Botanical name: 

Related entries: Piper nigrum - Piper angustifolium- Piper methysticum

The unripe, full-grown fruits of Piper Cubeba, Linné, fil. (Nat. Ord. Piperaceae.) Java, Borneo, Sumatra, Prince of Wales Island, and other isles of the Indian Ocean. Dose, 5 to 30 grains.
Common Names: Cubeb, Cubebs.

Principal Constituents.—A volatile oil (Oleum Cubebae), cubebin (inactive), cubebic acid, and cubeb resin, the latter two forming a soft resin with diuretic properties. The irritant, stimulant, and carminative properties are possessed by the volatile oil.
Preparations.—1. Specific Medicine Cubeba. Dose, 1 to 30 drops.
2. Oleoresina Cubebaq, Oleoresin of Cubeb. Dose, I to 15 grains.
3. Oleum Cubebae, Oil of Cubeb. Dose, 1 to 15 minims.

Specific Indications.—Gonorrhea after discharges have almost ceased; enfeebled conditions of the large intestine and rectum; subacute inflammation of the urinary passages; urethral burning and scalding of urine in women; debility with profuse mucous discharges.

Action and Therapy.—Cubeba is mildly stimulant, expectorant, stomachic and carminative. It arrests excessive mucous discharges, particularly those of the urethra. Large doses quicken the pulse and increase its volume, and sometimes elevate the temperature; occasionally it causes nausea, vomiting, burning pain, griping and purging. Not uncommonly it produces a rash-like cutaneous eruption. It is eliminated by the urine and by the bronchial membranes, increasing normal and restraining abnormal secretions. It imparts its peculiar aromatic odor to the urine and to the breath.

Cubeb is employed to restrain mucous discharges after the subsidence of active inflammation, and usually after active discharge has nearly ceased. In late stages of intractable gonorrhea in which there persists a small amount of flow, and in gleet, 30 grains of the powdered berries may be administered to awaken activity—to produce a substitutive inflammation—after which the case appears to improve. The drug should be pushed until urination is painful, and then lessened from day to day until a cure is effected.

While contraindicated in acute inflammation, cubeba is often of service in so-called chronic inflammations, especially in cystitis, and in chronic inflammatory states of the urethra in women. It first aggravates and then cures. The greater the debility the more it is indicated, and urethral burning is the chief indication for it. The urethral scalding sensations frequently experienced by women upon urinating, especially at the menstrual period, is greatly relieved by it, as is irritation and burning of the vulva. In these cases there is usually constant urging to pass urine, the effort being attended with much pain. Five (5) drops of Specific Medicine Cubeba should be given every 3 or 4 hours. The same dosage will often remedy nocturnal incontinence of urine in children.

Cubeba is useful in chronic sluggish sore throat, with relaxed membranes and over-secretion. From 5 to 10 drops of the specific medicine should be given suspended in syrup, and the same dose upon sugar is useful in chronic atonic respiratory catarrhs, with profuse expectoration, and for nasal catarrh.

Smoking cubebs is a popular method of treating nasal catarrh and hay fever. Care must be had not to blister the roof of the mouth, an untoward effect that is produced by the oil in a good quality of cubeba.

The Eclectic Materia Medica, Pharmacology and Therapeutics, 1922, was written by Harvey Wickes Felter, M.D.