Organic HerbsVidanga

September 27, 20210


Botanical name – Embelia ribes Burm. F.

Family – Myrsinaceae

Common Names

English –  False black pepper

Hindi – Baibidang

Sanskrit – Vidanga

Parts used – Fruits


  • The plant is distributed in India, Sri Lanka, Singapore and Malaysia.
  • In India it is mainly found in Western Ghats and Eastern Himalayas, hilly regions of Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Bengal, Orissa, Andhra Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh. In North  East  region,  it  is  commonly distributed  in  Arunachal  Pradesh,  Meghalaya  and Mizoram in the altitudinal zone of 500 to 2500 msl.
  • It is a red listed climbing shrub found in the semi-evergreen to evergreen forests of India, Sri Lanka, Malaysia and China. The species is also reported to be vulnerable in the Western Ghats of Tamil Nadu and Karnataka states of India and at lower risk in Kerala state.

Chemical constituents

  • Embelia ribes contain Embelin(2,5-dihydroxy-3-undecyl-1,4-benzoquinone) a naturally occurring alkyl substituted hydroxy benzoquinone,  & Quercitol, Fatty ingredients, Alkaloid -Schristembine, a Resinoid, Tannins and minute quantity of volatile oils.
  • The Vilangin  compound  was extracted from the dry ripe berries of E. ribes plant .
  • The other constituents isolated are volatile oils, fixed oil, phenolic acids such  as  Caffeic  acid,  Vanillic  acid,  Chlorogenic  acid, Cinnamic  acid,  o-cumaric  acid  from  the  berries  of  ribes plant.
  • The new compounds detected from the seeds are Embelinol, Embeliaribyl ester and Embeliol.
  • The embelin is found in the fruits, it also  contains  components  like  Potassium embelate,  2-5  dihydroxy-4-undecyl-3-6-benzoquinone, quercitol  and fatty  ingredients .
  • The seeds also contain  Cr,  K,  Ca,  Cu,  Zn  and  Mn  along  with carbohydrates,  steroids,  cardiac  glycosides,  alkaloids, anthraquinones, tannins and phenolics.
  • The stem  and  leaves  contain  Embeliphenol  A  and Embelanide

Uses  of Vidanga

Anthelmintic  Activity

The ethanolic extract isolated from the fruit part of the plant showed  an  anthelmintic  activity  up  to  93%  against gastrointestinal  nematode  larvae  named  Haemonchus contortus.


The  aqueous extract  isolated from  the fruit of the E. ribes plant was examined for Antidiabetic activity. It showed  a significant  reduction  in the  heart  rate,  systolic  blood  pressure,  blood glycosylated  hemoglobin, blood  glucose, serum  lactate dehydrogenase, creatine kinase and increase in the blood glutathione  levels .The  Ethanolic  extract  isolated  from  the  fruit berries  showed a decrease in the  blood  glucose  level,  heart  rate,  systolic  blood pressure. It  was also  revealed that the  Ethanolic extract  decreased  the  pancreatic  thiobarbituric  acid reactive substances  in the pancreatic tissues.


The  embelin  component  and  its  salts  shows analgesic  activity  in  which Isobutyl  amineembelin showed the significant analgesic property. The  potassium embellate acts centrally to create an analgesic effect that is  not  antagonized  by  naloxone  indicating  a  different central site  of action. Due to its  high oral efficacy and non-narcotic property, this  plant is more accepted  than morphine. The Potassium Embellate is highly considered for its  analgesic  property  because  of  its  fewer  side effects,  high  therapeutic  index,  absence  of  abstinence and long-term  safety.

The analgesic activity of potassium embellate is due to the involvement of mu and kappa binding sites in the brain. The  mono  and  dipotassium  salts  of Embelin  showed  higher  analgesic  activity  in  visceral evoked  response  when  compared  with  thermal  evoked responses. It was also detected that Potassium Embellate possesses a  strong affinity for  the kappa type  of opiate receptors. In  another  study,  the  effect  of  potassium embellate  on  neurotransmitter was observed where the drug significantly affected  the  levels  of Noradrenaline  and Acetylcholinesterase activity.

Wound Healing

The  Ethanolic  extract  and  Embelin  compound isolated from the leaves of E. ribes plant was examined for the wound healing activity by excision, incision and dead  space  wounds.  A significant  wound healing  activity was  observed in  the Embelin treated groups where the epithelialization of the incision wound  was faster with  the high rate  of wound contraction. The tensile strength of the incision  wound was significantly enhanced  than the  ethanol extract.  In the  dead  space  wound  model,  the  weight  of  the granulation  was  increased  indicating  an  increase  in collagenation.

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