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Cubeb, which is the fruit of a plant closely related to black pepper, has been used medicinally for hundreds of years. It is known for its ability to open up the breathing passageways and has antiseptic qualities that allow it to fight infection. Consuming the oil of this fruit can also pull extra water from the body, flushing out the urinary tract as it disinfects it, making it particularly useful as a medication used to treat urinary tract infections. It is also used by some cultures as an aphrodisiac and as a stimulant for the digestive system.
The berries produced by the cubeb plant can be dried, ground into a powder, or pressed into an oil. All of these preparations may be eaten and do not generally have any ill effects when taken in moderate amounts. Alternatively, a paste made from the powder can be rubbed onto the skin, where it can either fight infection or create a warming sensation. Many cultures have historically used this paste to increase sexual desire and potency.
Eating dried cubeb berries makes the breath smell fresher. The berries also open up the throat, nose and bronchial passageways, relieving congestion and making it easier to breathe. With its antiseptic qualities, cubeb can also help fight off upper respiratory infections. It has been used in Western medicine for this purpose since the 1600s and can be effective against mild viral and bacterial respiratory infections.
Once cubeb reaches the stomach, whether in the form of ground or chewed berries, oil or another preparation, the medicinal qualities can affect a number of internal systems. It can help stimulate the digestive system, making it easier for food to pass through, relieving symptoms of indigestion. It is also believed that cubeb is able to increase the tone of the smooth muscles in the stomach and intestines.
Cubeb has a considerably strong effect on the urinary tract. It is a diuretic, ridding the body of excess water and increasing the production of urine. This action helps cubeb flush out the urinary tract while the antiseptic qualities fight infection in this system. Gonorrhea was often treated through the use of this berry. Although it is an effective cure, modern antibiotics are more effective and can ensure that this infection clears up quickly and without complications.