Vidanga (Embelia ribes) is a woody, almost creeper-like herb whose fruits can be easily mistaken for black pepper. The fruits bring a unique set of health benefits to the table, including anti-parasitic action and appetite control. The roots offer benefits as well.
Here’s a quick look at some of vidanga’s health-promoting compounds:
Most studies have exclusively glorified the compound embelin. While it certainly is a crucial component, we cannot dismiss the other compounds. Whole herbs work differently and often better than isolated compounds because of the synergy between their various compounds.
Why It’s So Great
1. Helps Control Weight
After a certain age, your metabolism slows down a tad. So you may need to do much more than before to keep your weight in check. That means counting your calories – what you eat and what you lose.
One way your body manages your calorie intake is through the satiety hormone called leptin, which is secreted by your white fat cells. It signals to your body when you need to stop eating. But here’s the twist – more leptin (something that happens when you have some extra pounds) doesn’t mean an even more suppressed appetite. On the contrary, it makes the brain less responsive to it; as a result, you feel hungrier.
The right kind of foods and herbs, like vidanga, however, could help your body maintain the leptin balance.
- The herb down-regulates leptin, making your brain respond to it once again.
With vidanga, an eating routine, and a little willpower, you’ll find yourself gaining more control over your weight.
2. Helps the Heart
Your ticker takes care of you every moment. Do you take care of your ticker in turn? You could with the right lifestyle and dietary choices. Herbs like vidanga could help your heart do its regular work smoothly.
- Keeps the energy production up: Mitochondria are tiny structures inside cells that use nutrients to make energy. When it comes to the heart, they need to be working at their best at all times. Vidanga helps them do that by promoting their enzyme activity.
- Protects heart tissue: Heart tissue is particularly vulnerable to damaging molecules called free radicals. This is because the body’s natural fail-safes called antioxidants keep a low profile in the heart. Embelin gives your heart’s antioxidant enzymes a boost while also scavenging free radicals itself.
In addition, the herb may be able to maintain your normal heart rate and blood pressure.
3. Supports Mental Well-being
A lot of us can testify to taking life a little too seriously, overthinking and straining ourselves over the smallest matters. Sometimes those matters are real situations, other times they’re just in our heads. Our brains could do with a little help while riding these emotional roller coasters. A calming herb like vidanga is the need of the hour.
- Has an effect on the GABA system: GABA is a calming brain chemical that applies the brakes on your nerves when they go into overdrive. Vidanga has some kind of conversation with GABA, helping you feel less anxious.
- Reduces oxidative stress: Feelings of negativity and low mood often involve an upsurge of free radicals in the brain. As we said, vidanga has antioxidant compounds like embelin that can help remove free radicals.
Given that vidanga is a red-listed plant species, it may be difficult for you to come by its fruit easily. It may be easier to find the powdered version of its fruit or root in supplements. Have about 3–5 gm of this powder rationed out over the course of a day, and make it a habit.
One thing to be mindful about is that vidanga may be contraceptive in nature in the long run. So if that interferes with your plans in any way, you should talk to your doctor about it.