Bael or Wood apple (botanical name Aegle marmelose) commonly known as Bilva or Sriphal or Shivadruma (the tree of Shiva) in Sanskrit is an important medicinal tree in India. The fruit is globular in shape with an extensive hardcover and is like a piece of heaven. The fruit appears greenish-grey when raw and turns yellow upon ripening. Some people say that the fruit is extremely delicious and usually consumed fresh, dried, or relished in the form of juice, smoothies, pickles and jam, etc.
The tree is considered an incarnation of Goddess Sati. It holds religious significance and is believed to be Lord Shiva’s favorite. Hence the fruit, along with the unique trifoliate leaves (commonly known as Bael patra) that represent the Trinity: Brahma, Vishnu, and Mahesh (Shiva), play a key role while worshipping Lord Shiva.
Bael fruit is a powerhouse of various nutrients such as beta-carotene, proteins, thiamine, niacin, and riboflavin and is loaded with vitamins A, B1, B2 & C. Besides these, it possesses minerals such as iron, calcium, and potassium. It’s an excellent source of fiber as well.
Furthermore, its antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and laxative properties promote its medicinal and therapeutic use.
Top Benefits of Wood Apple (Bael)
Due to its high fibre content, antioxidant characteristics, immune-boosting effects, and potential for controlling blood sugar levels, wood apples have a number of health advantages. Let us discuss some of the major benefits of Wood Apple or Bael fruit:
1. Wood Apple for Energy
Apple juice from trees will work just as well as an energy drink. Additionally, the juice can enhance metabolism and organ function. Being high on carbs, bael adds a lot of energy to the body as well as the brain. In India, the juice is also well recognised for its ability to lessen flatulence and for being a wonderful method to beat the summer heat.
2. Wood Apple for Skin Health
The antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, anti-microbial as well as antifungal properties embedded in the leaves, bark, roots as well as fruit of Bael make it an important promotor of skin health. It works as a natural and mild astringent and helps fight skin infections. Undoubtedly it acts as the skin’s natural cooler in the scorching heat and helps prevent sunstrokes as well.
3. Wood Apple for Diabetes
Bael regulates the production of insulin from the bloodstream and might help the conversion of glucose in the liver. Coumarin (a compound) present in the bael fruit extract might help in the secretion of insulin from the liver and thus help lower blood sugar levels. Furthermore, its low glycemic index helps control sugar levels.
4. Wood Apple for Bone Health
An abundance of Calcium makes it vital for bone health. No wonder it strengthens teeth, and bones along with preventing osteoporosis. Additionally, it controls the loss of blood during injuries.
5. Wood Apple for Anemia
Rich in iron, bael is highly recommended for anemic people. It not just aids the hemoglobin count or increases RBCs but is a natural blood purifier.
6. Wood Apple for Cholesterol
Flavonoid-rich bael has the potential of reducing high cholesterol and fighting against infections thus shielding the heart. The heart-healthy fats in Bael help keep a check on cholesterol levels by improving good cholesterol. Overall, it improves metabolism and helps shed weight faster.
7. Wood Apple for Heart Disease and Stroke
Apart from strengthening the heart muscles, bael prevents lipid accumulation, which in turn reduces the risk of atherosclerosis, heart blocks, heart attacks, blood clots, etc. Moreover, it is a boon for hypertense people and relieves the tense blood vessels thus reducing the chances of heart disease and stroke.
8. Wood Apple for Digestive issues and Ulcers
The antibacterial and antifungal property of Bael is a boon for people with digestive issues particularly those who suffer from acidity/peptic ulcers. The accumulation of free radicals in the stomach cells (oxidative stress) is the main cause of stomach ulcers. Being a rich source of Vitamin C as well as potent antioxidants that help fight free radicals from the body bael juice works wonders. Furthermore, its glycoprotein secretions are remarkably effective for ulcerative colitis and even treat colic pain.
9. Wood Apple for Mouth Ulcers
The pulp of bael soothes and helps speed up the healing process when applied to ulcers or blisters within the oral cavity.
10. Wood Apple for Diarrhea/Cholera
The presence of tannins in Bael helps fight against viruses that cause diarrhea or cholera. Apart from this, Shigella dysenteriae (a bacteria) tends to attach to the colon cells, causing nausea and stomachache. People with weak immunity and travel freaks are more likely to get infected. No wonder the Bael juice comes to the rescue not allowing the bacteria to bind with the colon cells easily.
11. Wood Apple for Reducing Belly Fat
Being a rich source of fiber, Bael is linked with its potential to reduce belly fat. Moreover, its naturally sweet taste is a blessing in disguise. It helps cut down on additional sugar intake which is a major factor in charge of fat accumulation.
12. Wood Apple for Constipation
The laxative properties of Bael help clean the intestines and prevent constipation. No wonder daily intake of bael juice with a pinch of salt & black pepper works wonders.
13. Wood Apple for Scurvy
Scurvy is a disorder brought on by a diet lacking vitamin C (ascorbic acid). Collagen is a protein that aids in maintaining the health of blood vessels, connective tissues, and wound healing. Vitamin C is essential for its synthesis. Although not particularly abundant in vitamin C, wood apples do contain some of this crucial nutrient.
The overall consumption of vitamin C can be increased by including wood apples in a balanced diet. However, it’s crucial to keep in mind that a wood apple may not provide enough vitamin C to completely treat or prevent scurvy.
14. Wood Apple for Respiratory Anomalies
Loaded with anti-inflammatory, anti-biotic, and anti-asthmatic properties, bael helps get rid of the common cold, cough, and flu symptoms as well as bronchitis and asthma. It helps the body get rid of mucus and also eases breathing by thinning and loosening rheum depositions in the chest and nasal cavities.
15. Wood Apple for Healthy Hair
The anti-microbial nature of Bael helps treats scalp and hair infections like folliculitis, itching, and dandruff. Its essential nutrients nurture the hair follicles strengthening them from the roots. Additionally, it helps improve blood circulation and prevents hair loss due to stress/anxiety by balancing the stress hormone.
16. Wood Apple for Lactation
Regular intake of Bael helps in improving lactation as well as the quality of breast milk. No wonder it’s a boon for lactating mothers who feed their young ones to provide proper nourishment and strengthen the baby’s immune system.
17. Wood Apple for Liver and Kidney
Its richness in potassium helps eliminate contaminants/sodium through urine. Thus, Bael might also have potential use as a diuretic and is considered healthy for the liver and kidneys as well.
18. Wood Apple for Earache
Bael has antibacterial properties that help treat ear infections. Additionally, it removes ear wax as well.
Wood Apple (Bael) Supplements
The entire Bael plant i.e., the fruit, roots, leaves as well as bark of the plant once known for its medicinal and therapeutic uses in Ayurveda was not just anyone’s cup of tea. The reason was very clear. Though we knew its significance but were aware of the intake method and quantity as well. However, the goodness of Bael is now available in tablet/capsule forms. Moreover, bael bark, bael dried leaves, bael leaf powder as well as bael fruit powder are also available in the market/online.
Adverse Effects of Wood Apple (Bael)
Though everything appears so simple and easy let us not forget there are certain limitations to everything that should be taken care of-
- Bael tends to lower sugar levels thus its overconsumption along with diabetes supplements might cause the sugar levels to drop too low.
- Being high on tannins, overconsumption of the fruit over a prolonged period may show up carcinogenic properties in one’s body. Hence, a doctor’s advice is recommended.
- Also, pregnant women and breastfeeding mothers are advised to take the doctor’s advice before consuming the leaf extract or powder.
- Bael might interfere with the sugar levels during/after surgery. Hence, its intake should be stopped 1 or 2 weeks before the scheduled surgery.
- Bael might also reduce the levels of Thyroid. Hence, it might be helpful in hypothyroidism.
Wood apples can strengthen your immune system and heal bacterial, fungal, and viral diseases. It has laxative qualities due to the fiber it contains, which helps with digestive problems including constipation and indigestion. You can even consume the fruit in the form of capsules or drink it as juice to get quick health benefits.
Check out some of the major benefits of Wood Apple (Bael) and how consuming it can benefit your health in different ways. For more such updates on fruits and herbs, follow our blogs.
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