Embelia ribes

Embelia ribes Burm. f. (Myrsinaceae)

Syn : Embelia glandulifera Wight, Samara ribes Kurz

English names: Embelia, Embelia fruit.

Sanskrit names: Jantughna, Krimighna, Krimiripu, Vella, Vidanga.

Vernacular names: Ben: Biranga; Guj : Vaivarang, Vavading; Hin : Baberang, Vayvidang; Kan : Vayuvilanga; Mar: Vaivarang, Vavadinga; Mal: Vizhal; Pun: Baburung; Tam and Tel: Vayuvilanga.

Traditional use: GARHWALI and TRIBES OF NORTH-EAST INDIA: Seed: in skin diseases, ringworms, leprosy; ETHNIC COMMUNITIES OF KAMRUP (Assam) : Fruit: in stomach complaints.

MATSYA PURANA : important medicinal plant; AGNI PURANA : beneficial for gastroenteritis, cirrhosis of liver, oedema, skin diseases including leprosy and effective in killing worms in alimentary canal; VIJACINTAMANITANTRA: consumption of powdered fruit along with fruits of Emblica officinalis, honey and sesame-oil improves quality of sperms; BHAVAPRAKASHA: it is pungent, removes morbidity, improves blood circulation, stimulates appetite, acts against phlegm, makes the body light, kills worms of all types; RAJANIGHANTU: it is pungent, hot, light, enhances balance between wind and phlegm, beneficial in anorexia and improves digestive power.

AYURVEDA : (a) Root: acrid, astringent, useful in colic, dyspepsia, flatulence, odontalgia, stomach pain and increases exothermic metabolism; (b) Leaf: astringent, demulcent, depurative, thermogenic, useful in skin diseases including leprosy; (c) Fruit: acrid, alexeteric, alterant, anodyne, anthelmintic, astringent, bitter, brain tonic, carminative, contraceptive, depurative, digestive, diuretic, febrifuge, laxative, rejuvenating, stimulant, tonic, vulnerary, and useful in amnetia, asthma, colic, constipation, cardiopathy, dental caries, dyspepsia, dyspnoea, fever, flatulence, general debility, hemicramia, odontalgia, psychopathy, respiratory troubles and ring­worms; (d) Seed: a constituent of Vidangadi Yoga, an antifertility drug.

SIDDHA : dried fruits are used to prepare the drug Vaivitankam.

Modern use : Plant: cures abdominal tumours, and aenemeas, cystic tumours, pyorrhoea, useful against tape- worms; EtOH extract of plant: slightly active against Ecoli; one of the constituents of 'Gasex', and some oral contraceptives; Fruit: cures dental, oral, throat troubles except cancer of lips and ptyslism, constituent of some quick aboriticide; Aqueous extract of fruit: pronounced antifertility activity, anthelmintic against earthworms; Fruit-powder: expels tapeworms within 6-24 hours, if taken with curd in empty stomach, effective against giardia; Seed: antibiotic, anthelmintic, antituberculosis, alterative and stimulative.

Phytography : Large scandent shrub; branches long, slender, flexible, bark with many lenticels; leaves simple, alternate, petioles ±0.8 cm, lamina elliptic, leathery, glabrous, shining above, silvery beneath, glandular pits present on the lower surface near the midrib; racemes axillary and terminal, laxly panicled; flowers white, may be greenish, ±0.2 cm long; berries dull red to black, globular, small, 1- or 2-seeded; seeds globose, hollowed at the base, white spotted, albuminous.

Phenology: Flowering: peak in March-April; Fruiting: August.

Distribution: Throughout India up to 1750 m in hilly regions; common in lower hills; Sri Lanka, Malaya.

Ecology and cultivation: Grows in shola border, thickets; wild.

Chemical contents: Fruit: embelin.

Remark: Ethnic communities of Cannanore (Kerala) make bowstring with the bark.