Aegle marmelos

Aegle marmelos Corr. (Rutaceae)

(2n = 18, 36)






Syn: Feronia pellucida Roth, Crataeva religiosa Ainslie

English names: Wood apple, Bael tree.

Sanskrit names: Bilwa, Shriphal.

Vernacular names: Asm and Ben: Bel; Guj: Biliva phal, BiI; Hin : Shriphal, Bel; Kan: Bilwa patre, Bil patre; Kon : Belfoll; Mal: Vilvam, Koovalam; Mar: Bel; Ori : Bela; Pun: Bil; Tam: Vilvam, Vilvamaram; Tel: Bilambu, Maredu; Urd: Bel.

Trade names: Bel, Shriphal.

Traditional use: SANTAL: (a) leaves of this plant along with {i} many other plant materials for the treatment of continuous fever; (ii) the molasses and fruits of Gryllus monostrosus for the treatment of diseases without premonitory symptoms; {iii} the fruits of Nigella indica and black pepper to treat a patient of convulsions; (iv) the leaves of Melia azadirac hta and the seeds of Semecarpus ana cardium to treat nausea; (v) the fruits of Randia dumetorum and Nigella indica, oilcake of Bassia latifolia, salt and Carum ajowan for treatment of constipation with meteorismus; (vi) the bark of the following plants ­Pterocarpus marsupium, Bauhinia vahlii, Spatholobus roxburghii, Terminalia tomentosa, Dalbergia latifolia and fried rice for treatment of chronic stomachache and (vii) the bark of Odina wodier, salt and Carum ajowan to treat watery diarrhoea; (b) various parts of fruit for making the following medicines: (i) for curing the patient of cholera, a medicine prepared with the following, is administered: the old fruit of A. marmelos, bark of Melia azadirachta, the resin of Shorea robusta and pulverized kernel of a mango stone; (ii) a sherbet prepared with the ripe fruit of A. marmelos and sugar candy is administered to the patient of dysentery; (iii) to treat the complaints of a mother after child-birth, a plaster made of the following is applied: top of the fresh unripe fruit of A. mermelos, leaves of Ocimum sanctum, little ginger and 84 blac_ peppers; (iv) a patient of puerperal fever is given a liquid drink made with the entire contents scraped out of a ripe fruit of A. marmelos, juice of old dried fruits of Mangifera indica, two ounces of a kind of red ants and a little salt; (v) a thick mixture, made with twin fruits of A. marmelos, melted hail and earth excavated by rats, is smeared on the breasts of a young mother to check the flow of milk when the breasts pain or suppurate; and (c) the bark of old trees of A. marmelos and Melia azadirachta are used to prepare an antidote for the poison of all kinds of snake bite; ATHARVAVEDA : the unripe fruit medicinal, but ripe fruit harmful; CHARAKA SAMHITA: the unripe fruit increases the digestive power, but the ripe fruit is difficult to digest; KURMA PURANA: (i) regular drinking of fruit juice ensures long span of life and golden colour of the skin; (ii) brushing the teeth with young branch of this plant is beneficial;

MATSYA PURANA : the paste of this plant is a good steriliser for clothings, beds, furniture, coat of armour, ornaments, canopy and fans made of wools and furs; BRAHMAVAIVARTA PURANA : consumption of ripe fruits of this plant helps to eliminate the ailment caused by excessive bile, but drinking water immediately after eating the fruit aggravates the bile-disorder; AGNI PURANA : (i) this plant is of great medicinal value; (ii) inhaling the oil, obtained from this plant, increases the poetic acumen of the inhaler and enables him to live a long life; (iii) for treatment of gastroenteritis, the patient should drink (a) the water containing the decoction of A. marmelos, Aconitum heterophyllum and Holerrhena antidysenterica, (b) the fruit juice of A. marmelos, Mangifera indica, Dolicos lablab, Woodfordia fruticosa, shunthi along with buttermilk and molasses; and (iv) it can cure a patient suffering from fever and its associate pains and cough.

UNANI: Ingredient for 'Belgiri'.

HOMOEOPATHY: Destroys phlegm and a good remedy in fevers associated with catarrhal symptoms, also good for dropsy, bleeding piles, dysentery, diarrhoea, bowel complaints and is a good laxative.

Modern use: Fruits: chiefly used in (i) chronic diarrhoea and dysentery; (ii) as a good laxative, and the sherbet prepared from the pulp is good for bacillary dysentery; Half-ripe fruit: astringent, digestive and used in diarrhoea. It is also antidiuretic, anthelmintic, antipyretic, carminative, tonic.

Phytography: Deciduous glabrous tree, up to 8 min height and 1 m in girth, bark shallowly furrowed and corky; leaves alternate, with straight sharp axillary thorns (buds), trifoliate, aromatic; flowers in axillary panicles, greenish white, fragrant; fruit hard-shelled, up to 5 cm in diameter, greyish or yellowish, scented, pulp orange, sweet and gummy; seeds numerous, oblong, compressed, testa mucous.

Phenology: Flowering: April-May; Fruiting: persistent, ripening by February.

Distribution: Found in the plains and submontane regions of India, wild in the sub-Himalayan tract, often planted.

Ecology and cultivation: Wild; often planted.

Chemical contents: Bark of root and stem: umbelliferone, other coumarins, β-sitosterol, aurapten, marmin, lupeol, two unidentified alkaloids and two unknown compounds-their proportion varies with the age of the bark; Stem: yields a good gum; Heartwood: a ferro-quinoline alkaloid,/dictamine, marmasin and β-sitosterol; Leaves: γ-sitosterol, aegeline, aegelenine, lupeol; sitosterol, rutin, marmesinin, β-sitosterol, glucoside and essential oil; Fruits: psoralen, aegelinol, furanocoumarin, marmelide, β-sitosterol and essential oil; Ripe fruits: xanthotoxol, scoparone, scopoletin, umbelliforone, marmesin, skimmin and β-sitosterol glucoside.

Adulterants: Umonia acidissima Correa, Garcinia mangostina L. and Puilica granatum L. are used as substitute of Aegle marmelos Correa.

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