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Cubeb (Piper cubeba)

Kemukus or tailed pepper or cubeb (Piper cubeba) is a species of plant in the Piperaceae, growing climbing, woody perennial and sturdy, up to 10 meters or more high on supporting trees, spreading, rooting easily where the stems are left touching the ground.

P. cubeba has leaves that sit alternately, intact, thick, 5-10 cm long, 2-6 cm wide and green. Flowers are small, produced on pendulous spikes 4-8 cm long at leaf nodes, spikes extending to 7-15 cm as fruit ripens. The fruit is round, has a long stalk, is green and turns brownish red.

Cubeb (Piper cubeba)


This species grows in moist, well-drained, organic matter-rich areas, elevations below 900 meters and climbs trees with rough bark. The plants bear fruit from the fourth or fifth year and usually for seven years. One stem produces 20-30 spikes of fruit.

The fruit is carefully dried as a dried berry, similar to black pepper, but with the stem attached. The dry pericarp is wrinkled and grayish brown to black in color. The seeds are hard, white and oily. The dried fruit is aromatic and has a pungent, tangy, slightly bitter and persistent taste.





Dried fruit is processed into essential oil. Dried fruit contains essential oils consisting of monoterpenes (50% sabinene, α-thujene, and carene) and sesquiterpenes (caryophyllene, copaene, α- and β-cubebene, δ-cadinene, germacrene), oxides 1,4- and 1, 8-cineole and a cube of alcohol.

About 15% essential oil is obtained by distilling the fruit with water. Cubebene, the liquid part, has the formula C15H24 and is available in two forms, α- and β-. They differ only in the position of the alkene moiety, with the double bond being endocyclic in the α-cubeben, as shown, but exocyclic in the β-cubeben. It is a thick, pale green liquid with a warm woody, slightly camphoraceous odor. After being fixed with water or stored, it precipitates rhombic crystals of camphor.

Cubebin (C20H20O6) is a crystalline substance found in fruit. It can be made from cubebene or from the dregs left after oil refining. The drug, along with gum, fatty oils, and malate of magnesium and calcium, also contains about 1% cubic acid, and about 6% resin.

These herbs are used in treating gonorrhea, where its antiseptic action is invaluable. flavoring agent for gin, smoking blends, incense blends and food seasonings. The fruit is used to add flavor to savory soups and curries and pastries.

Kingdom: Plantae
Phylum: Tracheophyta
Subphylum: Angiospermae
Class: Magnoliopsida
Order: Piperales
Family: Piperaceae
Genus: Piper
Species: Piper cubeba

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