Cubeb Berries (Piper cubeba) are the peppercorn sized berries of a climbing perennial vine. Cubeb berries have their stalks still attached and so are sometimes called "Tailed Pepper". They have an aroma and flavor similar to peppercorns, but with a note of allspice. Cubeb berries are grown primarily in Indonesia ( hence the name Java Pepper ), and are very popular in China and the Middle East. The berries go well with meats, vegetables and cheeses, and add a little aromatic flavor when substituted for pepper, and a little pepper heat when substituted for allspice. The berries should be ground fresh, they retain more flavor whole and quickly lose volatile oils when ground. The berries' pungent flavor with a touch of bitterness and camphor make it a specialty item. It became less popular in the 1600's after the introduction of black and white peppercorns as their milder flavor and lack of bitterness made them a preferred condiment. Cubeb is still used in the flavoring of cigarettes and spirits like gin and vodka and incense.
Cubeb berries are reported to have medicinal properties. They are rumored to be an aphrodesiac and aid with fertility issues, and have been used in the treatment of ailments like lack of appetite, demonic possession, chronic bronchitis, oral and dental diseases, fever, bad breath, infection.... They were popular amoung alchemists in the Middle Ages. In China the berries are used primarily for medicinal purposes. Cubeb concoctions are common as aphrodesiacs. There are many stories of it's use as a sexual stimulant and fertility aid. Cubeb contains volatile oils that give it a camphorous aroma, probably responsible for it's potential as a pulmonary remedy. As late as World War II, cubeb cigarettes were still being made and recommended as a remedy for astma and hay fever. Many love potions include the berries, as a stimulant and aid to the urinary tract and prostate it's positive properties continue to feed it's reputation as an effective herb for fighting fertility problems.
Cubeb Berries Facts:
Cubeb Berries resemble peppercorns but have a stalk or "tail"
Cubeb Berries have a peppery flavor with a hint of allspice
Cubeb Berries are grown primarily in Java and Sumatra
Volatile oils give cubeb a champhorous aroma
Moderate heat, 3 on a scale of 10
Cubeb Berries are rumored to have MANY health benefits
Cubeb Berries are used in cigarettes and spirits like gin or vodka
Historically used as an aphrodesiac or fertility aid
Cubeb Berries are considered beneficial for asthma and chronic bronchitis
Use fell off in the 17th century when black and white pepper became more readily available and less expensive
Rumored Cubeb Health Benefits:
Treat Oral & Dental Ailments
Ailments of the Throat
Urinary & Kidney Benefits
Hay Fever Remedy
Treats Digestive Ailments & Dysentery
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