Bael/Bel/Bilva/Wood Apple/ Aeagle marmelos

By R. K. Nigam

Bael plant is a middle sized tree with slender branches and the leaves are quite unique with trifoliate shape. All parts of the Bael ( root , leaf , fruit and seed ) are very useful in the management of various diseases. Bael plant is native to India , Burma and Bangladesh. Bael tree grows upto 18 metres height and the thickness of tree is about 3-4 feet. Its fruits are globose in shape with a hard exterior and it does not split open even upon ripening. The ripened fruit contains aromatic pulp with around 10 to 15 seeds, enclosed in a sac filled with a natural adhesive. Bael plant has many medicinal properties and contains a lot of bioactive compounds that helps in fighting many diseases.

Besides having the medicinal properties, Bael fruit is widely used as Pudding, Juices, Jam, Chutney, Smoothie, Bael Flavoured Lassi, Bael Mojito, Bael Sarbat and Murabba.

Properties of Bael
  1. Some Ayurvedic properties of Bael are: Unripe Bael Fruit: Potency – Ushna / Hot ; Rasa / Taste – Katu / Tikta / Kashya / Pungent / Bitter / Astringent Taste; Vipaka / Metabolic property after digestion – Pungent taste ; Dosha – Balance Kapha and Vata Dosha, Increases Pitta ; Action –Improves digestion.Ripe Bael Fruit: Rasa / Taste –Madhur / Sweet ; Potency – Cool ; Dosha – Aggravates all the three doshas; Action – Difficult to digest. The ripe fruit in limited quantity keeps the body and mind cool.
  2. Bael is a gut-friendly fruit and is extensively used in the treatment of various gut problems such as diarrhoea, dysentery, peptic ulcer etc. due to its anti-protozoal and anti-microbial activity. It also works as a mild laxative. The unripe fruit pulp has effective potential activity than ripe fruit.Bael fruit possesses many other therapeutic effects such asliver protective, gut protective, anti-diarrheal, antiviral, anti-bacterial and scavenging free radicals activity
  3. According to Ayurveda, Unripe Bael fruit pulp along with honey is very effective in controlling diarrhoea, dysentery and other gastrointestinal disorders. Unripe Bael fruit has antidiarrheal and anti-microbial activity, which reduces the growth and inhibits the release of toxins by harmful micro-organisms. Thus Bael controls the infection and minimizes the frequency of stool in case of diarrhoea
  4. Bael fruit extract minimizes high plasma glucose level and oxidative stress. Oxidative stress causes damage to the pancreatic beta-cell (producer of insulin) and thus leads to high plasma glucose levels. Bael fruit has anti-oxidant property, which reduces the load of free radicals. High dose of Bael fruit extract may be more effective than anti-diabetic drugs. It possesses hypoglycaemic properties and may be included safely in a diabetic diet.

  1. Bael is rich in carbohydrates, which provides ample amount of energy to the body for carrying out various physical activities. Consumption in a limited quantity helps the brain cells to work better. Bael fruit extract helps in decreasing oxidative stress, increases the supply of blood, nutrients and oxygen to stomach tissues and thus restores the loss of nutrition.
  2. Bael fruit helps to minimize bad cholesterol due to its anti-hyper lipidemic property. The anti-oxidant, appetizer and digestive properties of Bael fruit minimizes bad cholesterol LDL and Triglycerides. Bael fruit helps to improve digestion and prevents the formation of Ama, thus controlling cholesterol. It also increases the transport of cholesterol from tissues to the liver and this in turn slows down the accumulation of lipids in artery walls and minimizes the risk of heart problems
  3. Allergies and infections are mainly caused due to microbial and bacterial activity. Bael fruit protects against a wide variety of pathogenic organisms such as bacteria, virus, fungi and protozoa due to its anti-microbial and anti-bacterial activity. Thus it may also prevent lung infection.
  4. Bael fruit juice helps in improving the immune response since it is rich in antioxidant and many phytochemicals. Treatment with Bael fruit extract stimulates the immune cells and antibodies, which in turn fights against infection. Such an effect keeps infectious diseases and disorders at bay.
  5. Regulates High level of mucosa and oxidative stress due to presence of Helicobacter pylori bacteria in the body. When mucosal flow of blood is restricted or gastro-protection is diminished, H. pylori bacteria can cause gastric ulcer. Bael fruit plays a vital role in the treatment of aspirin–induced gastric ulcers, due to the presence of anti-oxidants. It elevates the activity of anti-oxidants such as Glutathione and Superoxide dismutase in the stomach and duodenum tissues. Such an increase in Anti-oxidants prevents damage to the inner lining of stomach and duodenum
  6. Bael fruit and leaf extract can be used for the treatment of peptic ulcer. The pulp forms a mucilaginous layer on the gastric mucosa and thus prevents the interaction of acid with mucosal layer. Phenolic compounds present in Bael fruit also prevent ulcer by scavenging free radicals .
  7. Bael, being a rich source of Iron, acts as a natural blood purifier and increases red blood cells and haemoglobin count in the blood. The abundance of Potassium mineral in Bael makes it an appropriate fruit for hypertension. It prevents the hardening of the arteries, thus minimizing strokes and preventing heart attacks.
  8. Scurvy disease, caused due to the deficiency of Vitamin C, causes harmful effects on the blood vessels, leading to long-term health problems. Bael fruit is rich in vitamin C, which helps in preventing scurvy disease. It enriches the body with the desired requirement of Vitamin C, which can prevent the skin diseases too.
  1. Bael fruit purifies the blood and removes the toxins from the body due to its laxative properties, which help in removing the toxin with ama and thus helps in enhancing the physical health. The most popular way of consuming Bael fruit is in the form of homemade drink using the pulp. Bael is alkaline in nature and thereby helps to clear the digestive tract, detoxify the body and alleviate acidity
  2. Urination expels out the salts and other materials from the body with water and balances the body temperature and water level. Anyone suffering from water retention and anxiety need medication, Bael root and leaves have natural diuretic activity and increases the passage of urine. Both root and leaves enhance the urine volume and increase the excretion of electrolytes such as sodium and potassium minerals. They decrease the reabsorption of sodium minerals and fluid in the body. Bael root has more diuretic property than leaves .
  3. Bael leaves have excellent liver protective effects due to anti-fungal, anti-bacterial, anti-microbial and anti-viral properties that protects the liver against infection. Toxic agent cause damage to the liver cells. Bael increases the level of anti-oxidants such as glutathione and superoxide in the blood stream, which inhibit the action of toxic agent. It further restores the normal structure and function of the liver cells .
  4. Bael leaves have mild laxative property, which prevents constipation. It also helps in controlling cough and bronchitis due to its expectorant activity. The anti-inflammatory activity of Bael leaves helps manage fever and bleeding nostrils. Bael leaves have anti-diabetic properties, which reduces blood sugar levels
  5. Bael leaves extract helps to reduce the enhanced level of thyroid hormones due to the presence of scopoletin, which is responsible for the reduction of thyroid hormone. Bael leaves extract have nephro-protective activity and anti-diabetic activity. Bael leaves extract enhance haemoglobin level, pathogen clearance action except that it can also increase white blood cell count.
  6. Bael seed may provide protection against aspirin-induced ulcer, due to the presence of pyrano-coumarins compound (which have Aanti-oxidant properties), which is responsible for anti-ulcer activity.
Chemical Constituents of Bael
  1. Nutritional value of Bael fruit; as per about 100 gm near about are; contains; Carbohydrates – 31 gm, Fibre- 2.80 gm; Fat – 0.30 gm; Proteins – 1.7 gm; Vitamins (Vitamin A, C,Thiamine B1, Riboflavin, Niacin, and Carotene); Minerals (Potassium – 600 mg, Calcium – 80 mg, Phosphorus – 50 mg, Iron – 0.6 mg ). Rivoflavin Vitamins are mainly found in fully ripe fruit. However, the Ascorbic acid content decreases with fruit ripening. It also contains Polysaccharides like Galactose, Arabinose and UronicAcid. Some types of Carotenoids are also found in Bael fruit, which are responsible for Yellow pale colour of the fruit.
  2. The active component Feronia gum found in the bark and branches of the Bael tree, which may be helpful in minimizing the blood sugar levels. It regulates the production of insulin from the cells into the blood stream and low glycemic index of Bael, maintains the blood sugar level.
  3. Bael plant contains most important constituents such as Coumarins, Alkaloids, Terpenoids, Phenolic Acid, Flavonoids, Tannin, Amino Acid and essential oils. These compounds provide anti-diabetic, Anti-cancerous, Anti-microbial and Immunogenic activities. Tannin mainly increases during ripening
  4. Coumarins,found in all parts of Bael, which contain mainly, Xanthotoxol, Imperatorin, Marmelide, Marmesin, Marmelosin (A, B, C), Psoralen, Umbelliferone etc. These compounds are useful as anti-diabetic, anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory. Insulin secretion can be improved by Coumarin, which is present in Bael fruit and leaves.
  5. Xanthotoxol and Marmelosin A, B and C are natural compounds, which are Furocoumarin and possessed potent Anti-oxidant properties in Bael. Maemelide has more potential and has anti-microbial activity and provides a source of dietary fibre, which helps with digestion and relieves constipation.

  1. Alkaloids found in Bael fruits and leaves, which mainly contains Marmelins, Aegeline, Fragrine, Aeglinosides A and B , O-Methylhalfordinol and Iso-pentylhalfordinol etc. These compounds also help with their anti-diabetic, anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory properties. Aegeline reduces blood cholesterol level and also prevents liver damage.
  2. Tarpenoids are found in the fruits & leaves of Bael or Aeagle marmelos plant, which mainly contain Caryophyllene, Cineol, Elemol, Linalool, Humulene, Terpinolene, Limonene, Myrcene, Methyl perilate etc. Caryophyllene is natural bicyclic Sesquiterpene, which has anti-inflammatory, anti-microbial & anti-oxidant properties helps in relieving anxiety and pain, reduces cholesterol and prevents osteoporosis
  3. Tarpenoids are found in the fruits & leaves of Bael or Aeagle marmelos plant, which mainly contain Caryophyllene, Cineol, Elemol, Linalool, Humulene, Terpinolene, Limonene, Myrcene, Methyl perilate etc. Caryophyllene is natural bicyclic Sesquiterpene, which has anti-inflammatory, anti-microbial & anti-oxidant properties helps in relieving anxiety and pain, reduces cholesterol and prevents osteoporosis
  4. Flavonoids found in Bael plant in the form of Quercetin, Rutin, Catechin etc. which are responsible for its Anti-oxidant activity. Quercetinis a pentahydroxy flavones , which has Anti-oxidant and Anti-inflammatory effects that minimizes swelling, control blood pressure and helps prevent heart disease. Rutine helps to support blood circulation and a healthy heart and enhances the action of vitamin C.
  5. Tannins found in unripe stage of Bael fruit in the form of Skimminianine, Quinoline etc,. which are responsible for its Anti-microbial property, helps in reducing blood pressure, and lipid levels. The ripe fruit of Bael helps in cleaning the intestine, due to presence of Tannins manages constipation
  6. Amino acids are generally found in the fruits and bark of Bael in the form of Tryosine, Leucine, Methionine, Aspartic Acid, Arginine and Alanine, which help in improving insulin sensitivity. Amino acid plays an important role in metabolism and detoxification of our the body. They are also necessary for tissue growth and absorption of micro-nutrients.
  7. Marmeline and Aegeline are natural compounds found in unripe Bael fruit, which belong to the class of organic compounds known as phenol ethers. They provide anti-diabetic, antimicrobial & immunogenic activities.
Side Effects of Bael Fruit
  1. Ripe Bael fruits are not considered as healthy if consumed in excess amount, may lead to unnecessary bloating and indigestion. Excess amount of unripe Bael fruit may cause stomach upset , hyper acidity and constipation. It is not suitable for people with throat/voice disorders.
  2. Having the potential to lower blood sugar levels, over consumption of Bael fruit results in the excessive lowering of blood sugar levels.
  3. Bael fruit is rich in Tannins and hence excessive consumption of it over a prolonged time period may cause the body to exhibit carcinogenic properties.

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