Cubeb: A Bit of Botany
a little botanical information on cubeb

Piper cubeba is a perennial vine of the Piperaceae family. Commercial cubebs consist of the dried berries, similar in appearance to black pepper, but with stalks attached. The dried pericarp is wrinkled; its color ranges from grayish-brown to black. The seed is hard, white and oily. The odor of cubebs is described as agreeable and aromatic; the taste, pungent, acrid, slightly bitter and persistent. It has been described as tasting like allspice, or like a cross between allspice and black pepper.

common names & nomenclature
The common name tailed pepper is in reference to the stalks that remain attached to the dried berries resembling tails. The name cubeb comes from Arabic kabāba.

Also known as:
cubeb, tailed pepper, false pepper, shital chini, kabab chini, java pepper

Cubeb, the flavorful dried, unripe fruit
Cubeb: Where in the World
habitat and range for cubeb

Cubeb berries are native to Java and Sumatra (present-day Indonesia), and came to Europe via India, through trade with Arab spice merchants.

Cubeb: Cultivation & Harvesting
considerations for growing and harvesting cubeb

Cubeb grows best in partly shaded areas. In its natural habitat, Cubeb is generally found near bushes where it does not get much sunlight in areas that do not get colder than 35° F.

Grows best in a rich, fertile, well-drained soil.

Sow seeds indoors before the last frost, when large enough to handle, transplant into larger pots. Can also propagate by stem cuttings or division.

The fruits are gathered before they are ripe, while still green, and carefully dried.

Store dried cubeb berries in an airtight container in a cool, dry place.

Cubeb: The Rest of the Story
cubeb history, folklore, literature & more

the keys of cubeb berry
Cubeb berry is the fruit from a plant that grows in Asia and Indonesia. It’s not as common in the West and you may never have heard of it. But once you understand what cubeb berry can do for you, you’ll want to make it a part of your herbal regimen.

Historically, cubeb berry was used to treat gonorrhea. It worked so well to fight the infection because it’s an astringent. That means it can fight some infections by killing germs. However, the modern advent of antibiotics has made cubeb berry a secondary treatment for gonorrhea. But today, you can still use it to treat your respiratory system and your digestive system.

If you’re suffering from problems of your digestive tract such as bloating and gas, you’ll find that cubeb berry can be used to relieve your pain and discomfort. It’s a carminative, which means that it can relieve gas efficiently and allow you to go about your day.

What’s even better is that cubeb berry is actually quite tasty. It has a pepper flavor that many people enjoy as an additive to food. That means you can be helping to treat your digestive system while you enjoy eating something delicious.

If you have a urinary tract infection, you’ll find that cubeb berry can give you the relief you need. Because it’s so good at fighting bacteria, it will help to relieve your infection and allow you to have fewer symptoms of the infection such as burning and frequent urination.

The respiratory system also benefits from using cubeb. It works as an expectorant to thin the mucus in your lungs and bronchi. When the mucus is thinned, your coughs will be more productive and you’ll be able to have relief from your infection more quickly.

You can use whole cubeb berry as an addition to foods or you can use the essential oil to help treat whatever is ailing you. Most people prefer to use the entire berry because it’s flavorful and you’ll get all of the nutrients it has to offer.

If you have an inflammation of your digestive tract, you shouldn’t use cubeb. Make sure to talk to your healthcare provider before you use it if you’re suffering from a major infection. While cubeb can work to treat infections, there are some infections that are treated better with additional herbs or medications. But for many conditions, cubeb will be safe and effective.