False pepper black

Known as Embella ribes and Val 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 balances Kapha and Vata.

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.

We have used False Black Pepper in:

Quick Facts

Name: False Black Pepper
Scientific Name: Embelia ribes
Cultivated in: India, China, Sri Lanka
Other names: Vidanga
Habitat Hilly region. Heights upto 1500m
Soil Black well drained soil
Aroma Peppery
Plant parts used Roots, Leaves, Seeds

Known as in

Hindi Vayavidanga
Marathi Kokla
Gujrati Vayavadang
Bengali Virang
Malayalam Vizhal
Tamil Vaivilangam
Kannada Vayu Vilanga

Ayurvedic Facts

Sanskrit Name: Vidanga
Taste: Pungent, Bitter
Energitics: Waming
Effect on Doshas: Balances Kapha and Vata
Used for Treating: Flatulence, Tape Worm, Piles, Fever, Inflammation, Skin Infection