Kankola Piper cubeba Uses, Remedies, Research, Side Effects

Kankola- Piper cubeba is a herb mentioned in the Ayurveda pharmacopoeia for the treatment of cough, swelling, dysmenorrhea, erectile dysfunction and indigestion. In Ayurveda, it is used as the legal substitute for Musk. 

Latin name- Piper cubeba
Family- Piperaceae

Vernacular names

Names in different languages:
Hindi name- Kababcheeni, Sheetalcheeni
English name- Tail pepper, Cubeb, Java pepper
Arabic name- Kababesini, Kababh, Kibabeh
Bengali name- Kababcheeni
Gujarathi name- Tadamiri
Kannada name- Bala menasu, Gandha menasu
Malayalam name- Valmulaku, Cheenamulaku
Marathi name- Himsimiri
Persian name- Kababcheeni, Kibabeh, Hab-el-arus
Tamil name- Valmulaku
Telugu name- Tokamiriyalu, Chalavamiriyalu

Sanskrit synonyms

Gandha maricha, Sugandha maricha- Has strong and pleasant smell
Katuka Phala, Kola, Katuphala – spice
Bahuphala – the fruits appear in bunches
Maaricha, Sthoola maricha – slightly larger than the size of pepper
madyachoshita, Krutaphala, Kolaka,
Dveepa Maricha, Koshaphala, Madhavochita, Rudrasammita


Morphology of Piper cubeba:
Kankola is a climber with strong woody stem. The leaf is 5-6 inch long, cardiac shape and dark green colored. The flowers are small, found in clusters and unisexual. The fruits are little round and resemble pepper, strong flavored. The flowers and fruits are seen in the winter season. The fruits are gathered before they are ripe, and carefully dried. The dried pericarp is wrinkled, and its color ranges from grayish brown to black. The seed is hard, white and oily. The plant is seen and cultivated in South India especially in Kerala and Karnataka.

Properties, part used, dosage

Kankola medicinal Properties:
Rasa (Taste) – Katu (Pungent), Tikta (Bitter)
Guna (Qualities) – Laghu (Light for digestion), Ruksha (Dry in nature), Teekshna (Strong)
Vipaka – Katu (Undergoes Pungent taste after digestion)
Veerya (Potency) – Ushna (Hot)
Karma (Actions) – Kaphavata shamaka (reduces vitiated kapha and vata dosha)

Part used- Fruit
Powder- 1 to 3 g
Oil- 1 to 3 drops

Qualities as per Bhojana Kutuhala

It is pungent and bitter in taste, improves clarity of vision, improves taste perception, helps in treating disorders caused due to vitiation of vata, pitta and kapha and cures the diseases of head.

Chemical composition

Unripe fruit contains volatile oil (10– 20%) consisting of sesquiterpene hydrocarbons; lignans, mainly cubebine (about2%), with-cubebinin and kinokinin; cubebic acid. The oxygenated cyclohexanes, piperenol A and B, together with crotepoxide and   zeylenol, have been isolated from the fruit. Cubeb oil extracted from the fruit, is slightly greenish, but becomes colourless on rectification. It has the odour of Cubebs, and a warm aromatic comphoraceous taste. In addition fruits contain resinous matter ( gum, colouring matter, fixed oil, starch and nitrogenous substance. The plant also contains Piperine, Sesamin, Cubenin, Hinokinin, Clusin, Dihydrocubebin, Yatein, Cubebinionolide, Cubebinone, Isoyatein, Di-o-methyl thiyalplicatin methylether, two other Dibenzyl butyrolactone ligans and a Heptahydro naphthalene derivative.


Uses of Kankola:

  • The paste of the fruits of Kankola is made into paste and applied over area affected with swelling and pain.
  • The powder of the fruit is mixed with honey and applied over mouth ulcer and inflammation of the gums.
  • The powder of the fruit of Kankola is mixed with honey and consumed in a dose of 4 to 5 g to treat cough and sinusitis.
  • 3-5 drops of oil extracted from the plant of Kankola is mixed with a glass of warm water and consumed to treat indigestion and improve the appetite.
  • Intake of the fruit powder mixed with sugar candy and milk is beneficial to treat erectile dysfunction.
  • Cold infusion prepared from the fruit of Piper cubeba is consumed in a dose of 30-40 ml to treat dysmenorrhea and difficulty in micturition.
  • The powder of the fruit of Kankola is mixed with water and made into paste. This paste is applied over the male genital organ (penis) to promote sexual pleasure during coitus.
  • It is used as the Pratinidhi dravya – legal, traditional substitute for musk (Kasturi) – Reference: Bhavaprakasha.
  • Jatipushpa – Jasmine flower is the legal substitute for Kankola.

Sanskrit verse

Qualities, Indications

Kankola – qualities and uses as per Ayurveda:
Laghu – light to digest
Teekshna – strong, piercing
Hrudya – acts as cardiac tonic, congenial for heart
Ruchiprada – improves taste perception
Deepana – improves digestion strength
Pachana – Digestive, relieves Ama Dosha

Indicated in –
Asyadaurgandhya – Halitosis, bad breath
Hrudroga – cardiac disorders
Krumi – worm infestation
Agnimandya – low digestion strength

Adverse effects

Adverse effects of cubeb: Excess intake of Kankola can cause hyperacidity and regurgitation. It may increase Pitta Dosha.

Interaction with medicines, supplements

Can this be used while taking Homeopathic medicine?
Yes. This product does not react with homeopathic medicine.

Can this medicine be continued while taking supplements like multivitamin tablets, Omega 3 fatty acids etc?
Yes. Generally, this product goes well with most of the dietary supplements. However, if you are taking more than one product per day, please consult your doctor for an opinion.

With western medicines
Seek your doctor’s advice if you are taking this product along with other western (allopathic / modern) medicines. Some Ayurvedic herbs can interact with modern medicine.
If both Ayurvedic and allopathic medicines are advised together, then it is best to take Allopathic medicine first, wait for 30 minutes and then take the Ayurvedic medicine.

Ayurvedic medicines

Ayurvedic medicines containing Kankola:
Diureston tablet: It is a proprietary Ayurveda medicine to treat renal calculi, retention of urine etc.

Bangshil tablet: It is a proprietary Ayurveda medicine to treat genito-urinary tract infections, chronic vaginitis, cystitis and enlarged prostrate.

Kalamegha strong liquid: It is a proprietary Ayurveda medicine used for liver and intestinal disorders. It is also used as an anti-pyretic, anthelmintic, blood purifier and liver tonic.

Femlin tablet: It is a proprietary Ayurveda medicine to treat vaginitis, Leucorrhoea, Senile vaginitis, pelvic girdle pain, Trichomonas vaginitis, Gonococcal infection and other associated vaginal discharges.

Reprost capsule: It is a proprietary Ayurvedic medicine to treat Benign prostate hypertrophy, uraemia, anuria.

Haritakyadi rasayanam: It is an ayurvedic formulation in leha form used for the treatment of constipation, asthma and respiratory conditions. It is also known as Hareetakyadi Rasayanam Lehyam.

Jeerakarishtam: Jeerakarishtam is an effective medicine used in post natal care, indigestion, diarrhea and Irritable bowel syndrome.

Pugakhanda: It is an Ayurvedic medicine in granules form and is useful to treat vomiting, abdominal pain, dyspepsia, gastritis, bleeding diseases, anemia and constipation.

Khadiradi vati: It is a tablet used to treat bad breath, oral ulcers, diseases of teeth etc. It is advised to keep this tablet in mouth and swallow its pieces slowly.

Drakshasava: It is a liquid Ayurvedic Medicine, useful in cardiac disorders, hemorrhoids, fever, piles, fistula, indigestion, bleeding diseases, intestinal worms.


Research articles related to Piper cubeba:
Hepato- protective action: The present study was aimed at investigating the possible potential hepato-protective effects of the Piper cubeba ethanolic extract (PCEE) against CCl4-induced hepatic injuries in male Wistar rats. The dried fruits (500?g) were coarsely powdered and macerated in 3?L of 70% ethanol for 72?h using percolation method. The solvent was then removed at 40°C under reduced pressure in a rotatory evaporator. The Piper cubeba ethanolic extract (PCEE) was then suspended in distilled water just before its administration to the animals. Findings of this study demonstrated that PCEE is effective in prevention of CCl4-induced hepatic damage in rats.

Anti- oxidant activity: The present study was aimed to extract the phytochemical compounds in different solvent system in Piper nigrum and Piper cubeba. In preliminary screening and confirmatory test it was identified as alkaloid. High antioxidant activity was found in Piper cubeba ethanol extract i.e. 77.61±0.02% in comparison to Piper nigrum extracts with 74.61±0.02% with IC50 values10.54±0.12µg/mg and 14.15±0.02 µg/mg respectively.

Classical categorization

Bhavaprakasha- Karpooradi varga
Dhanvantari Nighantu- Chandanadi varga
Kaiyyadeva  Nighantu- Oushadhi varga
Raja Nighantu- Chandanadi varga

Scientific classification

Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Piperales
Family: Piperaceae
Genus: Piper
Species: P. cubeba


Java, Sumatra, Malay, India, Singapore, South India (Mysore)

Substitutes and adulterants

P. ribesiodes  and P. sumatrana
P. clusii and P. guineense

Author: Dr.B.K.Prashanth M.D (Ayu), Ph.D
E mail: [email protected]
Click to consult Dr Prashanth BK

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