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EMBELIA RIBES : A POTENTIAL HERB

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About Authors: 
Neha batra, honey jain
School of pharmaceutical science,
Jaipur National University, 
Jaipur

ABSTRACT
Herbal and natural products of folk medicine have been used for
centuries in every culture throughout the world.Embelia ribes burm f. also known as Vidanga is one of the oldest herbs in Indian traditional medicine.This species is reported to be vulnerable in the Western Ghats of Tamil Nadu and Karnataka states of India and at a lower risk in Kerala state of peninsular India. Embelia ribes traditionally used as appetizer, carminative, laxative,  Anthelmintic  and  in liver diseases. Embelin as main consistuents of Embelia ribes having medicinal and pharmacological properties. The plant also  contains quercitol and fatty ingredients; an alkaloid christembine, a resinoid, tannins and minute quantities of a volatile oil. Embelia ribes posses many pharmacological action like analgesic, anti-fertility, antioxidant, antiandrogenic  and many more.

Reference Id: PHARMATUTOR-ART-1165

INTRODUCTION
We all know that nature holds many secrets. However, since ancient times man has learned some of its secrets. Among the most useful ones, were those related to how medicinal plants could heal or ameliorate diseases or sufferings.Plants have fed the world and cured its ills since time immemorial. The use of plant in curing and healing is as old as man himself. A vast knowledge of medicinal plant must therefore have accumulated. But most of
this knowledge only exists as verbal tradition and only a fraction has got scientific basis till to date. The use of plants products is increasing in many segment of the population.  At present thousands of plant metabolites are being successfully used in the treatment of variety of diseases. According to an estimate, 80% of the world’s population rely upon plants or their medication.

Herbal and natural products of folk medicine have been used for centuries in every culture throughout the world. Scientists and medical professionals have shown increased interest in this field as they recognize the true health benefits of these remedies. “Let food be your medicine and let medicine be your food” was advised by the father of medicine, Hippocrates, over two million ago. It’s still true today that “you are what you eat.”

The World Health Organization (WHO) has recently defined traditional medicine (including herbal drugs) as comprising therapeutic practices that have been in existence, often for hundreds of years, before the development and spread of modern medicine and are still in use today. Or say, traditional medicine is the synthesis of therapeutic experience of generations of practicing physicians of indigenous systems of medicine. The traditional preparations comprise medicinal plants, minerals, organic matter, etc. Herbal drugs constitute only those traditional medicines which primarily use medicinal plant preparations for therapy. The classical Indian texts include Rigveda, Atherveda, Charak Samhita and Sushruta Samhita. The herbal medicines/traditional medicaments have, therefore, been derived from rich traditions of ancient civilizations and scientific heritage.

Embelia ribes
Embelia ribes burm f. also known as Vidanga is one of the oldest herbs in Indian traditional medicine. In India, it is one of the widely and commonly used Ayurvedic herbs.Embelia ribes have a long history of use in ayurvedic system of medicine in various forms like churna, asava, aristha, lauha, bati and taila. It is widely distributed throughout India. In Ayurveda,it is considered widely beneficial in variety of diseases, and is also used in Homeopathy.

Botanical Name:  Embelia Ribes Burn. f.

Common Name: False Pepper

Part Used: Fruits, Leaves and Root-bark.

Family Name: Myrsinaceae

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Classial names
Vidanga
Krimighna
Chitratandula

Jantunashana
Vella
Amogha
Kitashatru
Kitari
Krimijit
Krimiripu
Krimihara
Krimihrit
Jantughna
Jantuhrit

Vernacular names

English: Embelia

Hindi: Vayavidanga, Bhabhiranga, Baberang, Wawrung, Vayvidamg

SANSKRIT : Amodha, Amogha, Anthunashana Bhasmaka,Bidanga, Chibatandula, Chitra, ChitrabijaChitra-tandula, , Chitratandula, Citratandula,

Gahara, Gardabha, Ghosha, J vidangaka, Jantughna, Jantunashaka, Kairala, Kapali, Kevala, Krimighna, Krimiha, Krimikantaka, Krimiripu, Krimishetru, Krmighna, Krmiripu,Mogha, Mrigagamini, Pavaka, Rasayana, Shudratandula, Suchitrabija, Tandula, Tundula, Tunduliyaka, Vara, Vatari, Vella,Vellah, Vidanga, Vidangah, Vidangam, Vrishanashana, Vrishnasana

Bengali :Vidang, Biranga, Bhai-birrung

Gujrati: Vavading, Vayavadang, Vyvirang

Kannada: Vayuvilanga, Vayuvidanga

Malayalam: Vizhalari, Vilal

Marathi : Vavding, Karkannie

Punjabi: Babrung, Vavaring

Tamil : Vayuvilangam, Vayuvidangam, Vellal

Telugu : Vayuvidangalu, Vayu-vilamgam, Vayuvidangamu, Vidanga

Assam: Vidang

Kashmiri : Babading

Oriya: Bidanga, Vidanga, Baibidanga

DISTRIBUTION
This species is reported to be vulnerable in the Western Ghats of Tamil Nadu and Karnataka states of India and at a lower risk in Kerala state of peninsular India (Ravikumar and Ved 2000). E. ribes grows in semi evergreen and deciduous forests at an altitude of 1,500 m, throughout India. It is considered to be vulnerable due to excessive harvesting, because of its many uses (it is used in 75 ayurvedic preparations).

DESCRIPTION
A large scandant Straggling shrub with a long slender brittle stem, It is a Climbing creeper shurb, flxible, and terete branches; bark studded with lenticels.

Leaves  simple, coriaceous, alternate, elliptic-ovate-lanceolate, smooth leaves gland dotted,short and obtusely acuminate, broad, entire perfectly glabrous.

FLOWERS small, greenish yellow to whitish pink colored.

Fruits about the size of white pepper, reddish brown to blackish. The outer covering of the fruit is fragile and inside the seed is spotted.

Ayurvedic Properties of Embelia
Vidang Kul has the following Ayurvedic Properties:

· Rasa (Taste) – Kashaya (Astringent), Katu (Pungent)

· Guna (Properties) – Laghu (Light), Tikshan (Sharp), Ruksha (Dry)

· Virya (Potency) – Ushan (Hot)

· Prabhav (Effect) – Wormicide

Traditional uses

·  Appetizer

·  Mild Laxative

· Carminative: Either prevents formation of gas in the gastrointestinal tract or facilitates the expulsion of gas.

· Anthelmintic: Useful against tape-worms (but not against others).

· Alexiteric: It is believed to be useful in snake bite (resists poison), but it is not sufficient antidote to the venom.

· Useful against skin diseases, bronchitis, urinary discharges, Dyspepsia, liver ailments, jaundice, hemicrania, worms in wounds etc. among others.

· It is a common practice to put a few berries of the plant in the milk that is given to young children as it is believed to prevent flatulence.

Sushruta describes the fruit as anthelmintic, alterative and tonic, and recommends their use along with liquorice root, for the purrpose of strengthening the body and preventing the effects of age.

Medicinal uses of Embelia Ribes

·  Embelia root bark is acrid, astringent, anthelmintic, antifertility, antioestrogenic, carminative, digestive, laxative, soothing, stimulant, stomachic, and thermogenic. It is used in treating intestinal parasites and worms, abdominal disorders, skin fungal infections, flatulence, constipation, indigestion, headache, hemorrhoids, lung diseases, obesity, piles, pneumonia, mouth ulcers, toothache and sore throat. Its decoction is useful in insanity and heart diseases.

· Leaves possess astringent, thermogenic, demulcent and depurative properties. They are useful in skin diseases and leprosy.

· Embelia fruits are acrid, astringent, anthelmintic, bitter, brain tonic, carminative, contraceptive, diuretic, febrifuge, laxative, stimulant, and thermogenic. They are useful in leprosy, nervous debility, dyspepsia, flatulence, colic, tumors, asthma, fever, ascaris infestation, general debility and skin diseases. The fruit paste is used as a mouth wash to combat cavities, and also applied externally for skin related problems. The root decoction is taken for treating insanity and heart diseases.

· The fruit pulp is used as a purgative. The fresh juice is used as a cooling, diuretic and laxative. The dried berries are useful in treating intestinal worms and piles.

Active constituents
1.    Embelin : 2,5-dihydroxy-3-undecyl-2,5-cyclohexadiene-1,4-dione     (Hao et al., 2005)
2.    Embeliaribyl ester : n-pentacosanyl-n-nonadeca-7'-en-9'-alpha-ol-1'-oate
3.    Embelinol : 3-(4"-hydroxyoctadecanyloxy)-p-quinonyl-5-methylene-8-(10-pentanyloxy)-p-quinone
4.    Embeliol : 1,2,4,5-tetrahydroxy 3-undecanyl benzene Vilangin: methylenebis-(2,5-dihydroxy-4-undecyl-3,6-benzoquinone (Venkateswarlu & Bheemasankara Rao, 1961).
5.    Potassium embelate, 2,5-dihydroxy, 3-undecyl-1, 4-benzoquinone,(Johri et al., 1990).

Embelin: 2,5-dihydroxy-3-undecyl-p-benzoquinone, is the bioactive molecule in the  E. ribes and its various  pharmacological and medicinal properties have been investigated. Embelin occurs in golden yellow needles insoluble in water and soluble in alcohol, chloroform and benzene. It is reported to be effective against tapeworm but not against roundworm or hookworm. Embelin dyes silk and wool from an alcoholic solution.

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Secondary consistuents
The plant also  contains quercitol and fatty ingredients; an alkaloid christembine, a resinoid, tannins and minute quantities of a volatile oil.
•    Extract of berries showed antifertility activity in rats and also anti-oestrogenic activity (Prakash & Mathur, 1979).
•    Clinical studies were conducted with the alcoholic and aqueous extracts of the berries of E. ribes, obtained by percolation method, on 40 children infected by ascarides. The alcoholic extract was found very effective in the treatment of 80% of the cases while the aqueous extract cured 55% cases, rendering the stools free from ova. The worms were expelled from the stools. No purging was required. No evidence of toxicity was observed during and after the treatment. It is a wonderful herb in worms infestation. It has the anti bacterial and antiprotozoal properties (Kapoor et al., 1983).
•    Embelin altered the testicular histology and glycogen, gametogenic counts and accessory sex gland fructose at the dose levels 0.3, 0.4 and 0.5 mg/kg body weight 64 administered subcutaneously for 35 days. The compound showed antiandrogenic activity (Agrawal et al., 1986).
•    Potassium embelate showed potent centrally acting analgesic activity (Zutshi et al., 1989).
•    Embelin showed antispermatogenic effect both in vivo albino rats and in vitro (Gupta et al., 1989).
•    Embelin showed significant antibacterial activity mostly at the higher concentration (100 mg). The inhibition was highly significant against Staphylococcus aureus, Streptococcus pyogenes, Shigella flexneri, S. sonnei and Pseudomonas aeruginosa; moderate against Salmonella typhi, S. boydii and Proteus mirabilis (Chitra et al., 2003).
•    Methanol and aqueous extract of E. ribes showed moderate activity against multi-drug resistant Salmonella typhi (Rani and Khullar, 2004). Ethanol extract of the leaves of Embelia ribes Burm. and its isolated quinone compound embelin were screened for wound healing activity by excision, incision and dead space wound models on Swiss Albino Rats. Significant wound healing activity was observed in both ethanol crude extract (30 mg/ml) and the constituent treated groups (Xu et al., 2005).
•    Embelin showed chemopreventive effect against DENA/PB-induced hepatocarcinogenesis in Wistar rats (Sreepriya et al., 2005).
•    Embelin also showed encouraging antifertility activity. Embelin was found to be a NF-kappaB blocker and potential
         suppressor of tumorigenesis (Ahn et al., 2007).
•    In experimental diabetes, E. ribes displays its antioxidant potential and protection of pancreatic _-cells. Total glutathione activity was reduced by 69.13% in pancreatic tissue of diabetic rats as compared to normal control animals. The levels were significantly (P < 0.01) increased with ethanolic extract of E. ribes (in a dose of 200 mg/kg) (Bhandari et al., 2007).
•    Embelin,major compound present in the E. ribes showed good wound healing property (Kumara Swamy et al., 2007).
•    Aqueous E. ribes extract showed a significant blood glucose and blood pressure lowering potential. The same extract increased endogenous antioxidant defense against free radicals produced under hyperglycaemic conditions and thereby, protected the pancreatic â-cells against loss in streptozotocin induced diabetic rats (Bhandari and Ansari, 2008).
•    Ethanolic E. ribes extract treatment increased the antioxidant defense against methionine-induced hyperhomocysteinemia and oxidative stress in brain (Ansari and Bhandari, 2008).
•    Aqueous E. ribes extract (100 mg/kg) pretreatment orally
for 40 days in isoproterenol (ISO)-treated rats significantly decreased the heart rate, systolic blood pressure, increased levels of serum lactate dehydrogenase, serum creatine kinase and myocardial lipid peroxides and significantly increased the myocardial endogenous antioxidants (glutathione, superoxide dismutase and catalase) levels. Thus E. ribes extract pretreatment improved myocardial injury and enhanced the antioxidant defense against ISO-induced myocardial infarction in rats and exhibited cardioprotective property (Bhandari et al., 2008).
•    Chronic treatment with ethanolic E. ribes extract enhanced the antioxidant defense against MCAO- induced focal cerebral ischemia in rats and exhibited neuroprotective activity (Ansari et al., 2008).

REFERENCES
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embelate: A putative analgesic agent, with opiate receptors. Indian J.
Exp. Biol., 27: 656-657.
3.    Bhandari U, Jain N, Pillai KK (2007). Further studies on antioxidant
potential and protection of pancreatic _-cells by Embelia ribes in
Experimental diabetes. Exp. Diab. Res.1-6.
4.    Gupta S, Sanyal SN, Kanwar U (1989). Antispermatogenic effect of
embelin, a plant enzoquinone, on male albino rats in vivo and in vitro.
Contraception, 39: 307-320.
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6.    http://www.himalayahealthcare.com/herbfinder/h_embeli.htm Accessed September 2008
7.    Pharmacopoeia of India, 2nded, Delhi: Manager of Publication, 1966. P. 796
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9.    Bhandari U and Ansari MN. Ameliorative effect of an ethanol extract of Embelia ribes fruits on isoproterenol-induced cardiotoxicity in diabetic rats. Pharmaceutical Biology. 2009; 47(8): 669-674
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15.    Lian ju Yu, Cao Hong Lin, Wang Zhi Gao, Li Jing, YeWanHui, Su-Juan and Guangxi Zhiwu Guihaia. The community characteristics for
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18.    Bhandari U, Ansari MN (2008) Antihyperglycaemic activity of aqueous extract of Embelia ribes Burm in streptozotocin-induced diabetic rats. Indian Journal of Experimental Biology 46(8),
607-13
19.    Bhandari U, Ansari MN, Islam F (2008) Cardioprotective effect of aqueous extract of Embelia ribes Burm fruits against isoproterenol-induced myocardial infarction in albino rats. Indian Journal of Experimental Biology 46(1), 35-40
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