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Bilva: Bael Uses, Benefits, Properties, Side Effects, and Dose

Introduction To Bael (Bilva) Aegle marmelos

The Bael tree, also known as Bilva in Sanskrit, is an ancient Ayurvedic tree revered for its spiritual and medicinal properties. It has been described in Indian literature since the Vedic period and is widely used by Hindus. It is a Dashamoola (a group of ten roots) herb. Its ternate leaves are known as “Tripatra” (3 leaves), also known as “Shiva Dhruma” in Hindi. Hindus are known to offer these leaves in prayers to Lord Shiva and Parvathi, with the tree typically growing close to the temple.

The Bilva tree is said to contain celestial light essence. Furthermore, each part of the tree is extremely powerful. The Bilva is mentioned in the Skanda Purana (the largest Mahapurana, a genre of eighteen Hindu religious texts) as one of the Kalpavruksha that emerged during Ksheera Sagara Manthana (churning of the Ocean milk, as mentioned in the Bhagvata Purana, the Vishnu Purana, and the Mahabharat). According to the Padma Purana, offering Bilva leaves to Lord Shiva while chanting mantras brings good fortune.

बिल भेदने – It does the bhedana of diseases.

What is the Botanical Name of Bilva?

Aegle marmelos
Aegle goat-one of the hesperidins daughters of the evening golden apple.
Marmelos-Portuguese word, meaning acid pear-shaped fruit.

What is the Family of Bilva?

Rutaceae

Main Sanskrit Synonyms of Bael (Bilva) Aegle marmelos:

I. Habitat:

grows in hilly areas : Shailoosha शैलूष – शैलेऽपि वसतीति अथवा नट इवामोदप्रदः । II. Morphology:

1. Thorny tree: Kantaki.

कण्टकि – कण्टका सति अस्मिन् ।

2. Branches are nodular : Granthila.

Leaves:

a. Trifoliate: Tripatra

त्रिपत्र – त्रीणि पत्रकाण्यस्य ।

b. Aromatic : Gandhapatra

गन्यपत्र –

गन्धवन्ति पत्राण्यस्य ।

c. Considered sacred to Lord shiva: Shiveshta शिवेष्ट – भगवतः शिवस्येष्टः प्रियः ।

Fruits:

a. Globose : Kuchama

कुचमा – कुचेन स्तनेन मीयते उपमीयते इति तदाकारत्वात्।

b. Large : Mahaphala

महाफल – बृहत् फलमस्य ।

c. Like Kapittha : Mahakapittha

महाकपित्थ

बृहत् कपित्थसदृशः ।

d. Aromatic : Hrudyagandha

हृद्यगन्थ् – हृद्यो मनोहरो गन्धोऽस्य ।

e. Hard rind : Karkata

कर्कट कठिनत्वग्फलः ।

f. Pulp has resinous odour: Gandhagarbha, Shreephala, Shreegandhaphala.

गन्धगर्भ – गन्धः गर्भे फलाभ्यन्तरेऽस्य ।

श्रीफल – श्रीवासगन्धयुक्तं फलमस्यः अथवा श्रीमत् सुन्दरं फलमस्या।

श्रीगन्धफल – श्रीनामकस्य श्रीवासस्य गन्धः फलेऽस्याः ।

g. Fruits ripen in one year, so they are always hanging on tree: Sadaphala.

सदाफल सदा फलानां विद्यमानत्वात्।

h. The Aama phala of Bilva is used: Shalatu

Uses:

शलाटु – शलाटुं आम फलं प्रयुज्यमानस्य ।

i. Pathya : Shandilya

शाण्डिल्य – शाण्डं रोगं लुनातीति।

ii. Carminative : Vaatsaar, Putimaruta.

वातसारं वातमपानं सारयतीति ।

पूतिमारुत – पूति दुर्गन्धः मारुतो अपानवायु निःसरत्यनेन ।

iii. Useful in bowel ailments, particularly dysentery: Maaloor, Bilva.

मालूरः – मलमेव मालं तत् दूरीकरोतीति दोषहरण इत्यर्थः । ।

बिल्वं – बिलं पुरीषभेदं वाति गामयतीति संग्राहित्वात् ।

iv. Used in Veterinary practice for abdominal complaints: Goharitaki.

गोहरीतकि – गवां पशूनां हरीतकी कोष्टदोषहरणी।।

Regional Names of Bael (Bilva) Aegle marmelos:

Bail in English- Bengal quince.

Bengal quince in Hindi- Bel, Shreephala.

Bail in Bengali, Marathi- Bel.

Bail in Gujarati- Beeli.

Bail in Kannada-Belpatre.

Bail in Malayalam- Kuvalap-paijham.

Classification (Gana) of Bael (Bilva) as in Charaka and Sushruta:

Charaka: Shothahara, Arshoghna, Asthapanopaga

Sushruta: Varunadi, Ambasthadi, Bruhatpanchamoola.

External Morphology of Bael (Bilva) Aegle Marmelos:

It is a medium to fairly large-sized deciduous and glabrous tree up to 6-7.5m high and 90-120cm in girth. Branches are armed with straight sharp, axillary, 2.5cm long spines.

The bark is soft, corky, and light grey.

Leaves are alternate and trifoliate.

Leaflets are ovate or ovate-lanceolate, crenate, and acuminate.

Flowers are large, greenish-white, and sweet-scented in short axillary panicles.

The fruit is a Berry, globose, grey, or yellow, and the rind is woody.

Seeds are numerous, oblong, embedded in sacs covered with thick orange-colored sweet pulp.

Type of Bael (Bilva) Aegle marmelos:

Gramya (Big fruits with less spines)

Vanya (Small fruits with more thorns)

Substitute and Adulterants in Bael (Bilva) Aegle marmelos:

The fruits are occasionally substituted with wood apple (Feronia limonia Linn.) and mangosteen (Garcinia mangostana Linn.) (CCRAS Database I) Useful Parts: Moola tvak, Patra, Phala.

Important Phytoconstituents of Bael (Bilva) Aegle marmelos:

Fruit pulp contains Marmalosin, Tannins, Mucilage, Fatty oil, and Sugar. (A.P.I Volume I)

Root contains Auraptene, Coumarins and Glycosides (A.P.I Volume III)

Rasa Panchaka of Bael (Aegle marmelos):

[Apakva Bilva Phala]

Rasa: Kasvhaya, Tikta

Guna: Laghu, Ruksha

Virya: Ushna Vipaka: Katu

Karma: Grahi, Shothahara, Arshoghna, Asthapanopaga.

[Pakva Bilva Phala]

पक्वं गुरु त्रिदोषं स्याद् दुर्जरं पूतिमारुतम् । विदाहि विष्टंभकरं मधुरं वद्यिमांद्यकृत् ।। (भा.प्र.)

Pakva phala is guru, tridoshokara, durjara, causes putimaruta, vidahi, vistambhi, madhura and agnimandyakara.

फलेषु परिपक्वं यद् गुणवत्तदुदाहृतम् । बिल्वादन्यत्र विज्ञेयमामं तद्धि गुणाधिकम् ।। (भा.प्र.)

Generally Pakwa phala is used, but Bilva is an exception where the Aama/Apakva place is used as the qualities are therapeutically good compared to pakva phala.

बिल्वमूलं त्रिदोषघ्नं छर्दिघ्नं मधुरं लघु । (ध.नि.)

Bilva moola is Madhura, Laghu, Tridoshahara & Chardighna.

Action of Bael on Dosha, Dhatu and Mala:

By Katu vipaka, Ushna virya-Pitta vardhaka. By Tikta, Kashaya rasa it is-Kaphahara. By Ushna virya it is Vata shamaka.

Action of Bilva on Mala and Srotas:

By Kashaya rasa, it does the sankocha of sroto mukha-therefore it reduces atipravrutti of kleda, Kapha, pitta and rakta.

Apakva phala is Graahi, Deepana, Pachana, Krimighna whereas pakva phala is kashaya, madhura, and mrudu rechaka.

Pharmacological Activities of Bael (Bilva) Aegle marmelos:

Hypoglycaemic, Spasmogenic, Antiviral, Cardiac stimulant, Antiemetic, Anthelmintic, Antibacterial (seed oil), Antidiarrhoeal, Antifungal. (CCRAS Database I)

Prayogarha Vyadhi of Bilva (Therapeutic Indications of Bael):

  • Atisara
  • Chardi
  • Grahani
  • Vatavyadhi
  • Shotha
  • Shoola
  • Agnimandya.

Amayika Prayoga of Bilva (Therapeutic Use of Bael):

i. Raktatisaara: Apakwa phala with guda, madhu and taila. (Su. U 40/119)

ii. Grahani: Apakwa Phala should be steamed and taken with madhu, followed by intake of takra with chitraka churna. (B.S)

iii. Chardi: Kwatha of Bilva moola and shunthi, checks chardi and visuchika, if added with kaiturya, becomes more efficacious. (B.P.chi 6/112)

iv. Kamala: Intake of Bilvapatra swarasa mixed with Trikatu cures Kamala. (Ch.chi 16/59)

Dose of Bael (Matra of Bilva):

2-6 g. of moola tvak in powder form (A.P.I Volume III),

3-6 g of the fruit pulp in powder form. (A.P.I Volume I)

Vishista Yoga of Bilva (Names of Important Formulations of Bael):

  • Bilvadi churna
  • Bilvapanchaka kwatha
  • Bilvadi ghruta
  • Bilva taila
  • Bilvamooladi gutika.

Bael Use for Health

Bael Use for diarrhea:

The root extract and unripe fruit pulp of Bael may aid in diarrhea; this potential use is mentioned in ancient Indian texts. This could be due to its potential effect on various bacteria that cause stomach infections. More research, however, is required. Please do not self-medicate.

 A powerhouse of Antioxidants:

The high content of phytochemicals such as flavonoids contributes to Bael’s antioxidative properties, making it a valuable fruit for heart and liver ailments, lowering high cholesterol, and fighting infections.

Bael Use for stomach ulcers:

Bael may have stomach-protective properties. Stomach ulcers are caused primarily by the accumulation of free radicals in stomach cells (oxidative stress). Bael may have antiulcer properties due to its antioxidant activity, which may eliminate oxidative stress in the stomach lining and ulcer formation. Furthermore, the unripe Bael fruit may help with stomach lining damage caused by absolute ethanol (alcohol) in the stomach. More research, however, is required. Please consult a doctor; do not self-medicate.

Bael Use for diabetes:

According to animal studies, taking Bael fruit extract orally or by injection may help lower blood glucose and hemoglobin-bound glucose levels. It may also aid in the increase of insulin levels in the blood and the conversion of glucose in the liver. Certain compounds (coumarins) found in bael fruit extract may aid in the secretion of insulin from the liver, lowering blood sugar levels.

Bael Use for inflammation:

Bael extracts may aid in the relief of swelling, pain, and fever. The alcoholic extract of Bael leaves may inhibit the activation of a receptor (histamine receptor), which is responsible for inflammation and most allergy and asthma symptoms. More research, however, is required. Furthermore, before using bael for health purposes, you should consult a doctor.

Bael Use for cancer:

In one of the studies, Bael administration was shown to have the potential to inhibit tumour growth. The exact mechanism is unknown, but the alcoholic extract of Bael may have the potential to inhibit the growth of cancer cells. A bioactive compound found in Bael leaf extract has the potential to inhibit the growth of breast cancer cells. More research, however, is required. Furthermore, cancer is a serious disease that must be diagnosed and treated by a doctor.

Bael Use for infections:

Bael may be effective against a variety of bacterial infections, indicating that it is a potent antibacterial agent.

According to research, the 50% ethanolic extract of Bael may have an effect on the Ranikhet disease virus. It may also act on the virus’s early activities in the body and stop it, which is in contrast to the activity of modern drugs used to treat viral diseases.

Additionally, Bael leaf oil may protect against fungal infections. This activity could be attributed to its interference with the mechanism that promotes fungus growth in the body. Several studies have suggested that it may be effective against common fungal infections. However, more research is needed to determine such claims.

Classical References of Bilva:

Synonyms:

बिल्वः शाण्डिल्यशैलूषौ मालूरश्रीफलावपि। (भा.प्र.)

Guna Karma

श्रीफलस्तुवरस्तिक्तो ग्राहि रूक्षोऽग्निपित्तकृत् ।
वातश्लेष्महरो बल्यो लघुरुष्णा पाचनः।। (भा.प्र.)

बिल्वमूलं त्रिदोषघ्नं छर्दिघ्नं मधुरं लघु ।
बिल्वस्य च फलं चाम्लं स्निग्धं संग्राहि दीपनम् ।।
कटुतिक्तकषायोष्णं तीक्ष्णं वातकफापहम् ।
विद्यात्तदेव पक्वं तु मधुरानुरसं गुरु ।।
विदाहि विष्टम्भकरं दोषहत् पूतिमारुतम् ।। (ध.नि.)

Nutritional Value of Bael:

Energy                 137 kcal     

Carbohydrate      31.8 gm

Fat                        0.3 g

Proteins               1.8 gm

Vitamin A            55 mcg

Vitamin C             60 mg

Thiamine             0.13 mg

Riboflavin             1.19 mg

Niacin                   1.1 mg

Carotene              55 mcg

Calcium                85 mg

Potassium           600 mg

Fiber                    2.9 gm

Water                  61.5 g

* Source as Per USDA

Side Effects of Bael: 

There have been no reported side effects from using Bael. However, if any side effects are observed, a physician should be consulted for expert advice.

Precautions to Take With Bael:  

Before using bael for its potential health benefits, you should take general precautions, especially if you are pregnant, breastfeeding, elderly, or have children. However, for its use in specific conditions, an Ayurvedic physician should be consulted, as the physician will prescribe the appropriate dosage and form.

Interactions With Other Drugs: 

More research is needed to investigate bael’s interactions with other drugs. As a result, caution should be exercised and a doctor should be consulted to ensure that using bael is safe for you. Please do not self-medicate, modify, replace, or discontinue any ongoing treatment.

Frequently Asked Questions About Bilva: 

Can Bael be used for diarrhea? 

Diarrhea may benefit from Bael. Because of its potential activity against various bacteria that can cause diarrhea, it has been used for centuries to treat it. However, please consult a doctor before self-medicating.

Is Bael good for hair? 

There are no published studies that support the use of Bael for hair.

Are Bael leaves beneficial for health? 

Bael leaves may have medicinal properties and may aid in the treatment of high blood sugar, high cholesterol, and various infectious diseases, among other things. More research, however, is needed to back up such claims. Please see a doctor for proper diagnosis and treatment of any conditions.

Can diabetic patients consume Bael? 

Diabetes patients may be able to consume Bael. It has anti-diabetic properties and may help lower blood sugar levels. However, more research is needed to prove the effects of bael.

Can Bael cure cataracts? 

There have been no reports of Bael being used as a cure for cataracts. Please see a doctor.

What are the benefits of Bilva leaves?

The leaves are soaked in water overnight and then strained and served as a beverage in the morning. It can be consumed on a daily basis and has been shown to help with dyspepsia, sinusitis, colds, gastritis, and indigestion. Arthritis: Bilva stem bark is also used to treat rheumatoid arthritis, as well as colds and coughs.

What are the benefits of Bel tree?

Bel is the best fruit for all digestive issues because it contains anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties. Its magical juice may be able to control gastric ulcers caused by mucosal imbalance and high levels of oxidative stress in the stomach. It also has laxative properties, which help to keep you regular.

How do you use Bilva fruit?

Bael can be consumed ripe or in juice form. By cutting the fruit and scooping the pulp out with a spoon, one can extract the juice from the bael fruit. Peel the skin, mash it thoroughly, and soak the pulp for 2-3 hours before eating.

What is bael powder used for?

Bael Powder, as a natural digestive aid, promotes the healthy and regular functioning of various parts of the GI tract. Its pungent flavour aids digestion by maintaining a healthy gut mucosal membrane and digestive secretions. This Ayurvedic supplement also promotes a healthy appetite and metabolism.

Why Bilva leaves are used for Shiva?

The leaves of Bilva Patra are said to be Lord Shiva’s favorite. The Trinity is represented by the three-leaf bel Patra: Brahma, Vishnu, and Mahesh (Shiva). According to the sacred texts, the three leaves of bel Patra also represent Lord Shiva’s three eyes.

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