Bael | What is Bael fruit | What are the Health Benefits of Bael fruit | Uses of Bael Fruit | Calorific Value of Bael Fruit
Bael is a large tree that grows up to 8 to 10 meters in height. It has a big stout trunk, unusual branches with long, straight outgrowth, aromatic leaves, sweet scented and green-white flowers. The fruit is woody and smooth, 5 to 15 cm in diameter. It has numerous seeds which are densely covered with fibrous hair and are embedded in a thick aromatic pulp. The flesh is eaten fresh or dried.
Origin and Distribution
The bael tree is indigenous to India. The history of this tree has been traced to Vedic period-2000 BC – 800 Be. The mention of bael fruit has been made in Yajur Veda. The tree has great mythological significance, and it abounds in the vicinity of temples. It is held sacred by the Hindus and according to Hindu customs, the leaves of the tree are traditionally used as sacred offering to Lord Shiva, who is believed to live under bael tree.
The bael fruit is grown throughout India as well as in Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Burma, Thailand and most of the south east Asian countries.
>> The fruit is eaten fresh or dried. If fresh, the juice is strained and sweetened to make a drink similar to lemonade, and is also used in making sharbat, a refreshing drink where the pulp is mixed with lime juice.
>> The leaves and small shoots are eaten as salad greens.
>> The Tamil Siddhars used koovilam is called for many purposes.
>> The leaves are used to cure sinusitis, dyspepsia and anorexia. A confection made of this fruit is used to cure tuberculosis, loss of appetite, emaciation etc. There are several such pharmacopoeia in Siddha medicine.
The bael tree 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. All the parts of this tree including stem, bark, root, leaves and fruit at all stages of maturity has medicinal virtues and has been used as traditional medicine for a long time.
Ripe bael fruit is regarded as best of all laxatives and it cleans & tones up the intestines. According to Hakeem Hashmi for best results, bael should be taken in the form of syrup( sherbat) which is prepared from the pulp of the ripe fruit. The seeds are removed after breaking the shell with the contends spooned out & sieved. Milk & sugar are added to make it more palatable. Regular intake of these cures prolonged constipation.
* DIARRHOEA & DYSENTERY:
Preparation made by boiling pulp of unripe or half ripe bael fruit acts as an anti flatulent & controls acidity, diarrhoea and dysentery.
1. Decoction of unripe bael fruit baked for six hrs with misri controls dysentery.
2. Pulp of ripe bael with water checks diarrhoea.
* WHOOPING COUGH:
Roast the green leaves on slow fire till they become black powders. Filter them through thin cloth. One or two grams of this powder taken with little honey 3 times a day cures whooping cough.
Decoction of unripe bael fruit controls vomiting.
* EAR PROBLEMS:
The root of this tree is used as a home remedy for curing ear problems. A stiff piece of the root is dipped in margosa oil and lighted. The oil that drips from the burning end is a highly effective medicine for ear problems.
Nutritional Value of Bael Fruit:
|Ascorbic Acid||8-60 mg|
|Tartaric Acid||2.11 mg|
The antiseptic properties of margosa combined with the astringent extract of bael root helps in curing infection, chronic inflammation & discharge.
* URINARY DISORDERS:
Juice of bael leaves ground cumin seeds & sugar candy taken in equal properties with milk stops urinary irritation.
* PEPTIC ULCER:
An infusion on bael leaves is regarded as an effective remedy for peptic ulcer. The leaves are soaked over night in water. This water is strained and taken in the morning. The pain & discomfort are
relieved when this treatment is continued for a few weeks.
* RESPIRATORY DISORDERS:
Medicated oil prepared from bael leaves gives relief from recurrent colds and respiratory affections. The juice extracted from bael leaves is mixed with equal quantity of gingelly oil and heated thoroughly. A few seeds of black pepper & half a teaspoon of black cumin seeds are added to the heated oil. This oil is cooled & stored for use when necessary. A teaspoon of this oil should be massaged into the scalp before a head bath. Its regular use builds up resistance to colds & cough.
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