Piper guineense

Piper guineense

Over the years, plant extracts and plant-derived medicines have made immense contributions to the overall health and well being of human beings (Anyanwu and Nwosu 2014). The antimicrobial ability of plant extracts and oils has established a platform for the processing and transformation of these plant products into pharmaceuticals, preservatives and natural medicine.

From time immemorial, the use of plants for the treatment of diseases has been widely accepted due to their healing properties. According to World Health Organization, many microorganisms are developing resistance to several drugs which is posing severe threat to the general public health hence requires actions across all sectors to curb this menace.

As a result of this, there is a growing interest in plant’s usage for medicinal purposes due to the presence of several antibacterial compounds present in them. Kareem et., al. (2010) agree that medicines developed from plants are comparably safer than their synthetic counterparts thus rendering enormous therapeutic benefits at an economical treatment rate. P. guineense ‘Uziza’ is of the family of Piperaceae and contains over 700 species all over the world.

Piper guineense ‘Uziza’ is a medicinal plant known to provide both medicinal, insecticidal, culinary and dietary benefits to human beings. Piper guineense is a West African species of Piper and this spectacular spice is obtained from its dried fruit referred to as uziza pepper, West African pepper, kale, Guinea cubeb, Ashanti pepper, Guinea pepper, kukauabe, or Benin pepper. It is closely related to long pepper, cubeb pepper and black pepper.

According to Dada et., al. (2013), Piper guineensis ‘Uziza’ is a local spice that comprises of dillapiol, 5-8% of piperine, elemicine, 10% of myristicine and safrole and these chemicals exhibit bactericidal and antimicrobial effects on certain microorganisms. These effects have been associated with the presence of phytonutrients such as flavonoids, alkaloids, glycosides, essential oils, tannins, saponins, peptides and phenols in this spectacular plant.

Sumathykutty et., al. (1999) agree that P. guineense ‘Uziza’ leaves are aseptic in nature, with the ability to relieve flatulence. They are also useful for treating intestinal diseases, cough, bronchitis and rheumatism . According to the research carried out by Nwachukwu et., al. (2010), on the uses of some medicinal plants, they found out that Piper guineense ‘Uziza’ is suitable for treating Infertility in women & Low sperm count in men.

The authors agreed that women with infertility problems should boil Piper guineense ‘Uziza’ together with Xylopia Spp (Uda), lime juice, Honey, Congronema latifolium (utazi) and Capsicum Spp pepper in 1 liter. of water and then take 1 glass cup on a daily basis only during menstruation (for women). Men on the other hand, can take ½ bottle of lime juice mixed with 1 bottle of honey and taken 1 shot twice on a daily basis for low sperm count treatment.

According to Ashok and Upadhyaya (2012), tannins are phenolic compounds with proline-rich proteins that helps to inhibit the absorption of iron when present in the gastro-intestinal lumen. This thus reduces the bio-availability of iron due to the presence of anti-hemorrhoidal, anti-diarrheal and haemostatic compounds that helps to treat diseases such as irritating bowel disorders, enteritis, gastritis and esophagitis.

Piper guineense is part of the plants and herbs categories that contain tannins as their primary components thus are known as astringent. Because of its astringent properties, the piper guineense is  highly beneficial for treating intestinal disorders such as diarrhea and dysentery, healing of wounds and inflammation of mucous membrane.

Alkaloids which are natural product present in P. guineense ‘Uziza’ are made up of heterocyclic nitrogen  that possess antimalarial, pharmacological, anti-hypertensive, anti-arrhythmic and anticancer effect (Saxena 2013). Flavonoids on the other hands, are remarkable for their countless health benefits to human beings, especially due to their antiplatelet, antiviral, anti-tumor, anti-allergic, anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory abilities (Pal and Verma 2013).

All these and other countless beliefs, thus back-up the acceptance of P. guineense ‘uziza’ for the treatment of diseases. Conclusively, Piper guineense ‘Uziza’ is highly recommended for use in phytomedicine and can be of immense importance in health care especially in the developing world.

This post is for enlightenment purposes only and should not be used as a replacement for professional diagnostic and treatments. Remember to always consult your health care provider before making any health-related decisions or for counselling, guidance and treatment about a specific medical condition.

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Anyanwu C. U. and Nwosu G. C.  (2014), Assessment of the antimicrobial activity of aqueous and ethanolic extracts of Piper guineense leaves, Journal of Medicinal Plant Research, Vol. 8(10), pp. 337-439.

Ashok K. and Upadhyaya K. (2012), Tannins are Astringent, Journal of Pharmacognosy and Phytochemistry, IC Journal, Issue 3, Vol. 1, p.49.

Dada A. A., Ifesan B. O. T. and Fashakin J. F. (2013), Antimicrobial And Antioxidant Properties Of Selected Local Spices Used In “Kunun” Beverage In Nigeria, Acta Sci. Pol., Technol. Alignment, issue 12, vol. 4, p.374.

Kareem K. T., Kareem S. O., Adeyemo O. J. and Egberongbe R. K. (2010), In vitro antimicrobial properties of Bridelia ferruginea on some clinical isolates, Agric. Biol. Journal of North America, issue 1, vol. 3, pp. 418-419.

Mamta Saxena M., Saxena J., Nema R., Singh D. and Gupta A. (2013), Phytochemistry of Medicinal Plants, Journal of Pharmacognosy and Phytochemistry, Vol. 1, Issue 6, p.177.

Nwachukwu C. U., Ume N. C., Obasi M. N., Nzewuihe G. U. and Onyirioha C. (2010), The Qualitative Uses Of Some Medicinal Plants In Ikeduru L.G.A Of Imo State, Nigeria, New York Science Journal, issue 3, vol.11, p.132.   

Pal D. and Verma P. (2013), Flavonoids: A Powerful And Abundant Source Of Antioxidants, International Journal of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, Vol. 5, Issue 3, p.97.

Sumathykutty MA, Rao JM, Padmakumari KP, Narayanan CS (1999), Essential Oil Constituents Of Some Piper Species, Flavors Fragr. Journal, issue 14, pp. 280-281.

Wikipedia (2014), Piper guineense.

World Health Organization (2014) Antimicrobial resistance.

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  • Very informative! Thank you for this! I love to hear about using food as medicine.

    • You are welcome LD Juarez and glad to hear that you appreciate the post.

      Stay well.

  • triciasweetpea

    Hello to you my name is TRICIA nice to meet you Blessing Okpala!!
    This is such good information
    Where do i find this herb spice >>>UZIZA?
    I live in riverside California.

    Im dealing with major AUTOIMMUNE diseases many!
    I have gone vegetarian now #5 yrs..stopped drugs medicine few years ago…
    I look to find
    Healthy HERBAL* & SPICES. To remedy my ILLNESSes.
    Please can u reccommend?
    #1).Rheumatoid ARTHRITIS

    I suffer daily with PAIN.


    • triciasweetpea

      TIME IS. 11:00 AM JAN 2015

    • Glad to hear from you Tricia but at the same time accept my heartfelt empathy over your sickness and pains and I pray you get healed soon.

      I reside in the UK so I can’t say precisely where you can get Uziza spice from in California however, I believe that you can get it from any African shop over there.

      But most importantly, I recommend you visit your doctor or healthcare provider for proper diagnosis of your ailment and for rightful treatment.

      I wish you quick recovery and looking forward to hearing good news from you regarding your health soonest.

      Best regards!

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    Ҭhanks for supplying tɦеse details and I will take my time to read it through very well..

    • Thanks Modesta, please do take your time to read the article and I bet you gain a lot.

  • Justice

    Thank you so much for this post!

    It was so nice to read this article on medicinal benefits of Piper guineensis. I used herbal medicine from Piper (Rukokota) many years ago when I was young on instructions of my parents. I live in Uganda, but it appears most of the places we used to get the stuff has been deforested!

    Can anyone advise. I have been looking for herbs to treat my Autistic child. My big question is: can Piper guineensis help to alleviate symptoms of Autism, especially GIT problems, impulsiveness and aggression? Any advice on this matter is highly welcome.

    • Thanks for your comment Justice. It’s sad to hear of your child’s health challenges and I pray you remain strong and positive, remembering that all will be well.

      On the other hand, I recommend that you seek medical advice from a professional doctor regarding yours child’s ill health and I have no doubts that he will be properly taken care of.

      All the best!

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  • Gary

    Excellent post. keep up the good work.

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    I don’t even know what to say, this made things so much easier!

    • Oh thanks Joyce, I am glad the post served your purpose.

      Hope you visit my blog regularly for updates on several health and food-related posts.

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