Simple overview on Bael plant
This tree is scientifically called as Aegle marmelos . Almost every part of this plant is useful for village srilankans. The fruits, leaves, roots, flowers and the bark is also useful. So, it is fair to say uses of bael tree is seamless. The origin of this tree is in Indian region and in dry zone in Srilanka.It belongs to the family rutaceae. Rutaceae is the family commonly called citrus family. These trees belong to family rutaceae has a common feature of the presence of strong scents.
That is very true. Almost all of the plant parts of the bael fruit tree have a very fragrant smell. The leaves , roots ,flowers and the fruits all contain a distinct flavor and aroma combination by which this plant can be identified very easily.
Bael fruit tree in Sri Lanka
Sri lankans call this bael fruit “beli”. In sri lanka this fruit tree has disseminated mainly in dry zone. Two varieties of bael fruits are much common. One is indigenous bael fruit type and the other one is as an exotic type hence sri lankans call it “rata beli”.
Sri Lankans believe the presence of bael tree in the front of a home brings the prosperity to home.
Out of these two , native variety is very delicious and and possess higher intense of fragrance. The fruits are smaller in size than the exotic variety.The fruits are also very round in shape like a ball.
The other variety what Sri Lankans call “rata beli” or the exotic variety is relatively bigger in size when it is about fruits. In this variety, the fruits are also more like little balloons hanging in the trees.
The matured bale tree branches has single or paired spines.These spines are very painful when it hits your skin
Bael fruit tree is a deciduous plant. In the dry season the leaves fall down and only the fruits retain in the tree. With the start of rain it is like spring to the trees. They start creating new leaves and after some period of time the flowers appear. Flowers are white in color and they are very small in size. Bael flowers have a very pleasant smell.
Mostly in the morning before sweeping we villagers practice to collect the fallen flowers under the trees. After collecting these flowers , they are sun dried and utilize as an alternative to tea. We can store Sun dried bael flowers for a considerable time period even nearly a year in sealed containers.
Bael fruits are delicious in many ways
Bael fruits are green in color when they are immature. With the time when maturing, these fruits’ shell become hard. To consume , you need to split these fruits to get the fruit flesh out. The color of the shell become yellow at the matured stage. At the correct ripening stage these fruits start falling from the trees.
It is a practice to visit the tree’s underneath for fruits in the morning during this period.
Fruits start to fall down during dry season. Basically many of the fruits fall down before the rain begins. Those fruits that retain in the trees(unripen) become little bitter if they do not fall before the rain. Villagers call them “kola beli” or “green bael”
People also consume bael fruits when they are in immature stage. There people pluck the fruits and boil. The boiled bael fruits are tasty if we add a little sugar as well. When eating bael in this way, it gives a different kind of taste.There its color becomes tan color when boiling
Naturally ripen bael fruits when broken, they are yellow color.They have a gummy texture.
As a gift of nature, these fruits occur at the right time in the dry season. This has a magical power to cool down the body and to quench the thirst. By its nature, as per ayurvedha , this fruit can keep the body cool
We also can make bael fruit juice. That is a yellow color beverage and it becomes perfect when adding little sugar, salt & lime. This is a heavenly tasty beverage to quench the thirst specially during the dry season.
Bael shelves are good alternative for tea
In order to agree with the term “uses of bael tree are seamless” even the leftover shelves are also useful !
Another interesting thing about bael fruit is that we do not need to throw away the shelves after eating . These shelves are also like tea when boiled. So people do not throw away the shells instead they sun dry the shelves. Then store the shelves in containers and boil as an alternative for tea at tea time.
Boiled Bael flower is almost like tea
When bael flowers fall, villagers collect them and sun dry. Then put them in sealed containers.During the tea time, they boil these as an alternative to regular tea. It is really matching when drinking warm bael flower with jaggery in the evening.
The color of the beverage is very much like the regular tea. The taste is different as this has a kind of more pleasing smell with distinct flavor. So is it fair to call bael tree uses are seamless
Medicinal importance of Bael tree
Poeple use almost every part of the tree but hardly know the medicinal importance of them.Uses of bael tree are seamless as per below applications.
1) Bael roots show antidiarrhoeal properties
This is an interesting research done using the bael tree or Aegle marmelos roots. This research has been done in vitro and in vivo .
The in vitro testings done against nearly 35 species of diarrhoea causing pathogenic species. There this root extract has shown effective action against vibrio cholerae, followed by Escherichia coli and Shigella spp
The results have shown comparable effect to that of ciprofloxacin. Where as another research has shown bael fruit root extract shows inhibitory activity when given for animals with castor oil induced diarrhoea.
2) Aegle marmelos shows antimicrobial properties
The leaves extract from bael tree has shown antimicrobial activity. Following research done using the extract of the leaves show anti fungal activity against fungi associated with animals and humans.
Trichophyton mentagrophytes, Trichophyton rubrum, Microsporum gypseum, Microsporum audounii, Microsporum cookie, Epidermophyton floccosum, Aspergillus niger, Aspergillus flavus and Histoplasma capsulatum . The research shows anti fungal activities are shown against here mentioned fungal varieties .
Extracts from various plant parts like leaves, fruits and the roots show inhibitory activity against many number of bacteria. The crude extract of the plant in aqueous and ethanolic media has been used for this research . There, ethanolic extract has shown more effective results against bacteria E. coli, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Staphylococcus aureus and Bacillus subtilis .
3) It has Radio protective effects
For cancer treatments, radiation is applied in some cases and the side effects are possible due to the radio sensitivity of neighboring cells.
If the neighboring cells can be protected from radio sensitivity ,that is an immense support for the survival of the normal cells whereas to focus radiation on cancer cells only.
However up to date no radio protective medicines are there that work as fully expected . Ill – effects of radiation is the generation of free radicals.
Antioxidants in bael show that it has a kind of capability to prevent radiation induced ill – effects effectively and also in nontoxic means.
4) Bael shows anti inflammatory properties
The bael leaves have the ability to act effectively against inflammations. Lupeol and skimmianine compounds have shown this effect in pure form. As these two compounds are found in the leaves these two may have been helpful to act against inflammations.
5) Gives super relief for constipation
Bael fruit when eating in raw type after breaking the shell, the pulp is good for effective relief against constipation. The fruit contains high amount of fiber in it. The fiber is in two types. Soluble fiber and insoluble fiber are the two types.
Once you eat bael, the fibers in them make the faecal matter volume and helps to pass out stools more easily. The soluble fiber in the bael fruit helps to make a gel like substance while insoluble fiber absorb water adding a volume to the faecal matter .
In this way bael fruit has an ability to give the relief for those suffer from constipation.
6) Bael shows antipyretic properties
This particular research is about brewer’s yeast induced pyrexia in albino rats and has shown significant reduction in elevated body temperature in dose dependent manner. This antipyretic effect has been found to be similar to that of paracetamol.
7) It also has an ulcer healing potential
It has shown the aqueous extract of bael fruit seeds has the ability to work against gastric juice significantly.
Free acidity and the total acidity as well.This property of bael is due to the presence of quercetin like (flavonoid) compounds.
Crushed and soaked leaves kept overnight overnight in water is remedy for the peptic ulcers. Normally it gives comfort when drink this in the morning.
Whereas the fruit when consumed in beverage type it has the ability to make a coating on the stomach mucosa and there by healing the ulcers.
Above mentioned applications are all from scientifically proven research articles. Apart from that, even before the science reveals what this amazing tree contains , people have been using this tree for generations for their needs. It is very certain science has so many to discover about this plant.