Did you know that there are some 3,000 different types of parasites and that around 50% of Americans struggle with parasitic issues on a daily basis? And if Ayurvedic texts and research are to be believed, parasite growth is encouraged by a weak digestive fire or low Agni. If only there was a natural herb that had the ability to increase digestive fire and get rid of them organically. Well, we have two words for you: Embelia ribes.
Embelia Ribes (Botanical name), also known as the false black pepper – due to its peppercorn-like appearance – has many forms and names. Some call it the white-flowered embelia while others know it as Baibidang (Hindi name) or Vidanga (Sanskrit name). Belonging to the “Primulaceae” family, it is widely distributed throughout India (primarily in the Himalayas and northern parts).
Vidanga Physical Appearance
A climbing shrub, it is typically 4-5 feet in height. Generally, the roots and fruits are used for treatment. It is pungent and astringent in taste, and light, dry, and strong in appearance. The anatomical uses of vidanga are:
- The berries (in powdered form) calm the large intestine, easing issues such as constipation, colic, dyspepsia, flatulence, and piles. Its paste treats fungal infections and skin infections such as ringworm and vitiligo respectively.
- Its juice acts as a diuretic and laxative.
- The leaves help treat sore throats and dry mouth.
- The roots decrease flatulence and treat cough and diarrhoea.
- The fruits are used for curing headache, rhinitis, haemorrhage, epilepsy, and insomnia.
- A decoction of the dried fruits is used for fever, and for chest and skin disease.
- Embelin – one of the active ingredients of the herb – is used to colour silk and woollen fabrics.
The Powerhouse of Folk Medicine: Vidanga – Benefits, Uses, & Dosage
Vidanga is one of the most powerful anti-parasitic and anthelmintic herbs known to Ayurveda. It is widely used against the infestation of intestinal worms and also helps in enhancing brain memory. Along with this, it possesses anti-microbial, anti-inflammatory, anti-tumour, anti-hemolith, analgesic, anti-oxidant rejuvenating, blood purifying, laxative, and astringent properties.
Typically, Embelia Ribes is used for stomach-related problems such as vomiting, bloating, gastritis, indigestion, worm infestation, constipation. etc. However, this multi-purpose herb has other benefits as well, namely:
Combine vidanga (embelia ribes), ginger, yavaksara (kshara prepared from barley), Loha bhasma with honey and powder of yava (a combination of barley and amla). Conversely, you can consume “Amrutadi Guggulu” where vidanga is one of the key ingredients that aids weight loss.
Toothache / Tooth Worms
Use vidanga fruit’s churan (powder) and mix hing (Asafoetida) with it. Apply on the affected area for relief. Alternatively, its water decoction can be used for oil pulling to provide relief from bad breath and tooth decay.
A powerful concoction (vidanga drink for parasites) is simple to make. Take 2gm of vidanga powder mixed with jaggery (Gur) at night for 3-4 days. The worms will die and get excreted out of the body.
Take 1/4 tea-spoon vidanga, 1/4 teaspoon turmeric, and 1/8 teaspoon neem in half a cup of lukewarm water three times daily before meals for up to 60 days or as long as needed (don’t exceed beyond 60 days).
Combine 1/2 tea-spoon Guduchi, 1/4 tea-spoon vidanga, and 1/4 tea-spoon musta in half a cup of warm water three times daily before meals for up to 60 days or as long as needed (don’t exceed beyond 60 days).
Combine 1/2 tea-spoon vidanga, 1/4 tea-spoon neem, and 1/4 tea-spoon chitrak in half a cup of warm water three times a day, before meals for 7 days. On the 7th day, take 1-2 Tbsp of castor oil mixed in warm ginger tea before bed.
For children getting a recurring fever, stomach upset, nausea, weakness, constipation
Take 5-6 vidanga fruit along with honey. Let the child lick it and see the wonders unfold.
Itching / Skin issues
Take vidanga paste (vidanga powder mixed in water) and apply on the affected area twice a day.
Studies prove that the ethanol extract of the Embelia ribes leaves had a healing effect on Swiss Albino Rats. Surprisingly, the wound healing effect was comparable with the standard skin ointment Framycetin. Additionally, the vidanga plant is a key ingredient in the preparation of “Pathyadi Lepa” which cures a number of skin diseases.
Musculoskeletal disorder (vata rog), headaches, joint pains
Take 1/2 spoon vidanga fruit powder mixed with 1 teaspoon garlic twice a day for 3-4 days.
Cold and cough
Take vidanga powder and put in a clean cloth. Keep sniffing for relief.
Teeth chattering (typically affects elders)
Take 6 gm vidanga and 100 gm curd twice a day for 3 days.
Take a ripe vidanga fruit, remove the skin and grind to a powder. Mix equal parts mulethi root powder and consume on an empty stomach early morning along with cold water.
Smell vidanga powder for relief. Alternatively, combine long pepper/ laung, watermelon seeds, black pepper, fennel seeds, and vidanga and grind. Mix one teaspoon of this powder in one cup milk and take once a day for migraine relief.
Vidanga for babies (8-month-old or up)
Clean the seeds and grind it to a powder. Don’t strain it. Take 1 cup milk and 1.4 teaspoon vidanga powder along with 1/2 teaspoon powdered mishri (don’t use sugar). Boil milk and keep mixing milk so that it’s not too hot. Strain the milk and give to the child.
Tip: Use low-fat milk for easy digestion for the child.
Combine vidanga, dhania, ginger, ajwain, and chirata and consume.
Popularly coined the “Vidanga” method, it acts as a potent contraceptive agent and comes with 83 per cent anti-fertility activity as per research.
Respiratory distress syndrome
The herb helps reduce-LPS induced airway inflammation and other side effects of LPS such as the “die-off syndrome” where people experience issues when trying to rid the gut of bacteria, yeast, and parasites.
A mixture of sesame oil cakes, vidanga, cow dung, and sugar cane juice sprinkled at plant roots enables it to flower and blossom all-year round.
It naturally detoxifies the blood, lymphatic system, and colon, and is used in many cleansing Ayurvedic formulas such as Tikta Ghrita, Triphala Ghrita, and Mahasudarshana Churna.
Remedy: Take 1/2 tsp anantamul, 1/4 tsp vidanga, and 1/4 tsp manjishta three times daily. Mix these herbs in 1/2 cup of warm ginger tea (replace with 1/2 cup of warm water when needed) and take up to 30 minutes before meals.
Note: The recommended daily dose is 3-5 gm divided into parts throughout the day. However, to relieve worm infestation, the recommended dose is 5-10 gm a day.
Important: Before taking the vidanga herb, make sure to consult a doctor just as a precautionary measure or any dormant allergies you may be unaware of.
- People dealing with infertility or trying to conceive should refrain from using this herb because of its contraceptive effects.
- Pregnant women should consult a doctor before consuming this herb in any form.
- Due to its high pitta, it may cause hyperacidity, excessive heat, diarrhoea, loose stools, anger, etc.
- May reduce testosterone levels in men.
No other side effects are known It can easily be given to children or lactating mothers.
Note: It is not recommended to ingest this herb in high doses for long periods of time.
It is because of these holistic benefits that vidanga has occupied a centre stage in Ayurvedic treatment. Whether it’s killing parasites or healing infections (bacterial, fungal, etc.), vidanga should be your go-to herb. Try it and experience the benefits first-hand.