Known asEmbella ribesandVal Vidanka,the False Black Pepper gets its name because of its similarities in appearance to the black pepper plant.
This outsized climbing creeper shrub has a fragile, flexible whitish grey stem with tapering branches. The leaves are elliptical in shape and the flowers range from greenish yellow to pinkish white. The fruits are similar in appearance to black pepper.
The fruit of vidanka is wrinkled and globose in pale red to almost black color. These fruits have a brittle external with a solitary seed. This seed is covered with tiny, crystalline powder and depressed at their base.
Commonly found in the hilly regions of central and lower the Himalayas, Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Kerala. Aside from India, False Black Pepper is also found in Sri Lanka, Southern China ad certain pats of Africa.
Ayurveda And False Black Pepper
This pungent, astringent tasting herb balancesKaphaandVata.
Ancient Indian physician Sushruta had claimed that the false black pepper also known as the vidanga fruit possesses restorative and anthelmintic properties. In his texts he has recommended using this fruit along with liquorice root to prevent aging effects and to make the body stronger.
Vidanga infused water is also given to new mothers to prevent stomachaches and gas formation. This herb is considered to be a very potent antiseptic and is used to cure tapeworm infestations.
False black pepper possesses the ability to eliminate fat from the body, in turn helping combat obesity. It’s also used for protecting teeth, treating cavities and mouth ulcers.
Every part of this plant is beneficial one way or the other. The oil extracted from the plant is very effective against skin conditions like eczema. Rubbing the leaves on the head gives immediate relief from headaches. The bark of the roots gives relief from piles and the leaves are known to be effective in treating leprosy.
Overall this herb is an effective astringent, diuretic, anti-inflammatory, antibacterial and carminative. It contains tannins, volatile oil, resins, embelin and fatty acids.