Bilva or Bel is a very important medicinal herb of Ayurveda. It is a medium sized tree that is found in all over India from sub- Himalayan region to Southern India. Every part of this tree is useful in curing various diseases. It is one of the ten roots of famous Ayurvedic preparation Dashmool. The botanical name of Bael is Aegle Marmelos (family Rutaceae). The other common names are Shriphal/Sriphal, Shivadruma (Sanskrit), Bel (Hindi, Marathi, Assamese, Bengali), Vilvam (Tamil), Maredu (Telugu) and Stone apple, Bengal Quince (English).
The Bel fruit which is available during summer season in India offers numerous health benefits. Ripen Bel fruit is spherical (up to 20 cm in diameter) has hard greenish-yellow outer covering with yellow pulp inside. The ripen pulp is sweet, tasty, nutritious, aromatic, astringent, cooling, laxative and is very good for digestive system. The unripe pulp has astringent, stomachic and digestive properties. The pulp contains moisture 61.5%;protein 1.8%;fat 0.3%;carbohydrate 31.8%;and fibre 2.9%. It also contains calcium, 85 mg/l00 gm;phosphorous, 50 mg/l00 gm, Carotene, 55 mg/l00 gm iron 0.6mg/l00 gm, and thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, oxalic acid and Vit C. Tannin, mucilage, pectin, Vitamin B1 and sugar are also present in bael fruit pulp.
The pulp of Bael fruit has following health benefits
- Antioxidant, scavenges free radical from body
- Protects and improves digestive system
- Antibacterial and anti-ulcerative colitis
- Protects liver
- Stimulates bile production
- Strengthen intestine
- Tonic for heart and brain
Useful in treatment of cholera, diarrhoea, dysentery and constipation
The pulp is useful in curing chronic diarrhoea and dysentery. For treating loose motion, diarrhoea, dysentery, the pulp can be mixed with water. Bael is also helpful in treating constipation. It is one of the best natural laxative. It not only cures constipation but also strengthens intestine. Regular intake of bel fruit for 2-3 months removes body toxins and cures chronic constipation. For this purpose bael sharbat prepared from ripen fruit should be taken.
Bael fruit is very nutritious and is tonic for digestive system, brain and heart. It helps to prevent and cure Scurvy, a disease resulting from a deficiency of vitamin C.
Pulp of fruit is also useful in treating vomiting during pregnancy. For this purpose 20-30 grams of pulp is mixed with water of boiled rice. Bael is perfect fruit in scorching summer seasons. Its pulp, sharbat or juice taken before stepping out has cooling effect on body and prevent heat stroke.