RESULTS Morphology Piper longum Linn. is a member of Piperaceae family. The plant is a glabrousperennial under-shrub with erect or sub-scandent nodose stem and slenderbranches; the latter are often creeping or trailing and rooting below or rarelyscandent reaching a few metres height. Leaves are simple, alternate, stipulate,and petiolate or nearly sessile; lower ones broadly ovate, cordate; upper onesoblong, ovate, all entire, smooth, thin with reticulate venation; veins raisedbeneath. It flowers nearly throughout the year. Inflorescence is spike withunisexual small achlamydeous densely packed flowers and form very closeclusters of small greyish green or darker grey berries. Male and female plants are separate in piperlongum, flowers are arranged on erect cylindrical spikes ,female spikes areshort and stout, while male spikes are long and slenderA numberof geographical varieties are available in different agro climatic regions ofIndia; the most popular being Assam, West Bengal and Nepal varieties. Piper officinarum DC; syn.
Chavica officinarum Miquel., Piper pepuloides and Piper chaba Hunter.are the other related species are oftherapeutic importance.
Organolepticcharacters Innersurface is cream white, externally it is brownish grey in colour; odour strong,characteristic causing irritation in nose; taste pungent. Fracture: short.(Figures 1 & 2) Microscopy Transversesection of root of male plant Diagrammatic section shows outer cork,middle cortex and central stealar region. Detailed transverse section (TS) of rootis almost circular to oval with the wavy outline. The outermost tissue – corkappears as a narrow strip consists of 3-4 rows of thin walled, rectangular toslightly tangentially elongated cork cells filled with oil globule, starchgrain and brown content. large extents ofThe cortex region is impartially wideand made up of paranchyma cell which are large in sized, and rounded to oblongin shape.
The cell walls of the peripheral rows are slightly thickened but notlignified. Most of the cells are heavily loaded with globular or oval shaped,simple to compound starch grains. Many secretory cells filled with largeyellowish brown globules are scattered in cortex. Centre pith of the root isoccupied by 5-6 radiating narrow strips of vascular tissues called stealarregion having their wider ends towards periphery. The cells combining the pithare thin walled, polygonal in shape, and fill full of starch grains.
Outsidethe pith, evenly spaced six groups of primary xylem bundles are present. Ineach vascular strip the xylem is composed of xylem vessels and xylem parenchymasurrounded with strong woody fibres. Wider end of xylem is crowned with ahemispherical strip of phloem. A strip of cambium consisting one or two rows ofnarrow thin walled rectangular cell is present between xylem and phloem. Thephloem is composed of many sieve tubes with their companion cells that can bedistinctly made out towards the inner region of the phloem and small thinwalled polygonal parenchyma cells. The outer border of the phloem is limited bya row of pericyclic cells found just inner to the endodermis. Medullary raysare six to seven broadly distributed with their wider ends at the periphery andalternating with the radiating bands of vascular tissue.
Each ray is havingeight to ten thin walled cubical to slightly radically elongated cells andarranged in radial rows and extended from pith to endodermis; heavily loadedwith starch grains and few cells have oil globules.