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Piper- species, from Kava to Betel

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Macropiper excelsum... the Maori-Kava from New Zealand, the leaves are used there as flavouring in food ("maori-food") and also used for medicine and rituals: bladder problems, blood purifier, boils, buises, colds, eczema, for kidneys, stomach pains, toothache, aphrodisiac and stimulant.


A really big Macropiper excelsum in New Zealand (North Island):


another member from the Piper- genus: Piper auritum, the Makulan, with one of the highest Safrol-contents in plant-kingdom. In Mexiko it is used for flavouring: fish, meat and tamales are wrapped and cooked in the leaves and mole verde is made from mashed leaves. It is also used for medicine and incense for aztec rituals, for wound care, fever and diarrhea.


Betel (Piper betle, thin leaf- variety), the famous second component of betel quids (with Areca nuts). In Oceania there is a clear line between "Betel- culture" and "Kava- culture". It has psycho-stimulant and used medicinally to cure worms.


And the famous Kava, Piper methysticum, I got this plant today, because here in europe it is very hard to get the real Kava, because as a sterile species there are no seeds and as a plant nobody is shipping it to europe... but now I found a nice seller who does. I was searching for it for at least 15 years and now I'm very happy. It is a cultivar from Piper wichmannii in Papua-Newguinea and carried by the polynesians on their journeys from island to island in the pacific. The liver-toxic principles are only in the leaves and stems, not in the root. There have been some bad manufactured Kava with stems in circulation, which causes liver toxicity.

the leaves were fallen off during the long shipping, but the stem and roots look very healthy:


The black pepper (Piper nigrum), is a very tricky plant in cultivation, so I didn't order it, although I know a seller in europe. This is a picture of grains from the closest relative of the wild black pepper in India. They are from the Periyar- nationalpark in Kerala, south india and tastes delicious.


Periyar-pepper, 24-fold:


Piper guineense (Aschantipepper or Westafrican pepper) is used as spice in africa and is one of the best insecticides against thrips, which was testet from a university in Nigeria. It contains much piperine and is antiinflammatory.


Piper cubeba (cubeb, java pepper or tailed pepper), tastes like a cross between allspice and black pepper. It is used in chinese-, tibetan- and many other medicine-systems. There were also cubeb-cigarettes for asthma. Too much (over 10g) can cause anxiety and deliria. It is used as aphrodisiac, euphoric and weakness of memory.


Piper longum (Long pepper) is a good aphrodisiac in India and is mostly wild-harvested. The flavour is very warm and milder than black pepper. In Ayurveda it is used as stimulant and aphrodisiac.


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mindperformer congratulation.

My Kava​​'s, Mo'i clone from Hawaii,standing in the summer day and night outdoors. Day 23 - 30 ° C. Night low is 10- 16° C. They like it.

Problematic is the winter. The main problem is the humidity.

Left the Kava with the blackish stem, right Piper auritum with green stem.

Right image, the different leaf shapes of the two species.





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hey pan! :-)

your plants look impressive, Hut ab

I will give my Piper methysticum some time to slowly adapt to the conditions here:


The small greenhouse I shaded afterwards.

Edited by mindperformer

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Great thread, all the dried pepper looks nice.

Have you tasted the Macropiper excelsum fruit, mindperformer?

I will snap some pictures when they are in season.


Large glossy leaved Macropiper excelsum in the South Island, New Zealand.


Variegated Macropiper Excelsum from the South Island, New Zealand.

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nice pics!

I didn't taste the fruit, but the freh leaves, and there were some safrol-components

I forgot one Piper-species on Rarotonga (Cook Islands):

I was there last year because I'm an avid fan of Polynesia. I hoped to find a Piper methysticum with the shaman of the island, Pa, but it was only Macropiper latifolium which he showed me. The missionaries eradicated the kava use there centuries ago. Pa said, he knows, where to find the real kava but it was the last day and I didn't have enough time left...

The polynesian Kava-relative Macropiper latifolium:


And Pa:


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