Aegle Marmelos (Bilva or Bael): All About
Aegle marmelos, a plant indigenous to India has been used by the inhabitants of the Indian subcontinent for over 5000 years. It is believed that Goddess Parvati ji worshiped under the Bilva tree for three thousand years in Haridwar to get married to Lord Shiva. Shiva Purana says that a person who serves and feed milk, ghee and cereals to a hungry devotee of Lord Shiva on roots of its tree, he never faces poverty in his life.
In Ayurevdic texts Aegle marmelosl tree has been held in high esteem owing to its medicinal value. The leaves, bark, roots, fruits and seeds are used extensively in the Indian traditional system of medicine the Ayurveda and in various folk medicine to treat myriad ailments.
Bael fruits are of dietary use and the fruit pulp is used to prepare delicacies like murabba, puddings and juice.
Bael fruits are also used in the treatment of chronic diarrhea, dysentery, and peptic ulcers, as a laxative and to recuperate from respiratory affections in various folk medicines. Scientific studies have validated many of the ethnomedicinal uses and reports indicate that the fruit possesses broad range of therapeutic effects that includes free radical scavenging, antioxidant, inhibition of lipid peroxidation, antibacterial, antiviral, anti-diarrheal, gastroprotective, anti-ulcerative colitis, hepatoprotective, anti-diabetic, cardioprotective and radioprotective effects.
English Names - Bael tree, Bengal Quince.
Common Names - Bilva, Shriphala, Shaandilya, Shailuusha, Shalya, Sadaaphala, Mahaakapitha (Kapitha is equated with Feronia limonia), Maaluura, Rudrajataa, Rudranirmaalya, Shivajataakhya, Bael, Vilvam, Koovilam.
Aegle Marmelos (Bilva or Bael): Health Benefits
Stomachic, antimicrobial (specific for diarrhoea, colitis,dysentery and enteric infections), digestive, astringent, spasmolytic, hypoglycaemic.
THERAPEUTIC EFFECTIVENESS OF COMPONENTS OF AEGLE MARMELOS:
Antiulcer activity: Luvangetin proved effective against aspirin-induced and pylorus-ligated gastric ulcers in rats; and cold restraint gastric ulcers induced by stress in guinea pigs and rats through the mechanism of mucosal defensive factors.
Antimicrobial activity: Essential oils from the leaves completely inhibited germination of fungal spores. Oil from seeds proved to have antibacterial properties while ethanolic extract from roots displayed activity against various microbes.
Hypoglycemic activity: Aqueous extract from the leaves exhibited hypoglycemic activity against diabetes in rats. Its effectiveness was similar to that induced by insulin in restoring glucose level in blood and body weight.
Anti-diarrhoeal activity: Effectiveness of preparation consisting Aegle Marmelos was proved against diarrhea.
Anti-inflammatory activity: Aqueous extract from the roots proved effective against chronic and acute inflammation.
Aegle Marmelos (Bilva or Bael): Nutrient Composition
Aegle marmelos has numerous components housed in various parts of the tree including:
Alkaloids: Leaves of Aegle Marmelos contain alkaloids like aegeline and aegelenine. The aerial parts and roots of the tree contain skimmianine and Anthraquinones.
Coumarins: The fruits contain marmelosin, marmelide, allo-imperatorin and psoralen. The roots contain psoralen, umbelliferone, scopoletin, xanthotoxin, and dimethoxy coumarin. The heartwood contains glucosides and seeds contain luvangetin.
Tannins: The fruits contain tannic-acid while leaves contain condensed form of tannins.
Triterpenes: The roots contain lupeo and beta-sitosterol.
Aegle Marmelos (Bilva or Bael): Various Applications
It is a very good antidiarrhoeal. Ayurveda suggests the use of root in dysuria; stembark in diabetes and lipid disorders.
A number of coumarins (including xanthotoxol and alloimperatorin methyl ether), flavonoids (including rutin and marmesin), alkaloids (including alpha-fagarine), sterols and essential oils have been isolated from plant parts. Pectin is an important constituent of the fruit.
Alkaloid aegeline, present in the leaves, is efficacious in asthma. The active principle in aqueous extract of leaf shows hypoglycaemic activity similar to insulin. Leaves are also given in jaundice. Alcoholic extract of seeds shows antiallergic activity. Marmin, a coumarin isolated from the roots, shows anti-inflammatory effects experimentally. Marmin also inhibited gastric haemorrhagic lesions in rats and exhibited antiulcer effects.
Seed oil showed beneficial effects in regeneration of tumour cells. Aurapten is found to be the most potent inhibitor of heart rate. Rootbark is used for palpitation of the heart. Eagle marmelos had a potential to reduce chemical-induced skin papillomas, reducing the tumour incidence, tumour yield, tumour burden, and cumulative number of papillomas.
Ripe bael fruit has been traditionally used also as a well-known laxative, treating constipation, however, the unripe fruit is also a common remedy for diarrhoea and dysentery, inhibiting intestinal motility and having also documented gastroprotective effects.
Aegle Marmelos (Bilva or Bael): THERAPEUTIC USES
Many parts of this tree including unripe and ripe fruits; fruit-pulp, rind of ripe fruits, bark, roots and bark of roots are used in various medicinal preparations.
Green fruits: These possess effective digestive, astringent and stomachic properties.
Ripe fruits: Relieves chronic dysentery and diarrhea. They act as tonic for brain and heart. They also relieve bacillary dysentery and assist in relieving of ulcerated mucosa of intestine.
Roots: In the decoction form, roots relieve intermittent fever, melancholia and palpitation of heart. It is also an ingredient in preparing an Ayurvedic medicine called, ‘Dashmool or Dashmoolarisht’.
Leaves: Bitter tasting leaves act as febrifuge. ‘Poultice’ prepared using them relieves ophthalmic disorder and ulcer. Fresh leaves are used to relieve conditions like weak heart, beri-beri and dropsy.
It finds ample use as abortifacient, astringent, anodyne, digestive, dentifrice, refrigerant, laxative, and restorative.
Aegle Marmelos (Bilva or Bael): Medicinal Applications
1. Bael fruit serves as stool binding and so it is used in condition like diarrhea, dysentery etc.
2. Powder of bael leaves has anti diabetic effect.
3. Juice of bael leaves with black pepper i.e. kali marich is helpful in jaundice.
4. Syrup made of pulp of bael fruit, with tamarind is useful in burning sensation on skin, diarrhea, yellow coloration of skin, nausea etc.
5. When there is pain and redness in eyes, poultice of bael leaves applied on eyes gives good result.
6. Muarraba of bael is effective in diarrhea, especially when there is bleeding.
7. Bael’s pulp used with jaggery gives results in blood disorders.
8. In excessive bleeding and problem of leucorrhoea, juice of bael leaves with cumin seed (jeera) and milk is effective.
9. Local application of one part of dry powder of Bael fruit and two parts of mustard oil are useful in burn.
10. In stress, insomnia and feeling of nervousness milk boiled with bark of bael tree give good result.
11. Oil prepared by boiling bael’s soft leaves with cow urine, sesame oil and goat milk in the ratio of 1: 4:8 is useful in ear diseases.
12. Bael leaves soaked overnight in water and strained water is drunk in the morning gives relief in pain and discomfort in peptic ulcers.
13. Bilva fruit powder is useful in irritable bowel syndrome and it has stomachic.
14. The extract of bael leaves is useful in conjunctivitis, deafness and leucorrhea.
15. The young leaves and shoots of bilva tree are used as food in Thailand. They have nutritional value.
16. The leaf extract has been reported to have antispermatogenic effect and were used a fertility control in Bangladesh.
17. Ayurvedic texts hold that Aegle marmelos pacifies vata, kafa and enhances digestive fire (jatharagni).
18. Paste of bael with shunthi, pipali and black pepper is useful in jaundice.
Aegle Marmelos (Bilva or Bael): Treatment of Various Ailments
The bark, roots, stem, flowers and leaves of the aegle marmelos tree are used in relieving various ailments such as:
Constipation: Fresh and unripe fruit relieves constipation.
Jaundice: Consuming 10 to 15 ml of liquid relieves jaundice.
Leucorrhoea: Consuming three to six grams of the root- powder relieves Leucorrhoea.
Dehydration of ruminants and Diarrhea: Bark, roots, stem, flowers and leaves relieve these conditions.
Bronchitis: Consuming juice of Aegle Marmelos once a day relieves bronchitis.
Wound, inflammation and pain: Paste of Aegle Marmelos relieves these conditions.
Menstrual problem: Extract from the whole plant relieves this condition.
Brain: Aegle Marmelos extract acts as brain tonic.
Others: Miscarriages, placenta retention, vaginal hemorrhage, milk fever, orchiditis, tachycardia, swelling of throat, bradycardia, pneumonia, hemorrhagic septicemia, lumbar fracture, polyurea and so on are relieved using pulp of ripe and unripe fruit.
Various parts of Aegle Marmelos are used to relieve other problems like cholera, stomach ache, snake-bite, malaria, dyspepsia, convulsion, thirst, spasm, nausea, itches, tumors, sores and proctitis.
Ripened fruit of bael is one of a good laxative. Pulp of ripened fruit or in the form of a sharbat /syrup is useful in constipation. Ripened fruit of Bael is difficult to digest and is full of doshas, so its use if not specified should be avoided.