“Let food be thy medicine, and let medicine be thy food”Hippocrates
Aegle marmelos of family Rutaceae, has many common names Bael or Bilva tree, Bengal quince, golden apple, Japanese bitter orange, stone apple or wood apple. It is a species of tree native to the India and South-East Asia. It has a strong association with religious beliefs in Hindu mythologies. You can find mentions of this plant in various ancient Indian scriptures of Vedas and Puranas like Yajur-Veda and Mahabharata. Ardent devotees of Lord Shiva offer these tri-segmented leaves to cool down his temper. And scientifically, Bael juice is popular for being an ideal summer drink.
Uses Of Bael Fruit
All parts of this tree like roots, bark, fruits and leaves are been in use from times immemorial in traditional systems of medicine particularly in Ayurveda, showing their high therapeutic importance. Twigs of Bael often find uses as alternatives for toothbrushes and chew-sticks.
Impressive features like the natural sweetness of the fruit along with perfect weight loss formula makes this a popular drink for teenagers. Bael leaf decoction with black pepper also helps manage constipation as it loosens the stools due to its laxative property.
Palmitic, stearic, oleic and linolenic acid, Sitosterol and Ascorbic acid contributes to the nutritional quality of its seed oil. Researchers state that it exhibits anti-cancer, antioxidant, anti-microbial, anti-spermogenic, anti-pyretic ,analgesic, cardio protective, aphrodisiac, anti-plasmodial, and hepatoprotective roles. All these make Bael seem as the perfect God-given medicine for mankind.
Studies show that Bael is also used to treat ulcers, headache, Dysentery, Sunstroke, hypertension, diabetes, and numerous other ailments. It also has several claims of being an excellent supplement with fruits and vegetables for curing diseases. In part of Indonesia, Bael is from breakfast is a common practice by eating the pulp of fruit dressed in palm sugar. The pulp of fully grown but unripe fruit finds uses in the making of jams, marmalades, syrups and pickles.
How Can You Get Bael?
Very few food and beverage companies like Hansa, Nattfru and Alps are commercializing instant Bael tea in a pack of three to four sachets or pouches. To extend shelf life, dry bael fruit pieces in recyclable boxes are another popular method. However, the usual intake of it is in the form of tea in Thailand. Also, chewing of leaves or powder of roots are few other ways of consumption in the North-Eastern parts of India.
People who are in “mohabbat with sherbet” consume Bael fruit pulp with or without milk and sugar.You can also consume raw fruit pulp. Products of Bael has lot of scope in further research. Especially regarding consumer acceptance, commercialization and marketing in India and all over the world.
In near future, we can expect bael-based health drinks in bottles or tetra packs in preference with customer convenience and shelf life extension.
Also, if you have interests in reading about similar interesting foods, check out our article on the Taro Root.