Aegle marmelos

Family name: Feronia limonia Swingle

Common name : Bel, Beli fruit, Bengal quince, Stone apple, Wood apple

Sanskrit Name: Adhararuha, Sivadrumah, Tripatra

• Hindi: बेल Bel • Manipuri: হৈৰীখগোক Heirikhagok • Marathi: Maredu • Tamil: Vilvam • Malayalam: Vilvam • Telugu: Sandiliyamu • Kannada: Bilvapatre • Bengali: বেল Bel • Konkani: Bello • Urdu: Bel • Assamese: বেল Bel • Gujarati: Bili •

The bael fruit tree is slow-growing tree of medium size. It grows up to heights of 40 or 50 ft (12-15 m) has a short trunk with thick, soft, flaking bark. The bael trees spreading sometimes spiny branches have drooping lower branches. The baels trees young suckers bear stiff straight spines.

Bael or Bilwa is an important tree in Indian culture, and is believed to be known to Indians since the time the Vedas were composed, during 2000 BC – 800 BC. Bael or bilwa tree is planted in and around most temples in India. The tree has been mentioned in Ayurvedic texts like Charaka Samhita for its medicinal properties.

A clear gummy sap, resembling gum arabic, exudes from wounded branches and hangs down in long strands before gradually solidifying. The sap is sweet at first taste and then irritates the throat. The deciduous, alternate leaves, borne singly or in 2's or 3's, are composed of 3 to 5 oval, pointed, shallowly toothed leaflets, 1 1/2 to 4 in (4-10 cm) long, 3/4 to 2 in (2-5 cm) wide, the terminal one with a long petiole. New foliage is glossy and pinkish-maroon. Mature leaves emit a disagreeable odor when bruised.

Fragrant flowers, in clusters of 4 to 7 along the young branchlets, have 4 recurved, fleshy petals, green outside, yellowish inside, and 50 or more greenish-yellow stamens. The fruit, round, pyriform, oval, or oblong, 2 to 8 in (5-20 cm) in diameter, may have a thin, hard, woody shell or a more or less soft rind, gray-green until the fruit is fully ripe, when it turns yellowish. It is dotted with aromatic, minute oil glands. Inside, there is a hard central core and 8 to 20 faintly defined triangular segments, with thin, dark-orange walls, filled with aromatic, pale-orange, pasty, sweet, resinous, more or less astringent, pulp. Embedded in the pulp are 10 to 15 seeds, flattened-oblong, about 3/8 in (1 cm) long, bearing woolly hairs and each enclosed in a sac of adhesive, transparent mucilage that solidifies on drying.

Bael is a fruit-bearing tree which is cultivated throughout India, as well as in Sri Lanka, northern Malaya, Java and in the Philippines. The tree, which is the only species in the genus Aegle, grows up to 15 meters tall and bears thorns and fragrant flowers. The skin of some forms of the fruit is so hard it must be cracked open with a hammer. It has numerous seeds, which are densely covered with fibrous hairs and are embedded in a thick, gluey, aromatic pulp. The fruit is eaten fresh or dried. The juice is strained and sweetened to make a drink similar to lemonade, and is also used in making Sharbat. Bael is a sacred tree, dedicated to Lord Shiva. The offering of bael leaves is a compulsory ritual of the worship of Lord Shiva in the hills. This importance seems largely due to its medicinal properties. All parts of this tree, viz., root, leaf, trunk, fruit and seed, are used for curing one human ailment or another.
The bael fruit is more popular as medicine than as food. The Yajur Veda mentions the bael tree, but the Charaka Samhita, an Ayurveda treatise from the 1st millennium BC, was the first book to describe its medicinal properties. Hindu scriptures abound in references to the bael tree and its leaves. The devotees of Lord Shiva commonly offer bael leaves to the deity, especially on Shivaratri; this probably explains why bael trees are so common near temples. Hindus also believe that ghosts live on bael trees. Another belief associates its leaves to goddess Lakshmi.

The unripe fruit is described as astringent and is used in combination with bela and other medicines in diarrhoea and dysentery. The ripe fruit is said to be useful in hiccup and affections of the throat. The leaves are aromatic and carminative. The fruit is much used in India as a liver and cardiac tonic, and, when unripe, as an astringent means of halting diarrhea and dysentery and effective treatment for hiccough, sore throat and diseases of the gums. The pulp is poulticed onto bites and stings of venomous insects, as is the powdered rind. Leaves, bark, roots and fruit pulp are all used against snakebite.

The seed oil is a purgative, and the leaf juice mixed with honey is a folk remedy for fever. The tannin-rich and alkaloid-rich bark decoction is a folk cure for malaria. The pulp, taken complete with the seed and fibre, is prescribed as a remedy for irritable bowel syndrome in Sinhalese Medicine. Vasco da Gama’s crew, suffering from diarrhoea and dysentery in India, used to the bael fruit for relief.

Wood Apple is good source of protiens, iron, phosphorus, calcium, riboflavin, thiamine, niacin,, kerotene, citric acid, oxalic acid, tonic acid etc.

One hundred Aegle marmelos trees will be planted on the Yamuna Banks of Delhi NCR near Shastri Park, Okhla and Sarita Vihar starting from World Environment Day. the 5th June 2014.

Give me Trees Trust, Peepal Baba and Sustainable Green Initiative are working together to plant 100,000 trees in Delhi NCR in 2014.  

If you want to volunteer time, effort or contribute to this cause as an individual or corporate please write to us at or call us at +918420084225

At Sustainable Green Initiative, we plant trees to help the fight against climate change and also hunger, poverty and rural migration.  By planting a tree through us, you help in doing your bit to mitigate your carbon footprint and carry on the fight against hunger, poverty and climate change.

  Planting fruit trees helps combat hunger, poverty and global warming.

Did you know a tree sequesters about 1 ton of carbon and processes enough oxygen for two peoples requirements in its life-time? So what are you waiting for? 

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