Common Name : Vidanga
Plant Parts Used : Berries (fruit) leaves, Root-bark
This climbing shrub, has to be differentially identified from Embelia tsjeriam-cottam. The roots are brownish gray, with hairy reddish rootiets. The stem is whitish gray, studded with lenticels, with a mature girth of 45-72 cms. Leaves are coriaceous, elliptic, lanceolate 6-14 cms long and 2-4 cms broad, alternating, acuminate entire, perfectly glabrous and petiole 1.0 cm - 0.8 cm margined. Midrib prominent, inflorescence panicles 15-60 cms in length, upper panicles often 7.5-10 cm pubescent. Flowers pentamerous, minute, white or yellow. Fruit A berry, 2.4-4 mm obovate to subglobular tipped with style, smooth, succulent, in dry condition with wrinkles with loss of calyx.
Characteristics and Constituents :
The main active component in the plant extract is Embelin (Embelic acid : 2,5-dihydroxy-3-undecyl-1, 4-Benzoquinone. Other components are christembeline, an alkaloid and a resinoid and volatile oil. Embeline reacts quantitatively with formaldehyde to give vidangin, methylene-bis-2-5-dihydroxy-4-undecyl-3-6-benzoquinones. Quercitol and fatty ingredients are also found.
Actions and Uses :
Studies on this plant can be described under three acreas -its antifertility effect, antioestrogenic action and as a anthelmintic agent. The powdered fruit administered orally to female rats in different doses prolonged the oestrus phase of the oestrous cycle and inhibited the fertility in 60% animals. Petroleum and methanol extracts prevented pregnancy by influencing the oestrous cycle in 75% of the test females. Benzene extract had a 51% antifertility efficacy and chloroform extract 37%. Purified embelin, isolated from the plant showed no anti-fertility effect. Anti-implantation effect was seen 100% in albino rats given 10 mg/kg embelin,and also in rabbits. Its anti-fertility effect has been postulated due to different physiological mechanisms 10,11some terming it a promising oral contraceptive too. Its antioestrogenic effect has been suggested experimentally. Experimental study on its anthelmintic action traditionally postulated, is reported. Alcoholic extract was stated to be effective in 80% infestation by Ascaris lumbricoides. It is used mainly in helminthiasis, and antifungal agent in ringworm, and in other chronic dermatoses. It is also given, boiled in milk, to infants as a digestive and against recurrent upper respiratory infections.
In an oral dose up to 3 /kg body weight embelin did not show lethal effect in rats and mice. Ten weeks' exposure to embelin (10 mg/kg body weight) showed no significant changes in the histology of heart, liver, kidney, adrenals and spleen in rodents. The haemograms were also normal. With the routine clinical doses no side effects have been reported.