BAEL, Aegle marmelos

BAEL

Latin name: Aegle marmelos

English names: Stone apple, Bengal quince

Sanskrit name: Bilva, Bael

Indian name: Bel or Siriphal

Medicinal parts used: Fruit, Root, Bark, Leaves, Flowers

Bael is a fruit-bearing tree indigenous to dry forests on hills and plains of central and southern India, southern Nepal, Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia and Thailand. 

The tree, which is the only species in the genus Aegle, grows up to 18 meters tall and bears thorns and fragrant flowers. It has a woody-skinned, smooth fruit 5-15 cm in diameter. The skin of some forms of the fruit is so hard it must be cracked open with a hammer. It has numerous seeds, which are densely covered with fibrous hairs and are embedded in a thick, gluey, aromatic pulp.

It is one of the most useful medicinal plants of India. Its medicinal properties have been described in the ancient medical treatise in Sanskrit, Charaka Samhita.

Therapeutic use:

  • Fruits are used as an ayurvedic remedy for such ailments as diarrhea, dysentery, intestinal parasites, dryness of the eyes, and the common cold. Ripe bael fruit is the best of all laxatives. It clears and tones up the intestines.
  • Root bark is used in the form of decoction as remedy for hypochondriasis, melancholia, intermittent fever, and palpitation of the heart.
  • Leaves are made into poultice and applied to inflamed parts. The fresh juice of the leaves is given with honey as a laxative and febrifuge, and for asthmatic complaints.
  • A sweet scented extract from the flowers is used as lotion for the eyes.

Precautions:

The ripe fruit should not be taken regularly at a stretch. When used without a break, it produces a lack of normal elasticity and consequent flatulence in the abdomen.

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