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Embelia ribes - Burm.f.

Common Name False black pepper, White-flowered Embelia
Family Primulaceae
USDA hardiness 10-12
Known Hazards None known
Habitats Forest or at forest borders at elevations from sea level to 1,500 metres[ 310 ].
Range E. Asia - southern China, India, Malaysia, Indo-China and Indonesia.
Edibility Rating    (3 of 5)
Other Uses    (2 of 5)
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating    (4 of 5)
Care (info)
Tender Moist Soil Semi-shade
Embelia ribes False black pepper, White-flowered Embelia
Embelia ribes False black pepper, White-flowered Embelia


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Other common names include False Black Pepper, Vidanga, Nainidang, and Vavding. Memory Improver or otherwise known as White-flowered Embelia (Embelia ribes) is a tropical bush or climbing shrub of usually 20-35 m long and 1-2 m tall. It has purple or red stalks. It is used in Ayurveda medicine. Dried seeds are powdered and used to kill tapeworms. Paste of the berries is used for skin conditions and headache. Leaves are combined with ginger and used as a mouthwash to treat ulcers and sore throats. Bark paste is used to treat pneumonia and other lung diseases. Root infusion is for coughs and diarrhoea. Young leaves and shoots, on the other hand, are edible and usually eaten raw. The fruit has a sour-sweet flavour. It can be eaten raw as well or made into refreshing drink. Young stems are chewed as a delicacy. Crushed fresh bark is used to repel leeches.

Physical Characteristics

 icon of manicon of climber
Embelia ribes is an evergreen Climber growing to 15 m (49ft) by 0.3 m (1ft in) at a fast rate.
It is hardy to zone (UK) 10.
Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland). It prefers moist soil.

UK Hardiness Map US Hardiness Map


Embelia garciniifolia Wall. ex Miq. Embelia glandulifera Wight


Edible Uses

Edible Parts: Fruit  Leaves  Shoots  Stem
Edible Uses:

Edible portion: Leaves, Fruit, Spice. Young leaves and shoots - raw[ 301 ]. Often used as a side-dish with rice, when the leaves are usually mixed with other greens[ 301 ]. An acid flavour, the leaves can be used as a substitute for tamarind in soups and vegetable dishes[ 301 ]. Fruit - raw[ 301 ]. A sour-sweet flavour, they are eaten as a delicacy, mostly by children[ 301 , 310 ]. The dried fruit is used as an adulterant of black pepper[ 46 , 301 ]. A sweet, refreshing drink can be prepared from the leaves and the fruits[ 301 ]. The young stems are chewed as a delicacy[ 301 ].


Medicinal Uses

Plants For A Future can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.

The dried berries (seeds) are alterative, anthelmintic, carminative and stimulant[ 304 ]. An aqueous extract of the berries has shown antifertility activity[ 304 ]. The powdered berries are widely used to kill tapeworms - castor oil is taken later in order to expel the dead worm[ 304 , 310 ]. A paste of the berries is used to treat skin problems such as ringworm[ 304 ]. The paste, mixed with oil, has been used as a poultice to treat headaches[ 304 ]. The pulp is purgative[ 304 ]. The fresh juice is cooling, diuretic and laxative[ 304 ]. The leaves, combined with ginger, have been used as a mouth wash to treat ulcers and sore throats[ 304 ]. A paste of the bark is applied to the chest to treat lung diseases such as pneumonia[ 304 ]. An infusion of the roots is given to treat coughs and diarrhoea[ 310 ]. A major component of the ayurvedic medicine Amrit kalash[ 301 ].


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Other Uses

Other Uses: The crushed fresh bark is used to repel leeches[ 310 ].

Special Uses


Cultivation details

Prefers partial shade. Saplings can be planted next to tree species. As a woody climber needs support. Harvesting after two years. Cultivated in all soil types. Well-drained, light soils or sandy loam are best.


Temperature Converter

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Plants can be grown from seeds. The ideal time for seed collection in the summer/monsoon - rainy season. Mature seeds of E. ribes are purple to black unlike red colored seeds of E. basaal. Propagation can be achieved through seed germination and through stem cuttings. Pencil sized stem cuttings of 1.0-1.5 cm thickness bearing 3 nodes are planted 3 cm deep in polybags and kept in shade.

Other Names

If available other names are mentioned here

Akar asam kubang, Akar kelimpar, Akar sulur kerang, Areuj kathembang, Aroi kachembang, Baberang, Babrung, Bai huan suan teng guo, Baibirang, Biranga, Birangi Kabuli, Butterfly pea, Chu'prek sangkong, Kakannie, Laoqiu, Madie, Memory improver, Songgui, Vaivarang, Vavading, Vayuvilanga, Vidanga, Vizhal, Vrishanasana, Wawrung, amogha, babading, baberang, babrang, babrug, babrung, baobarang, barang, baranj, baranj kabuli, bhabhiranga, bidanga, bidongo, biranga, biranj kabuli, false pepper, jantughna, karkannie, kirmighna, krmighna, krmihara, krmiripu, kera?am, k?mighna, k?mihara, k?miripu, lumping seladang, silgilla, tiruvittikanni, vaividang, vaividungalu, vara?ai, var?a?ai, vavading, vavaring, vavding, vayavadang, vayavidanga, vayuvidanga, vayuvidangalu, vayuvidangam, vayuvilanga, vayuvilangam, vella, vidang, vidanga, vishalam, vizalari, vizhalari, vi?a?ga (fruit)), vayuvi?a?kam, vayvi?a?kam (fruit).

Found In

Countries where the plant has been found are listed here if the information is available

Asia, Australia, Burma, Cambodia, China, India, Indochina, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Pacific, Papua New Guinea, PNG, Philippines, SE Asia, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Vietnam,

Weed Potential

Right plant wrong place. We are currently updating this section. Please note that a plant may be invasive in one area but may not in your area so it’s worth checking.

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants Status : This taxon has not yet been assessed

Related Plants
Latin NameCommon NameHabitHeightHardinessGrowthSoilShadeMoistureEdibleMedicinalOther

Growth: S = slow M = medium F = fast. Soil: L = light (sandy) M = medium H = heavy (clay). pH: A = acid N = neutral B = basic (alkaline). Shade: F = full shade S = semi-shade N = no shade. Moisture: D = dry M = Moist We = wet Wa = water.


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Links / References

For a list of references used on this page please go here
A special thanks to Ken Fern for some of the information used on this page.

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