Description of plant
Embelia ribes is woody creeper shrub with brittle and flexible stem. It is medicinal plant also with terete branches also known as vai vidanga. Leaves are simple, alternate, ovate and sharp at both the ends. Length of leaves is 3 inch long and 1.5 inch broad. Flowers are small, white in color and have small petioles 3 to 4 inch in length. Fruits are small just like black pepper, reddish brown to black in color. Because of its appearance and nature it is also called false black pepper. Fruits are found in bunches. Outer covering of fruits is fragile and from inside seeds are spotted. Roots of this medicinal herb are brownish grey in color.
In Ayurveda false pepper seeds and white flowered embelia are common names of this herb. This versatile herb is used to treat variety of diseases but mainly it is used to cure worm infestation. Achraya sushrut describe its fruit as anti-helminthic and tonic to strengthen. It provides energy to body along with mulethi roots. To clear out excess vata dosha from intestine vidanga is used. It is used to boost up rasdhatva agni which stimulates body metabolism and helps to expel out extra fat from body. Vidanga is an herb used in Ayurveda as energy booster and tonic. Dry seeds of vidanga resemble pepper seeds and this herb is also called false black pepper. Vidanga seeds are best to use after storage of one year.
Rajnighantu described this herb with light properties, pungent taste and hot potency. It is used to make balance between vata and kapha. Vidanga is very effective to improve anorexia and digestive fire.
Major chemical compounds available in this herb are Embelin, homoembelin, christembine, quercitol and vilangine etc.
The herb is found in areas up to the height of 1500mts. Embelia ribes found in the hilly areas of India like lower and central Himalayas down to Konkan, Deccan, Western Ghats and South India. It is also distributed in China, Bhutan, Nepal and Pakistan. In India embelia is mostly distributed in Assam, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Arunachal Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Kerala.
Kingdom – Plantae
Family – Primulaceae
Order – Ericales