Aegle Marmelos is a herb commonly known as Bengal quince, Apple Wood, or Holy Fryit Tree in English; bael, bel, bilpatra or beli in Hindi and bilva in Sanskrit.
Bilva tree is regarded ‘auspicious’ in Hindu religion and is also referred to as, ‘Shivadruma,’ meaning- the tree of Shiva in ancient scriptures. Its wood and leaves are offered to Hindu gods, Shiva and Parvati.
Its ripe fruit is eaten fresh. Fruit-pulp is mixed with tamarind and sugar to make up a refreshing drink and also in preparing jams, nectar and squashes.
CHARACTERISTICS OF AEGLE MARMELOS
This tree is found in all regions including dry, deciduous forests in southern and central India, and in higher reaches of Sub-Himalayan tract up to an altitude of 1,200 meters. It is also grown in Baluchistan, Myanmar, Andaman Island and South-East Asia.
Aegle Marmelos grows up to a height of 7.5 meters. It has sharp spines on its branches, large leaves and greenish-white, sweet smelling flowers. Ripe fruits of this tree are green-white and sub-spherical having a woody and tough outer coat. The roots are large, woody and often curved. The bark of the tree is light grey and corky.
THERAPEUTIC USE OF AEGLE MARMELOS
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. They are used in preparing ‘murabbas’.
- 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’.
- 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 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.
- 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.
CARE OF 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.
Experimental studies have proven therapeutic effectiveness of components of Aegle Marmelos through various activities like:
- 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.
SAFETY AND PRECAUTIONARY TIPS WHILE USING AEGLE MARMELOS
Although extracts of Aegle Marmelos is regarded safe in prescribed dosages, long time use can lead to flatulence in abdomen, heaviness in stomach and reduction in elasticity in intestines.
PLANET AYURVEDA PRODUCTS CONTAINING AEGLE MARMELOS
Aegle Marmelos is found in the following Planet Ayurveda products:-
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