I've been toying for awhile about whether or not to write this post. You see, long pepper is a wonderful spice, as a flavour and as a medicine, but it's awfully hard to find. I don't want to tempt you if you'll never be able to buy it anywhere. I'm yet to find a stockist online, but recently found a shop in Melbourne (Peter Watson, Fitzroy) which stocks it amongst their small but incredible spice range.
Long pepper, pipalli in Sanskrit, was once a common culinary spice, though it was often confused for other species of pepper. Before the introduction of chilli to Europe long pepper was the spiciest spice out. It is sweeter and hotter than black pepper. If you give it a bash in your mortar and pestle you will see it is made up of lots of tiny round black fruits.
You may recognise long pepper from the sickly sweet smell it gives to chyawanprash. (Don't be decieved by the smell though because it packs quite a punch!) It is also one of the three ingredients of Trikatu, alongside black pepper and ginger powder, a combination which is many times more heating than the sum of it's parts.
Long pepper is a powerful medicine for Kapha. It's firey nature make it excellent for burning ama, but over use can be very reducing. It is too volatile and potent for Vata in large amounts, and too hot for Pitta. Long pepper is an aphrodisiac, digestive, emetic and carmitive. It is used for the Kapha version of many ills including depression, asthma and cancer, due to it's highly stimulating nature.
In the kitchen you can try adding it to chai, in very small amounts, or you may find it in the Morrocan spice mix ras el hanout. If you are lucky enough to have a supplier and are feeling quite extravagant try this long pepper and chocolate pudding.