Piper Longum. Long Pepper.
Long pepper is the dried, unripe fructification of Piper officinarum, C. DC. (N.O. Piperaceae), or of P. longum, Linn., the former indigenous to the Malay Archipelago, the latter to Bengal and the Philippine Islands. Commercial long pepper is obtained from Java viâ Singapore, and is the fruit of P. officinarum. It consists of a dense spike about 35 millimetres long and 5 millimetres thick, composed of large numbers of minute fruits, which, together with the bracts that support them, are embedded in the elongated axis, the whole being covered with greyish dust. A transverse section shows about eight or ten radially divergent fruits, each containing a single seed with a reddish-brown testa, and copious, white, starchy perisperm. Taste and odour, like those of black pepper, but not so strong. The fruit of P. longum is similar to that of P. officinarum, but it is only about two-thirds as long.
Constituents.—The chief constituents of long pepper are about 1 per cent. of volatile oil, and 6 per cent. of piperine; other constituents are a pungent resin (chavicin) and starch.
Action and Uses.—Long pepper is employed as a stimulant and carminative, its properties residing principally in the volatile oil and resin. For medicinal preparations black pepper is usually preferred.
Dose.—3 to 6 decigrams (5 to 10 grains).