"Embelia is the dried fruit of Embelia Ribes, Burm. fil., and also of Embelia robusta, Roxb." Br.
Embelia was introduced into the Br. Pharm. (1914) from the British Addendum (1900). It is officially described as "globular, about four millimetres in diameter, varying in color from dull red to nearly black; warty or striated longitudinally; superior, minutely beaked and often attached to a 5-partite calyx and slender pedicel. Pericarp brittle, enclosing a single seed surrounded by a delicate membrane. Seed reddish, marked with lighter spots. Endosperm horny and slightly ruminated. Taste slightly astringent and aromatic." Br.
The genus Embelia (Fam. Myrsinaceae) includes a large number of creeping or almost climbing tropical shrubs. They possess petiolate leaves, small white flowers and are especially abundant in tropical Asia, Embelia Ribes extending as far as southern China. The fruits of this plant somewhat resemble pepper and have been used as an adulterant of it.
Embelia contains 2.5 per cent. of embelic acid, C9H14O2, which occurs in golden yellow crystals, which are insoluble in water and soluble in alcohol, ether, chloroform and benzene.
Uses.—Embelia, under the names of viranga, vayvirang or birang-i-kabuli, has long been employed in India as an anthelmintic and has found its way into European commerce. It has but slight laxative properties, so that it is better to follow it by a purgative. It is especially tenicidal, the tape worm being expelled dead. The powdered drug may be given in milk early in the morning. Warden has found that ammonium embelate is an effective tenicide in dose of three grains (0.2 Gm.) for children and six grains (0.4 Gm.) or more for adults. As it is nearly tasteless and soluble it may be readily administered in syrup.
Dose, of embelia, one to four drachms (3.9-15.5 Gm.).