Medicinal Plants

Indian Long Pepper (Piper longum, P. peepuloides)


  • Indian long pepper is a slender, perennial, aromatic, and medicinal climber with woody roots growing to height of 90 - 120 cm.
  • The fruits and roots contain essential oil and alkaloids like piperine, piplartine and are used for cough, bronchitis, asthma, muscular pains, inflammation, coma, drowsiness, insomnia, epilepsy, disease of bile duct, dysentery, tomach disorders, leprosy and tuberculosis.
  • Fruits are colleted from wild growing plants in Assam, West Bengal, Nepal, Uttar Pradesh and Kerala States. It is cultivated in parts of Assam, Tamil NAdu and Andhra Pradesh (Paderu tribal agency area of Visakhapatnam district).
  • In Andhra Pradesh, it can be grown as an irrigated crop in well drained, medium to heavy textured soils rich in organic matter.


  • There are no released varieties in this crop.


  • Indian long pepper is propagated through stem cuttings or suckers.
  • The field is prepared to good tilth by ploughing twice, harrowing and planking. 10 - 15 tonnes of farm yard manure, 250 kg of single superphosphate, 65 kg of muriate of potash and 25 - 50 kg of zinc sulphate per hectare are applied basally.
  • Planting is done during rainy season. Stem cuttings 30 cm long having at least 3 nodes are planted in 15 cm deep holes leaving 1 node above the ground at a distance of 60 - 90 cm between the rows and 15 cm between the plants (74,000 - 1,11,000 cuttings / hectare). The crop is irrigated at 15 - 20 days intervals during non - rainy periods.

Interculture - Fertilizers

  • The field is weeded periodically and kept wee dree.
  • In Visakhapatnam are the tribals intercrop turmeric in Indian long pepper without any adverse effects on the crop.
  • Generally the crop is fertilized with manures only. Application of 150 kg urea in 3 equal splits is suggested for good yields.
  • Spraying of micronutrients and growth regulators is also advocated for good results.

Plant protection

  • There are no pests or diseases on this crop which cause severe damage, hence plant protection practices are not needed.

Harvesting - Profits

  • When the crop is raised for fruits, it comes to bearing from thrid or fourth year after planting.
  • The fruit yield per hectare increases from 500 - 700 kg in the first year of bearing to 1600 - 2000 kg in the second and third years of bearing aftr which yields decline, therefore, the crop is to be replanted.
  • The spikes are harvested while still green and unripe, as they are most pungent at this stage.
  • When the crop is grown for roots, it can be harvested after 18 months, however, in practice 3 - 7 year old roots are harvested as they are said to be of good quality. The roots are dug out, cleaned, cut into pieces of 2.5 - 5.0 cm, dried in shade and stored.
  • The roots are graded into three grades such as Grade - 1 (thick root and underground stem), Grade - II and Grade - III (thin roots, stem and broken fragments). Grade - I roots fetch higher price than other grades.
  • A three year old turmeric intercropped Indian long pepper gives 700 - 1000 kg roots and a net profit of more than Rs. 42,000 - 60,000 per hectare.
  • There is no organised market in Andhra Pradesh, therefore, farmers are advised to make market arrangements before starting cultivation.