Bi Bo (Fructus Piperis Longi or Long Pepper Fruit)

What Is Bi Bo

Bi Bo commonly known as Fructus Piperis Longi or Long Pepper Fruit is the dried and almost ripe or ripe fruit spike of Piper longum L., which is an evergreen and perennial climbing vine or shrub belonging to the family Piperaceae. It is a relatively practical Chinese herbal medicine, which first appeared in <Xin Xiu Ben Cao> in 659 AD.

There are more than 2,400 species of Piper, which are distributed in tropical regions of the world. Most of these species grow in tropical rainforests and a few in subtropical areas. Among them, Piper nigrum, P. auritum, P. longum, and P. cubeba are relatively popular species. The fruits of some of these species can be made into edible spices.

Piper longum L. also called Indian Long Pepper or thippali is an aromatic and flowering plant. It is a close relative of P. nigrum, which gives black, green, and white pepper and has a similar but generally hotter flavor. They are mainly distributed in India, China, Eastern Himalayas, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand, Vietnam, Nepal, the Philippines, and Indonesia. Its fruits and roots are often used in Ayurvedic medicine and traditional Chinese medicine.

Piper longum

When the fruit spikes of P. longum turn from green to black, people gather their fruit spikes, remove impurities, dry them in the sun, and make them into Chinese herbal medicine.

Bi Bo contains piperine, methyl piperine, piperrolein B, pipernonaline, piperettine, asarinine, pellitorine, piperundecalidine, piperlongumine, piperlonguminine, retrofractamide A, retrofractamide C, pergumidiene, brachystamide-B, a dimer of desmethoxypiplartine, N-isobutyl decadienamide, brachyamide-A, brachystine, pipercide, piperderidine, longamide, dehydropipernonaline piperidine, tetrahydro piperine, sesamin, pulviatilol, fargesin, tridecyl-dihydro-p-coumarate, eicosanyl-(E)-p-coumarate, Z-12-octadecenoicglycerol-monoester, caryophyllene, pentadecane, bisaboline, thujone, terpinolene, zingiberene, p-cymene, p-methoxyacetophenone, dihydrocarveol, vitamin A, vitamin E, palmitic acid, tetrahydropiperic acid, and some trace elements.

Generally, the plump Bi Bo with a strong fragrance is preferred.

According to the Chinese Pharmacopoeia, the medicinal property of Bi Bo is relatively hot, with a pungent taste. It has a therapeutic effect on pathological changes in the stomach and large intestine meridians.

In traditional Chinese medicine, it is often used to warm middle energizer and dispel cold, keep the adverse qi flowing downward and relieve pain, treat cold pain in the stomach and abdomen, vomiting, hiccup, diarrhea, menstrual disorders, thoracic obstruction and heartache, headache, toothache, angina pectoris, trigeminal neuralgia, acute bronchitis, chronic bronchitis, cough, asthma, constipation, gonorrhea, cholera, malaria, viral hepatitis, respiratory tract infection, nasosinusitis, mastitis, and coronary heart disease.

There are more than 50 kinds of traditional Chinese medicine prescriptions containing it, such as Kuanxiong Aerosol, Su He Xiang Wan, and Liu Wei Mu Xiang San.

Benefits

  • Anti-inflammation, inhibiting the production of nitric oxide and prostaglandin E2 induced by LPS [1].
  • Increasing the pain threshold, prolonging the latency of the pain response in mice caused by thermal stimulation, and reducing the number of writhing responses in mice induced by acetic acid.
  • Reducing tertiary butyl hydroperoxide and CCL4-induced acute liver injury in mice and protecting the liver.
  • Inhibiting washed platelet aggregation induced by collagen, arachidonic acid, and platelet-activating factor.
  • Reducing the serum total cholesterol, triglyceride, and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels and increasing high-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels in hyperlipidemic rats.
  • Warming middle energizer and dispelling cold, treating cold pain in stomach and abdomen, vomiting, hiccup, diarrhea caused by stomach-cold.
  • Treating abdominal pain and cold diarrhea caused by deficiency-cold in the spleen and stomach.
  • Dispelling cold, treating thoracic obstruction and heartache caused by qi stagnation due to cold, and headache caused by wind-cold.
  • Piperine prolonged the latency of the first seizure in mice induced by pilocarpine and reduced the number of deaths in seizure mice [2].
  • Its petroleum ether extract and piperine both reduce lipid peroxidation levels and maintain glutathione levels. It has antioxidant activity [3].
  • Studies have shown that it has the effect of inhibiting Entamoeba histolytica in vitro, and it also has a protective effect against experimental cecal amoebiasis infection in vivo. Its ethanol extract and isolated piperine improved cecal amebiasis by 90% and 40%, respectively, in rats [4]. The dose-dependent adulticidal effect of its ethanol extract was observed against Stegomyia aegypti, the main vector of dengue and dengue hemorrhagic fever [5].
  • The study found that retrofractamides A and C isolated from P. longum exerted anti-diabetic effects via activating PI3K/AKT pathway, and they promoted glucose consumption, glucose uptake, glycogen synthesis, and glycolysis [6].
  • Studies have found that its extract and piperine can inhibit the development of Dalton’s lymphoma ascites cells-induced solid tumors in mice and prolong the life span of mice. In addition, 250 μg/mL piperine was cytotoxic to Dalton’s lymphoma ascites and Ehrlich ascites carcinoma cells.

Combinations

Side Effects

A single oral dose in experimental animals (3g/kg body weight) and chronic toxicity studies for 90 days revealed no adverse effects [3].

Precautions and Warnings

  • The dosage of Bi Bo should be controlled between 1-3g.
  • It can be made into pills, powders, decoctions, or aerosols.
  • When taking it, you should take it with wine or watery gruel.
  • People who are allergic to Bi Bo should not take it.
  • Patients with hyperactivity of fire due to yin deficiency should not take it.
  • Patients with syndromes of excess heat should not take it.
  • Pregnant women should not take it.
  • Lactating women, children, and the elderly and infirm should be taken under the guidance of a physician.