BAEL A wonderful fruit

Dr. Banarsi Lal Dr. Vikas Tandon
Bael (Aegle marmelos) is a holy plant native to India and has high ethnomedicinal, therapeutic and pharmaceutical significance. It is also known as bilva, bilpathre , golden apple, stone apple or wood apple. This plant belongs to Rutaceae family and has been used by the inhabitants of the Indian subcontinent for over 5000 years.
It has a great aesthetic value for the Hindus. This plant is used in the religious ceremonies and rituals and has also been mentioned in the Vedas and Mahabharata. It is present throughout South East Asia as a naturalized species.
This plant is generally grown near the Lord Shiva temples for the worship of Lord Shiva. The plant is considered to be sacred by Hindus. According to the Skanda Purana, the bael plant grew from the sweat of droplets of Goddess Parvati which fell on the Mandrachal mountain.
Hence, it is believed that the Goddess resides in this plant in her all forms. This plant contains many diverse bioactive components in leaves, fruits, flowers, root and bark which show multiple biological activities and high medical values.
Bael plant also possesses very high tannin contents (9 per cent) in fruits, pulp leaves. Its fruit takes 10 to 11 months to ripen. Its fruit is very astringent, sweet and aromatic in nature. Bael is rich in alakloids, polysaccharides, antioxidants, beta carotene, vitamin B, vitamin C etc. It also contains calcium, phosphorus, iron, protein and fiber. It is inflammatory in nature and helps to cure inflammation.
Bael has various medicinal uses. It is very useful to cure the various respiratory infections. The leaf decoction is an effective remedy to relieve asthma and bronchitis. It is also useful to cure tuberculosis and urinary diseases.
Its regular use prevents gynecological disorders. The bitter, pungent juice from the leaves mixed with honey is given to reduce mucous discharge from nose and throat. It is very effective to cure constipation. Ripe bael fruit is considered as the best of all laxatives. It cleans and tones up the intestines. The fresh ripe pulp and the “sherbat” made from it, is taken for their mild laxative and digestive effects.
Marmelosin derived from the pulp is very useful as a laxative and also has a diuretic effect. The unripe or half ripe fruit is very effective remedy for chronic diarrhea and dysentery. It leads to reduce the acidity level. An infusion of bael leaves is regarded as an effective food remedy for peptic ulcer and Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS).Its leaves juice with the honey helps to treat fever. Its flowers are used as epilepsy tonic. The extract of unripe fruit is useful to cure piles and hemorrhoids.
It is full of antioxidants and helps to stimulate the pancreas to secrete insulin which lowers the blood sugar. Its leaves can be used against the diabetes. Its leaves are soaked overnight in water.
This water is strained and taken as a drink in the morning. Bael leaves are rich in tannin which reduces inflammation and helps in healing of ulcers. Bael roots are antidote to reduce snake venom. It is also useful for the heart diseases and can also cure scurvy. Bael squash can be prepared by mixing bael fruit pulp, sugar, cumin powder, black salt and water. Its juice and squash are very pleasant in nature. It increases the appetite. It is also used for making candy, toffee, pulp powder and other eatable products.