Scientific Name Aegle marmelos (L.)Corr
(A. marmelos (Linn.) Correa ex Roxb.)
Used Part Fruit pieces
Distribution Area A tree, growing wild throughout the deciduous forests of India, ascending to an altitude of c 1,200 m in the western Himalayas and also occurring in Andaman Islands.
Common uses: The fruits are official in the Indian Pharmacopoeia and they are also valued in Ayurvedic medicine. The unripe or half-ripe fruit is regarded as astringent, digestive and stomachic. The fruit is used in chronic diarrhoea and dysentery, and is said to act as a tonic for heart and brain. In the after- treatment of bacillary dysentery, the fruit is a useful adjuvant as it helps to remove constipation which hinders the healing of ulcerated surfaces of intestines. The preparations of the bael fruit commonly used are: the extract made from fresh unripe fruits, liquid extract from dried slices of the unripe fruits, and the powdered, dry pulp which is kept in air-tight bottles.
Besides the fruits, the root, bark, leaf and seed of bael are valued in the indigenous system of medicine. The root is an ingredient of the `dasamula' (ten roots), a medicine commonly used by the Ayurvedic practitioners.
The roots as well as the bark are used in the form of a decoction as a remedy in melancholia, intermittent fevers and palpitation of the heart.
The rootbark has been used particularly in intermittent
The leaves are bitter and used as febrifuge. Poultice made of the
leaves is used for ophthalmia and ulcers. Fresh leaves are used in West Bengal as a remedy for dropsy, and beriberi associated with weaknes of heart. Leaves are given in jaundice The diluted leaf juice is used for catarrh.
The juice of leaves alongwith Black Pepper is given in diabetes.
In Nepal, the stem bark mixed with flowers of Hypericum cordifolium Choisy, is given to cure diarrhoea. In Ayurveda, a compound formulation containing `bael' and Bacopa monnieri is recommended as a safe drug for diarrhoeal form of irritable bowel syndrome.
Similar crude drugs Bael fruits are occasionally substituted by wood apple [Feronia limonia (Linn.) Swingle] and mangosteen fruits (Garcinia mangostana Linn.)
Pharmacological Effect In pharmacological trials, as in the case of fruits, the root has exhibited anti-amoebic and hypoglycaemic properties. The roots contain auraptene, marmin, umbelliferone, and lupeol.
The leaf extract is reported to promote the growth of
Candida albicans (Robin) Berkh., but is active in vitro against
Escherichia coli and Micrococcus pyogenes var. aureus.In clinical trials, the fresh leaf extract is reported to have significantly decreased the requirement of circulatory stimulant (1-nor-adrenalin), and also reduced the period of convalescence in patients with cholera or choleraic diarrhoea. Aqueous and alcoholic extracts of the leaves are reported to possess cardiotonic effect, like digitalis, on amphibian and mammalian hearts. The alkaloid aegeline, present in the leaves, is efficacious in asthma.
Aegeline showed sympathomimetic property, and also produced stimulation of respiration and contraction of denervosed nictitating membrane in anaesthetised cats.
The oil has broad spectrum of anti-fungal activity comparable to that of 0.5% Hamycin.
Pharmacological experiments revealed the active principle in aqueous leaf extract as showing hypoglycaemic activity similar to insulin.
The alcoholic extracts of seed and leaf have been found to possess schizontocidal property in vivo as well as in vitro against the NK 65 strain of Plasmodium berghei. Leaf extract does not show activity in vivo. Alcoholic extract of seeds also showed anti allergic activity. The aqueous and alcoholic extracts of the bark and fruit showed anthelmintic activity.
The methanolic extract of root bark inhibited the beating rate of
cultured mouse myocardial cells. Among the isolated constituents, aurapten is found to be the most potent inhibitor comparable with verapamil. Marmin, a coumarin, isolated from ethanolic extract of the roots showed antiinflammatory effect on carrageenan induced inflammation in rats.
Others The stem also contains a gum similar to gum arabic. A yellow dye is extracted from the rind of unripe fruits. The shells of smaller fruits are used as snuff-boxes. The ripe fruit is eaten fresh. The pulp, diluted with water and added with requisite amount of sugar and tamarind, forms a delicious cooling drink. The tender green fruit is utilized for making a preserve (morabba) which occupies an important place in the preserves industry of North India.
The astringent rind of the ripe fruit and the bark are employed in dyeing and tanning.
The young leaves and shoots are used as fodder for cattle, sheep and goats.
The root bark is also used as a fish poison.