A very common condiment used in Indian pickling, the Carrissa carandas or ring berry is a semi-vine shrub hailing from the dogbane family. The leaves and stem when injured, seep a white milky sap. About two and a half inches long, the leaves are dark green in colour and shiny. They have large spines on the back and are fragrant. Fruit sizes are generally variable and occur in clusters. The plant can thrive in a wide range of soils and is a drought-tolerant shrub. Found at elevations of up to 1800 m, this herb is available in the Himalayas (the Siwalik Hills).
The fruit is abundant in energy, vitamin A and ascorbic acid. It is a potent astringent and a wonderful cure for anaemia. The ascorbic acid is a remedy for stomach pain, constipation, digestion and any type of biliousness. Traditionally, the fruit has been used as a cure for insanity and anorexia. It is also known to treat skin conditions, diarrhoea, earaches and fever.