The cubebs of pharmacy are produced by Piper Cubeba, a climbing woody shrub indigenous to south Borneo, Sumatra, Prince of Wales Island and Java.
Commercial cubebs consist of the dried berries, usually with their stalks attached; the pericarp is greyish-brown, or blackish and wrinkled; and the seed, when present, is hard, white and oily.
The odour of cubebs is agreeable and aromatic; the taste, pungent, acrid, slightly bitter and persistent.
About 15% of a volatile oil is obtained by distilling cubebs with water; after rectification with water, or on keeping, this deposits rhombic crystals of camphor of cubebs, C 15 H 26 O; cubebene, the liquid portion, has the formula C15HV4.
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