  • Pippalyasavam


At last it has been concluded that Pippali is a Rasaynic herb which should always be taken in moderation to keep yourself away from its side effects. Its active alkaloid piperine has numerous health benefits but nowadays it has been amazingly used for managing various types of cancer and also prevents the adverse effects occurring during chemotherapy or radiation therapy. Ayurveda has Amrit (nectar) in its science but the only thing we have to do is to research more and more. So Adapt ayurveda and make your life healthy.

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Author Bio:

Best Ayurvedic Doctor - Dr. Meenakshi Chauhan

Dr. Meenakshi Chauhan


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Reviewed By:

Best Ayurvedic Doctor in Mohali - Dr. Vikram Chauhan

Dr. Vikram Chauhan


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