The bael tree is one of the most useful
medicinal plants of India. Its medicinal properties have been described in
the ancient medical treatise in Sanskrit, Charaka Samhita. All the
parts of this tree including stem, bark, root, leaves and fruit at all
stages of maturity has medicinal virtues and has been used as traditional
medicine for a long time.
The fruit is of considerably medicinal
value when it just begins to ripen. The ripe fruit is aromatic, astringent
which helps construction of skin, coolant and laxative. The unripe or
half-ripe fruit is astringent, digestive stomachic which improves appetite
and antiscorbutic, i.e. which helps to fight scurvy caused due to vitamin
Ripe bael fruit is regarded as best of all
laxatives. It cleans and tones up the intestines. Its regular use for two
or three months helps evacuate even the old accumulated faecal matter from
the bowels. For best results, it should be taken in the form of sherbat,
which is prepared from the pulp of the ripe fruit. After breaking the
shell, the seeds are first removed, and contents are then taken out with a
spoon and passed through a sieve. Milk and little sugar may be added to
make it more palatable. The pulp of the ripe fruit can also be taken from
the spoon without the addition of milk or sugar. About 60 grams of the
fruit will suffice for an adult.
Diarrhea and Dysentery
The unripe or half ripe fruit is perhaps,
the most effective food remedy for chronic diarrhea and dysentery where
there is no fever. Best results are obtained by the use of dried bael or
its powder. The bael fruit, when it is still green, is sliced and dried in
the sun. The dried bael slices are reduced into powder and preserved in
air-tight bottles. The unripe bael can also be baked and taken with
jaggery or brown sugar.
The fruit appears to have little effect in
acute dysentery when there is definite sensation to defecate but instead
of significant amount of faeces, blood and mucus alone are passed. The
powdered drug is specially recommended in this condition. Its beneficial
effect its, however, most evident when the condition has become sub-acute
or chronic. After the use of the fruit in these conditions, the blood
gradually disappears and the stool assume a more feculent and solid form.
The mucus also disappears after continued use for some time. It is also a
valuable remedy for chronic dysenteric conditions characterized by
alternate diarrhea and constipation.
An infusion of bael leaves is regarded
as an effective food remedy for peptic ulcer. The leaves are soaked
overnight in water. This water is strained and taken as a drink in the
morning. The pain and discomfort are relieved when this treatment is
continued for a few weeks. Bael leaves are rich in tannins which reduce
inflammation and help healing of ulcers. The bael fruit taken in the form
of beverage has also great viscous content. This substance forms a coating
on the stomach mucosa and thus helps in the healing of ulcers.
A medicated oil prepared from bael leaves
gives relief from recurrent colds and respiratory affections. The juice
extracted from bael leaves is mixed with equal quantity of sesame oil and
heated thoroughly. A few seeds of black pepper and half a teaspoonful of
black cumin are added to the hot oil. It is then removed from the fire and
stored for use when necessary. A teaspoonful of this oil should be
massaged into the scalp before a head bath. Its regular use builds up
resistance against colds and coughs.
A common practice in south India is to give
the juice of bael leaves to bring relief from wheezing and respiratory
spasm. The leaf juice, mixed in warm water with a little pepper, is give
as a drink.