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Bael
Bael (Aegle marmelos) tree at Narendrapur W IMG 4116.jpg
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Eudicots
(unranked): Rosids
Order: Sapindales
Family: Rutaceae
Subfamily: Aurantioideae
Tribe: Clauseneae
Genus: Aegle
Corrêa
Species: A. marmelos
Binomial name
Aegle marmelos
(L.) Corr.Serr.

Bael (Aegle marmelos) বাংলাঃ বেল (Hindi:बेल) is a middle sized slender aromatic armed tree. It is a fruit-bearing tree.

Habitat Edit

Bael is indigenous to dry forests on hills and plains of central and southern India, southern Nepal, Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia and Thailand. It is cultivated throughout India, as well as in Sri Lanka, northern Malay Peninsula, Java in the Philippines and Fiji Islands

Alternative names Edit

It is also popularly known as Vilam Palam (tamil விளாம் பழம்),Bilva, Bilwa, Bel, Kuvalam, Koovalam, Madtoum, or Beli fruit, Bengal quince, stone apple,Maredu (in Telugu), and wood apple. The tree, which is the only species in the genus.

Sanskrit names:Bilva,Śalātu, Hṛdyagandha, Karkaṭa, Samirasāraka,Śivadruma,Triśikha, Śiveṣhṭa, Dūrāruha, Lakṣmī phala, Śalya, Mahākapithya etc.[1]

Habit Edit

Aegle, grows up to 18 meters tall and bears thorns and fragrant flowers. It has a woody-skinned, smooth fruit 5-15 cm in diameter. 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.

Bael (Aegle marmelos) fruit at Narendrapur W IMG 4099

Fruit at Narendrapur near Kolkata, West Bengal, India

Uses Edit

The fruit is eaten fresh or dried. If fresh, the juice is strained and sweetened to make a drink similar to lemonade, and is also used in making sharbat, a refreshing drink where the pulp is mixed with lime juice. If the fruit is to be dried, it is usually sliced first and left to dry by the heat of the sun. The hard leathery slices are then placed in a pan with several litres of water which is then boiled and simmered. As for other parts of the plant, the leaves and small shoots are eaten as salad greens.

The Tamil Siddhars used koovilam (Tamil:கூவிளம், as Aegle Marmelos is called for many purposes. The leaves are used to cure sinusitis, dyspepsia and anorexia. A confection ("iLakam" in Tamil)(Tamil:இளகம் made of this fruit is used to cure tuberculosis, loss of appetite, emaciation etc. There are several such pharmacopoeia in Siddha medicine. [2]

This tree is a larval foodplant for the following two Indian Swallowtail butterflies:

Use in religious rituals Edit

The fruit is also used in religious rituals and as a ayurvedic remedy for such ailments as diarrhea, dysentery, intestinal parasites, dryness of the eyes, and the common cold. It is a very powerful antidote for chronic constipation.

In Hinduism, Bel(Bilwa) tree is very sacred. It is used in worshipping of God Shiva. Hindus believe that God Shiva will be pleased with Bilwa Pattra Puja. The importance of this tree in worshipping of Shiva is mentioned in several sacred books.

In the traditional culture of Nepal, the Bael tree is part of an important fertility ritual for girls known as the Bel baha.

GalleryEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. S G Joshi, Medicinal Plants, Oxford & IBH Publishing Co. Pvt. Ltd. New Delhi, 2004, ISBN 81-204-1414-4, p.341
  2. Dr.J.Raamachandran, HERBS OF SIDDHA MEDICINES, The First 3D Book on Herbs, pp.16

Further reading Edit

H.K.Bakhru (1997). Foods that Heal. The Natural Way to Good Health. Orient Paperbacks. ISBN 81-222-0033-8. 

External linksEdit

bn:বেল (ফল)hi:बिल्व

id:Maja jv:Maja kn:ಬಿಲ್ವಪತ್ರೆ ಮರ pam:Bael ml:കൂവളംru:Баиль tl:Bael ta:விளா மரம் te:మారేడు th:มะตูม

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