Piper sarmentosum is a plant in the Piperaceae family used in many Southeast Asian cuisines. The leaves are often confused with betel,but they lack the intense taste of the betel leaves and are significantly smaller.
Climbing herb up to 10 m long with long runners. The plant has a typical pungent smell. It has simple, alternate, heart-shaped leaves (7–14 cm by 6–13 cm). Young leaves possess a waxy surface. It bears small, white flowers in the form of spikes. The fruits are small, black, dry, and with rounded bulges.
P. sarmentosum is found from the tropical areas of Southeast Asia, Northeast India and South China, and as far as the Andaman Islands. India, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam, Malaysia, the Philippines and Indonesia.
PLANT PARTS USED
USES IN TRADITIONAL MEDICINE
P. sarmentosum leaves are used in traditional Asian medicines. Chemical analysis has shown the leaves contain the antioxidant naringenin. Amides from P. sarmentosum fruit have been shown to have anti-tuberculosis and anti-plasmodial activities. The plant serves to aid digestion and treat fever. Functioning as an expectorant, the fruits help in bringing up mucus and other material from the respiratory tract. The roots have multiple uses, ranging from treating toothache, coughing, and asthma to treating pleurisy and fungal dermatitis on the feet.