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Long pepper Long Pepper

Piper longum (Piper officinarum)

Long pepper is related to the more familiar peppercorn, but it is hotter and at the same time a bit sweeter. This magick herb has interesting possibilities for incense, especially for times when you want the sweeter side of Mars - such as for works involving sex magick (interestingly, long pepper is still considered an aphrodisiac in Ayurvedic medicine and is mentioned in a rather dangerous (and painful) recipe in the Kama Sutra: long pepper, black pepper, and datura are mixed with honey, with which the penis is anointed: "It will utterly devastate your lady." No mention what it will do to you). In Indian astrology, long pepper is associated not with Mars but with the Sun and helps in the cultivation of independence, courage, self-esteem, and strength of will. In Persian astrological magick, long pepper was connected with the "great sinister Saturn." And in European magick, long pepper also has baneful associations - for instance, it was part of the recipe for preparing the fabled Hand of Glory. Hand of Glory from a UK museum A dead man's hand (the hands of criminals were preferred) was squeezed in a cloth, usually a strip of shroud, to get the blood out. The hand was put into an earthenware jar with salt, salt petre (or nitre), long pepper, and verdigris (copper oxide) for two weeks to dry it out and to preserve it, then it was dried further in the sun during the dog days of summer (that is, under the Dog Star, Sirius, which often watches over baneful work and is in conjunction with the Sun in the period mid-July to early August). When the hand was finally dry enough, it was used as a candleholder rather than being lit itself. The Hand of Glory was said to make the owner invisible and to paralyze anyone who saw it, so it was very desirable amongst professional housebreakers. The picture shows an actual Hand of Glory from a British museum.

In Herbalism

Before black pepper arrived in Europe, long pepper was used as a stimulant and carminative there. The medieval French rabbi Rashi recommended holding a long pepper between one's teeth to cure bad breath. This would most likely work on account of the essential oil content. Medieval Europeans considered long pepper an antidote to poison hemlock (don't test this out!). Long pepper is ground and mixed with honey and given for a cold in India. It's one of the three ingredients in the Ayurvedic medicine trikatu (long pepper, ginger, and black pepper). There, long pepper is considered a stimulant and a treatment for arthritis. Long pepper is a good digestive. It gets rid of worms and kills giardia parasites. But do not use this herb if you are taking Propranolol (Betachron, Inderal), as long pepper potentiates it.

Culinary Uses

Long pepper The Romans used both long pepper and black pepper, but they preferred the long pepper. It isn't a substitute for regular black pepper because of its underlying sweetness (it's been compared to a combination of white pepper & mace or cardamom). In the medieval Europe, long pepper was used extensively in cooking in sweet or savory dishes before the discovery of the New World and the introduction of chiles. It was the hottest spice available. It also was an ingredient in alcoholic drinks. A special mead for the sick was flavored with the warming spices of long pepper, ginger, grains of Paradise, and cloves, for instance. A 14th-century recipe for hippocras, a spiced wine drunk at the end of dinner as an aid to digestion, includes cinnamon, ginger, spikenard, galingal, cloves, long pepper, nutmeg, cardamom, and grains of paradise. Yum!

Long pepper is good ground up and tossed with fresh or cooked fruit. It's delicious with poached pears or roasted pineapple or in savory dishes like soup stock or marinade. These aromatic critters combine well with nutmeg, black pepper, turmeric, and cloves. Long pepper is a staple of Ethiopian and Moroccan spice cabinets. For greatest pungency and aroma, grind or crush long pepper just before using. Long pepper is also known as Bi bo, Balinese pepper, and Bengal pepper.


Long pepper
1 oz. $3.00

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Uses In Witchcraft & Magic:

Sex Magic
Baneful Work
Dead Man's Hand
Mars Herb

2004, 2016 Harold A. Roth; No reproduction without permission