Life (ayu) is the combination (samyoga) of body, senses, mind and reincarnating soul. Ayurveda is the most sacred science of life, beneficial to humans both in this world and the world beyond. ― Charaka
You must have been offered “Bael ka Sherbet” at some point in your life, especially during the scorching summers. Generally touted to be a “mom’ s-favourite,” the Bilva/Bael fruit has been in medicinal use since 2000 BC. In fact, it is one of the ten most effective pain-relieving herbs known to mankind – also termed as “Dashamoola.” It is often referred to as “Shiva Druma” or the tree of Shiva if ancient scriptures are anything to go by.
Native to the Indian, Sri Lankan, and Bangladesh region, the Bilva plant is offered to Lord Shiva and is considered sacred. Whether you call it Wood Apple/Bengal Quince (English name), Bael/Bael Patra/Sriphal/Kaitha (Hindi name), Bilva (Sanskrit name) or Aegle Marmelos (Botanical name), Bael is known in the world over for its therapeutic, medicinal, spiritual, and religious significance.
Bilva’s Physical Characteristics
- It is dry and astringent in nature.
- It has a bitter taste.
- It stimulates the digestive fire.
- It has light guna and comes with hot potency.
Origins of the Bel Patra leaf are interesting and intriguing, to say the least. As per the ancient religious text, Skanda Purana, this tree is known to have grown from Goddess Parvati’s sweat droplets which fell on the Mandrachal mountain. To that end, it is said that the Goddess lives in this tree in all Her forms: as Girija in the roots, Maheshwari in the trunk, Dakshayani in the branches, Parvati in the leaves, Katyayani in its fruit, and finally Gauri in the flowers. The Bel patra (leaf) represents the three gunas that eliminate negative vibrations in the human body: Sattva, Rajas, and Tamas. It also signifies the holy trinity: Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva. In other scriptures, it is commonly referred to as the three eyes of Shiva. Additionally, Bilva is used in the oil, powder, and juice forms and is used to treat a variety of health and wellness issues.
Bilva’s Integrated Uses: A 360 Degree Overview
The Bilva tree is a multi-purpose and aromatic tree. All its parts, from the fruit and leaves to its bark and seeds have been actively used in folklore medicine for the last 5,000 years.
Bilva’s Significance by Its Plant Parts
- Flowers: It helps to prevent diarrhoea, dysentery and vomiting.
- Leaves: It is known to balance all the three doshas; it also alleviates abdominal colic pain, gastritis, etc.
- Stem: It is an excellent heart tonic and helps treat rheumatoid arthritis, and aids in digestion.
- Roots: It helps to stop vomiting and enhances digestion.
- Ripe fruit: It is difficult to digest and is known to aggravate all three doshas.
- Unripe fruit: It is known to balance the Kapha and Pitta doshas, and also helps treat haemorrhoids and vitiligo.
The Bilva fruit comes power-packed with minerals such as potassium, calcium, iron, copper, zinc, manganese, and low amounts of sodium. That’s not all. It also contains a multitude of vitamins such as vitamin B1, B2, B3, and vitamin C.
Additionally, the Bael fruit is extensively used to make chutneys, milkshakes, juice, murabba, ice-cream, fruit smoothies, etc.
Nutritional Information & Dosage
If you’re thinking of including the Bilva fruit in your diet, it’ll be your wisest decision yet. Here’s why:
Each Bilva fruit (per 100 gm) contains:
- 0.3 mg fat
- 31.8 gm carbohydrates
- 1.8 mg protein
- 55 gm vitamin A
- 60 gm vitamin c
- 85 mg of calcium
- 2.9 mg fibre
- 137 k.cal energy
- Bilva in the churna form: 1-3 gm
- Bilva in the juice form: The quantity depends on the specific remedy being used.
Did You Know?
Since age-old times, raw bael’s dried powder mixed with ghee and turmeric powder was used to treat fractured bones.
Bilwa’s Bevy of Benefits
Did you know that the Bael fruit extract has anti-oxidant, anti-diabetic, anti-microbial, anti-viral, laxative and anti-fungal properties? This ensures that it not only treats health issues but addresses the root cause of the problem as well. Plus, the Bilva tree can treat bleeding gums, dysentery, asthma, jaundice, anaemia etc. Above all, it is known to strengthen the immune system, boost your energy levels, and offer a host of other health benefits such as:
Bael is considered to be a natural remedy for treating constipation and helps to flush out the intestinal toxins.
Suggested Remedy: Add a pinch of salt and pepper to the pulp and drink the juice.
Treats Gastric Ulcer
Containing phenolic compounds, Bael combats gastric ulcers and balances acidic levels in the stomach.
Controls Blood Sugar Levels
It encourages insulin production and regulates blood sugar levels.
A therapeutic herb, the Bilwa leaf extract helps to maintain cholesterol levels in the blood. It is also known to increase the levels of good cholesterol (HDL) in the blood.
Cures Heart Issues
In order to prevent heart attacks and strokes, Bael is a God-send. It controls lipid metabolism and induces better fat breakdown.
Suggested Remedy: Mix ghee with the juice of a ripe Bael fruit and consume daily.
Restricts Respiratory Problems
Unknown to many, Bilva’s oil can be effective in treating asthma and cold.
Suggested Remedy: Apply the Bael oil on the head and massage your scalp before having a bath. Alternatively, you can grind 5 gm of Bael leaf and combine with a spoonful of honey to get immediate relief.
Treats Diarrhoea And Cholera
The Bael fruit is a gut-friendly fruit and is rich in tannin which makes it effective for treating diarrhoea and cholera. But perhaps the best part is that it treats these issues without the onset of fever.
Suggested Remedy: Bael fruit’s dry powder or its pulp (without the seeds) help to fight chronic diarrhoea.
Possessing hypoglycemic properties, Bael fruit (also famously known as “Diabetic Bel”) doubles up as an anti-diabetic drug and can be given to a diabetic patient without worry.
Suggested Remedy: You can drink a glass of Bael juice every day in the morning.
Bael is extremely effective in treating wounds if its juice is taken orally.
Suggested Remedy: Take Bael leaf, pulp, rind, and roots in the same amount, and make Bael juice. You can add honey to it for a better after taste.
Bael also acts as a memory-booster.
Suggested Remedy: Take ripe bael fruit with white/unsalted butter as well as sugar.
Scurvy is a disease that is caused due to vitamin C deficiency. Bael, being rich in vitamin C, proves to be an effective natural antidote.
Suggested Remedy: Consume bilva juice daily once a day.
Helpful In Earaches And Ear Infections
Being a potent cleansing agent, Indian Bael helps to get rid of toxins in the ear and prevent infections.
Suggested Remedy: Mix mustard oil and Bael fruit extracts, and pour this mixture into your ears twice a day (morning and evening).
Purifies The Blood
Bilwa is extremely useful in eliminating toxins from the body and purifying the blood.
Suggested Remedy: Consume Bael fruit with lukewarm water and a spoonful of honey.
Aids In Hair Growth
If you’re looking for healthy growing hair, Bael is the best natural remedy as it improves the hair quality and texture.
Suggested Remedy: Give yourself a relaxing head massage by mixing Bael fruit extract along with coconut and almond oils. Leave it on for some time and wash off. Repeat this process twice a week for two months.
Improves Skin Texture
Bilva fruit extract nourishes the skin and works like a charm against a host of skin problems.
Suggested Remedy: Make a paste with Bael fruit extract, rose water, honey, aloe vera gel, and sandalwood powder. Apply on the face and leave it on for some time. Then wash off. You can do this every night to reap its benefits.
Note: Do a skin patch test to see if you’re allergic to the fruit or not.
Did You Know?
More than 100 phytochemical compounds (think: Flavonoids, Alkaloids, Tannin, Steroids, Saponin, etc.) have been found in the Bilva plant. Plus, scientists have successfully used applied Bael tree extracts to remove the adverse effects of a cobra’s venom!
Bilwa’s Side-Effects & Precautionary Measures
- Consuming ripened Bael fruit can lead to indigestion and bloating.
- Bael if consumed in excessive amounts can lead to constipation and an upset stomach.
- Pregnant women should avoid consuming Bael.
- Avoid consuming Bael before or after any surgery.
Important: Please consult your doctor before consuming Bael in any form for unknown allergies/side effects that may occur.
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