Health Benefits of False Black Pepper (Embelia ribes)

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False Black Pepper Quick Facts
Name: False Black Pepper
Scientific Name: Embelia ribes
Origin Native to India, Singapore, Sri Lanka and Malaysia. In India it is usually found in Western Ghats and Eastern Himalayas, hilly regions of Arunachal Pradesh, Orissa, Bengal, Assam, Madhya Pradesh and Andhra Pradesh.
Colors Brownish-black
Shapes Globose, 3-4 mm. diameter
Taste Astringent
Embelia ribes Burm. also known as False Black pepper, is a large woody tropical forest scandent shrub with slender branches and glanddotted leaves. Stems are whitish gray and roots are brownish gray with hairy reddish roots. Fruits are small, smooth and succulent which encompasses reddish seeds that run slightly black. It is considered to be carminative, digestive, laxative and useful for treating pneumonia and dropsy. Dried fruits are used to prepare medicines and used as anti-carminative, anti-helminthic, anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, anti-astringent and anti-diuretic.

False Black pepper is the red listed climbing shrub found in semi-evergreen to evergreen forests of India, Malaysia, Sri Lanka and China. It is available in moist deciduous forests of Western Ghats of South India, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu & Kashmir, Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra and Assam. The fruits are used in various Ayurvedic formulations. Traditionally, it is used as analgesic, antibacterial, antipyretic, anthelmintic and antifertility in various parts of India. The traditional medicine formed from this herb varies from region to region. Timely harvesting and ripening is an important factor for potency of this herb.


False Black Pepper is a straggling shrub with long, slender, flexible and terete branches that have long internodes. Leaves are elliptic or elliptic lanceolate, glabrous on both side, shining above and silvery beneath. Petioles are glabrous, more or less margined and 6-16 mm long. Flowers are small, numerous, pentamerous, in lax panicled racemes which are terminal. Calyx is 1.25 mm long, sepals are ciliate, broadly triangular-ovate and petals are greenish yellow, elliptic, subobtuse, 4 mm long and pubescent on both sides. Flowers are followed by globose berries which are smooth, succulent, about 3-4 mm diameter and black when ripened. Berries enclose a reddish and horny seed which is depressed at the base with ruminated endosperm. The fruit has aromatic, astringent with slight pungency taste.

Health Benefits of False Black Pepper

  1. Fungal infections

Take 50 grams of False Black Pepper decoction twice a day and take Robustal powder as ingredient in food items. For skin infections, apply the Robustal berry paste on infected parts of skin and bath with water boiled with False Black Pepper.

  1. Stomach worms

Consume 3 grams of False Black Pepper powder with honey twice a day. It is a cure for all the stomach problems associated with worms.

  1. Heart ailments

Prepare the mixture of False Black Pepper, asafoetida, dried ginger, long pepper, himalayan pink salt, sanna rashtram, sadyaksharam and siphonanthus indica (each in equal quantities). Take this powder 3 grams mixed with cow ghee twice a day to provide relief from heart ailments, cough and eliminate germs.

  1. Facial paralysis

Make a fine paste with equal quantities of black sesame and False Black Pepper with water. Using soft cloth, put 4-5 drops from paste into nose and breath. It helps to provide relief from facial paralysis due to heat.

  1. Blood motions

Make the powder from slightly fried False Black Pepper. Consume 3 grams of powder with sugar syrup. Take it 2-3 times a day to relieve blood motions.

  1. Sticky motions

In a clay pot, slightly fry 30 grams of False Black Pepper. Grind it and prepare a fine powder with a cloth. Combine candy sugar powder in equal quantity. Take 6 gm of this powder three times a day with butter milk.

  1. Intestinal worms

Grind False Black Pepper and Aristlochia bracteolata in equal amounts and make pills of 10 gm each. Take this pill twice a day with water to eliminate all worms in intestines.

  1. Back ache during menses

Grind 10 gm of False Black Pepper, 20 gm of jaggery and 5 gm of dried ginger and mix it in ½ liter water. Heat this water till the water is reduced to half. Let it cool down after filtering. Drink this decoction regularly once in a day to lower backache during menses.

  1. Eye brow pains, forehead pain and killing germs in the skull

Grind False Black Pepper, jaggery and Himalayan pink salt in equal amounts with juice of betel nut leaves. Let it dry in a sunlight for a day and make a fine powder. Add a pinch of powder to little water. Use it as nasal drops and take 4-5 drops to provide relief from eyebrow pains and forehead pains.

  1. Elephantiasis

Grind equal quantities of False Black Pepper, Picrorhiza-kurroa, Himalayan cedar, Tinospora cordifolia and dried ginger with cow urine. Apply this paste on infected leg.

  1. Grinding teeth during sleep

Grind slightly fried False Black Pepper. Take the seeds out of grape fruits. Put the False Black Pepper into grapes and make a pill. Taking one pill in the morning and evening by children helps to eliminate worm in intestines and grinding teeth during sleep.

  1. Intestinal worms

False Black Pepper has Kriminghna property that helps to manages worm infestation such as roundworm, threadworms and types of worm.

  1. Indigestion

False Black Pepper has hot potency which helps to treat indigestion, nausea, vomiting and flatulence. It manages constipation with its laxative property.

  1. Depression

The antidepressant property in False Black Pepper helps to manage depression.

  1. Obesity

False Black Pepper helps to reduce fat and clears toxins in the body due to its hot potency that promotes digestion and eliminates undigested foods.

  1. Toothache

Apply the mixture of False Black Pepper powder and Asafoetida on affected area in order to get relief. As an alternative, its water decoction is used for oil pulling in order to provide relief from bad breath and tooth decay.

  1. Bacterial Infection

Take 1/4 teaspoon turmeric, 1/4 tea-spoon False Black Pepper, and 1/8 teaspoon neem with half cup of lukewarm water three times regularly before meals for upto 60 days.

  1. Parasitic infection

Take the mixture of 1/4 tea-spoon neem, 1/2 tea-spoon False Black Pepper, and 1/4 tea-spoon chitrak with half a cup of warm water 3 times a day before meals for upto 7 days. On 7th day, take 1-2 tbsp. of castor oil in warm ginger tea before bed.

  1. Migraine

Grind long pepper/ laung, black pepper, watermelon seeds, fennel seeds and False Black Pepper. Take 1 teaspoon of this powder in 1 cup milk once a day to provide relief from migraine.

Traditional uses

  • It detoxifies the blood and treats various skin ailments.
  • It rejuvenates the skin and improves skin complexion.
  • Use the water decoction for oil pulling to provide relief from dental caries and bad breath.
  • Use it in the form of paste for skin problems.
  • It is used to treat bloating, vomiting, gastritis, indigestion and constipation.
  • Fruits are helpful for rhinitis, headache, epilepsy, haemorrhage and insomnia.
  • Decoction prepared from dried fruits is used to treat fever and chest problems.
  • Take fruit powder with milk to eliminate tapeworms.
  • Root infusion is used to treat diarrhea and cough.
  • In North East India, False Black Pepper is used for treating liver disorders and eliminate worms.
  • Young leaves are used to treat abdominal pain.
  • False Black Pepper is also used for snake bites and scorpion sting.
  • Combine leaves with ginger and use it as a mouth wash as a cure for sore throats and ulcers.
  • Apply the bark paste to chest for treating lung diseases such as pneumonia.
  • Use the powder for indigestion, constipation, epilepsy, convulsions, infections in body and wormal infestation.
  • Apply the oil to skin associated problems and wound infections.

Culinary uses

  • Mix the leaves with other greens and use it as a side dish with rice.
  • Use the leaves as a substitute for tamarind in soups or vegetable dishes.
  • Consume fruits in raw form.
  • Make a refreshing drink from leaves and fruits.
  • Young stems are chewed as delicacy.

Side effects

  • Due to its contraceptive effects, people with infertility or trying to conceive should avoid this herb.
  • Pregnant women should consult the doctor before using this herb.
  • It may cause excessive heat, hyperacidity, anger, loose stools and diarrhea due to its high pitta.
  • In men, it could lower testosterone levels.






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