Bael / (Aegle marmelos) is an important medicinal plant of India. Leaves, fruits, stem and roots of A. marmelos have been used in ethnomedicine to exploit its’ medicinal properties including astringent, antidiarrheal antidysenteric, demulcent, antipyretic and anti-inflammatory activities. Compounds purified from bael have been proven to be biologically active against several major diseases including cancer, diabetes, and cardiovascular diseases. Preclinical studies indicate the therapeutic potential of crude extracts of A. marmelos in the treatment of many microbial diseases, diabetes, and gastric ulcer. This review covers the biological activities of some isolated chemical constituents of A. marmelos and preclinical studies on some crude extracts and pure compounds to explore novel bioactive compounds for therapeutic application.
Aegle marmelos, commonly known as Bael and belonging to the family Rutaceae is an important medicinal plant in the traditional Indian system of medicine, the Ayurveda. The extract prepared by boiling the bark, leaves or roots in water is useful as laxative, febrifuge, and expectorant. The extract is also useful in ophthalmia, deafness, inflammations, catarrh, diabetes, and asthmatic complaints. The fruits are used in treating diarrhea, dysentery, stomach ache, and cardiac ailments. Scientific studies have validated many of Bael’s ethnomedicinal properties and its potential antimicrobial effects, hypoglycemic, astringent, antidiarrheal, antidysenteric, demulcent, analgesic, anti-inflammatory, antipyretic, wound-healing, insecticidal, and gastroprotective properties. In addition, studies have also shown that Bael and some of the Bael phytochemicals possess antineoplastic, radioprotective, chemoprotective, and chemopreventive effects, properties efficacious in the treatment and prevention of cancer. For the first time, the current review summarizes the results related to these properties and emphasizes aspects that require further investigation for Bael’s safe and effective use in the near future.
Nutritional Value of Bael / Aegle Marmelos
|Nutritional value per 100 g (3.5 oz)|
|Energy||518.816 kJ (124.000 kcal)|
|Dietary fiber||5 g|
in Fruit Wood Apple values are for edible portion
|†Percentages are roughly approximated using US recommendations for adults.|
Health Benefits of Bael / Aegle Marmelos
- Antidiarrhoeal Activity – Mazumder et al. performed in vitro and in vivo antidiarrhoeal potential of the chloroform extract of the root of A. marmelos. In vitro study was found that the extract was comparable to that of ciprofloxacin and mostly active against the strains of Vibrio cholerae, followed by Escherichia coli (E. coli) and Shigella spp. Also, it was found that methanol extract of the fruits of A. marmelos decreased the intestinal propulsion in rats. The unripe fruit pulp of A. marmelos affected the bacterial colonization to gut epithelium and production and action of certain enterotoxins. These suggest the varied possible modes of action of A. marmelos in infectious forms of diarrhea thereby validating its mention in the ancient Indian texts and continued use by local communities for the treatment of diarrhoeal diseases,.
- Antimicrobial and Antiviral Activity – The essential oil isolated from the leaves of A. marmelos tree has proved to have antifungal activity against animal and human fungi like Trichophyton mentagrophytes, Trichophyton rubrum, Microsporum gypseum, Microsporum audounii, Microsporum cookie, Epidermophyton floccosum, Aspergillus niger, Aspergillus flavus and Histoplasma capsulatum. Balakumar et al. showed A. marmelos leaf extracts and fractions have fungicidal activity against various clinical isolates of dermatophytic fungi. The MIC and MFC were found to be high in water and ethyl alcohol extracts and methanol fractions (200 µg/mL) against dermatophytic fungi studied. The essential oil from the A. marmelos leaves may interfere with the Ca2+ dipicolinic acid metabolism pathway and possibly inhibit spore germination. Ca2+ ion uptake and utilization by spore is one of the prime factors that determine whether the spore will germinate or remain dormant. Thus A. marmelos may exhibit the antifungal activity by lowering the vegetative fungal body inside the host or in a solid medium. This is the possible mechanism of the protective role of A. marmelosleaf oil against fungal infection,.
- Radioprotective Effects – The effective use of radiotherapy in cancer cure and palliation is compromised by the side-effects resulting from radiosensitivity of bordering normal tissues, which are invariably exposed to the cytotoxic effects of ionizing radiation during treatment. In this situation, the use of radioprotective compounds that can protect normal tissues against radiation injury is of immense use. Radiation ill-effects are principally the result of the generation of free radicals, and the antioxidant compounds that counter them are supposed to be of immense use in preventing them.
- Chemopreventive Action – Numerous experimental and epidemiological studies show that chemoprevention has the potential of providing an important means for cancer prevention. Gupta et al. showed that A. marmelos fruit extracts have the chemopreventive role against DMBA-induced skin carcinogenesis in mice. Khan and Sultana have reported that the methanolic extract of A. marmelos (25 and 50 mg/kg body weight) was effective in inhibiting the diethylnitrosamine initiated and 2-acetyl aminofluorene promoted hepatocarcinogenesis in Wistar rats. Studies have also shown that the phytochemicals present in A. marmelos, such as lupeol, eugenol, limonene, citral, rutin, and anthocyanins have been reported to possess chemopreventive effects. The presence of these compounds in the extract may have contributed to the observed effects.
- Antipyretic Potential – Shukla et al. evaluated the antipyretic property of A. marmelos on Brewer’s yeast induced pyrexia in albino rats. They reveal that the ethanolic extract, at a dose of 200 mg/kg body weight and 400 mg/kg body weight, produced significant (P<0.001) reduction in elevated body temperature in a dose-dependent manner. This antipyretic effect of extracts was comparable to that of paracetamol (100 mg/kg body weight),.
- Ulcer Healing Potential – Sharma et al. investigated anti-ulcer activity of the methanolic and aqueous extract of A. marmelos seeds using indomethacin-induced ulceration stressed induced ulceration and pylorus ligation induced ulcerations. Methanolic extract showed significantly (P<0.01) ulcer protective action at the doses of 200 and 400 mg/kg body weight in all animal model. The aqueous extract was also found to possess significant (P<0.05) ulcer healing property at the same doses as of methanolic extract. A significant reduction in the volume of gastric juice, free acidity, and total acidity, along with the increase in pH was observed in pylorus-ligated rats. The antiulcer property of both the extracts was attributed due to the presence of quercetin like (flavonoid) contents. Another study indicated that A. marmelos fruit pulp extract treated albino rats show a significant decrease in mucosal thickness, superoxide dismutase, catalase activity, and glutathione level. A significant increase in ulcer index, aspartate aminotransferase, alanine aminotransferase, lipid peroxidation activity was also observed. These results suggest that gastroduodenal protective and antiulcerogenic properties of A. marmelos may also depend on antioxidant mechanism,.
- High Antioxidants – Wood apple contains very high phenolic (flavonoids) compounds, which is known as antioxidants. All the tree parts (root, bark, leaves) and fruits contain antioxidants. As we already know, antioxidants play a great role in healing damaged cells caused by free radicals, therefore preventing degenerative diseases (such as Alzheimer’s, dementia, heart disease) and cancers. Antioxidants also help to delay the aging process, keeping our skin youthful much longer. A research shows that the best antioxidant actions are obtained from the leaves. So, the best way to get antioxidants is drinking wood apple leaves tea.
- Hepatoprotective – Wood apple leaves have been used to treat alcohol-stimulated liver injury and jaundice since ancient time. The remedy is 1 teaspoon of mashed leaves mixed with a pinch of black pepper, taken 3 times a day. Consume a cup of buttermilk (or simply warm milk) after taking the remedy.
- Antigenotoxic Activity – Antigenotoxic activity of A. marmelos fruit extracts were tested by Kaur et al. using E. coli PQ37 (SOS chromotest) and the peripheral human blood lymphocytes (Comet assay). Methanol and acetone extract are effective in decreasing the SOS response induced by hydrogen peroxide and aflatoxin B1 in the SOS chromotest. Methanol extract inhibited the genotoxicity of H2O2 by 70.48% and that of aflatoxin B1 by 84.65%. The extracts showed a significant decrease in the tail moment induced by hydrogen peroxide (9 µmol/L) in the single cell gel electrophoresis assay. The antigenotoxic activity exhibited by the extracts may be attributed the various polyphenolic constituents present in these extracts. These polyphenolic constituents possess the potential to protect DNA from reactive oxygen species and S9 dependent mutagens. Various reports showed that polyphenolic rich extracts can reduce the activity of enzymes involved in aflatoxin B1 metabolism. The marked inhibitory effect against aflatoxin B1 may be due to inhibition of the activity of cytochrome P450 dependent enzymes involved in the activation of aflatoxin B1 .
- Diuretic Activity – Singh et al. investigated the diuretic activity of various organic extracts and their fractions of A. marmelos fruit in experimental models. The extracts were administered to experimental rats intraperitoneally at doses of 300, 400 and 500 mg/kg. They evaluated the diuretic effect by measuring urine volume and sodium content in urine. They found that ethanolic extract produces a significant increase in excretion of sodium at the higher dose (500 mg/kg). Petroleum ether, chloroform, and ethyl acetate fractions are also effective.
- Antifertility Activity – A. marmelos leaf, seed, and fruit is known to affect male fertility in a reversible manner. A. marmelos bark extract is a rich source of marmin and fagarine known for reducing male fertility. Agrawal et al. found that methanolic extract of A. marmelos causes a dose and duration dependent infertility via reducing reproductive organ weight and serum testosterone levels. They also report a reduction in sperm density, motility, viability and sperm acrosomal integrity. Exfoliation of elongated spermatids, nuclear chromatin condensation and degeneration were found in testes histopathological studies and presence of spaces within the germinal epithelium signifying testicular cytotoxicity and necrosis. Finally, time dependent complete infertility was observed in that study. The authors also reported that after the withdrawal of treatment, complete restoration of the morphological, as well as physiological parameters in extract, treated rats. These findings suggest that A. marmelos extract is a strong candidate for male contraceptive via its ability to produce complete inhibition of pregnancy, rapid restoration of fertility after withdrawal from treatment.
- Anti-inflammatory Activity – Different organic extracts of the A. marmelos leaves possess highly significant acute and subacute anti-inflammatory activity. In acute and chronic inflammatory animal models, A. marmelos showed significant anti-inflammatory activity and it can be a promising anti-inflammatory agent. These activities may be due to the presence of lupeol and skimmianine in the leaves because both the compounds have shown the same potentialities in pure form. Activation of histamine receptor is essential for allergic and asthmatic manifestation. The alcoholic extract of A. marmelos leaves antagonized the histamine-induced contractions and demonstrated positive relaxant effect in isolated guinea pig ileum and tracheal chain, suggesting inhibition of H1 receptor activity this extract may underlie these effects.
- Aid in Digestion – Wood apple is great for digestion because it helps destroy worms in the intestine and is a good remedy for disorders. It is also recommended as a remedy for chronic dysentery. The trunk and branches of wood apple trees contain a gum-like substance called ‘Feronia gum’. It is commonly used in curing diarrhea and dysentery. Wood apple fruit is also recommended for people with peptic ulcer or piles since wood apple tree leaves contain tannin, which is known to reduce inflammation. The laxative property of wood apple also helps to avoid and the subsequent, pain, discomfort and associated health risks of that condition. These, combined with the and antiparasitic activities, make this fruit ideal for enhancing the digestive health.
- Purify the Blood – As little as 50 mg of wood apple fruit juice mixed with warm water and sugar is recommended for blood purification and removal of toxins that cause extensive damage to the body. This reduces the strain on the liver and kidneys, which are the normal lines of defense against toxins.
- Treatment of Peptic Ulcer – Wood apple leaves contains plenty of tannins that help to cure ulcers. The leaves are drenched within water overnight, then the water is taken as a beverage each week. The sherbet made of ripe wood apple fruit also has a substance which covers the inner mucosa of the stomach, therefore helps to cure ulcers. It is recommended to drink the sherbat or eat ripe pulp atleast 3 days to cure the ulcers.
- Treatment of Respiratory Problems – Wood apple leaves also helps to treat respiratory problems. To reduce cold and cough, heat sesame oil combined with blackpepper seeds, a teaspoon of black cumin, and juiced obtained from wood apple leaves. When the heat is reduced until lukewarm, massage the oil to the head and scalp before bath. Consuming a wood apple leaf with 3-4 black pepper seeds and drink warm milk, later on, can reduce the occurrence of asthma. This needs to be done atleast 1 month
- Controls Diabetes, Uric Acid, and Cholesterol – Wood apple leaves contains methanol properties known for decreasing blood urea, cholesterol level, and blood sugar. Recent studies found that the potent activity of the methanol properties contains in the leaves is similar to contemporary drugs. The effect can be obtained by consuming wood apple leaves tea made of 1 teaspoon of dried leaves every day. The tea also reduces triglyceride and lipid profiles.
- Anti-Microbe – Wood apple leaves, roots, and fruit extracts contain cuminaldehyde and eugenol, substances which are known for their anti-microbial qualities. Wood apple extracts are also great as treatment of fungal and bacterial infections.
- Treatment of Tuberculosis (Early Onset) – Since wood apple has anti-microbial properties, it has been used since ancient time to treeat early onset of tuberculosis. The effect can be obtained by consuming ripe wood apple pulp mixed with brown sugar and honey regularly after dinner for atleast 40 days.
- Treatment of Arthritis and Gout – Wood apple extract has anti-inflammatory substances which help relaxing muscles in swollen regions and organs. The pulp of raw bael fruit is mashed and combined with hot mustard oil, then applied to inflamed joints. The pain and swell will be much reduced.
- Treatment of Scurvy – Wood apple contains vitamin C. As we all know, scurvy is a disease caused by vitamin C deficiency. We can add our daily need of vitamin C by eating wood apples.
- Treatment of Snake Bites – The extracts from roots and leaves of wood apple are used to treat snake bites since ancient time, and proven to be very effective. Meanwhile, it’s an alternative to prevent the snake poison infected to bloodstreams.
- Treatment of Ear Infection – The root of the wood apple tree is used to treat ear infections. A rigid part of the roots is dipped in neem oil and burned. The oil which drains through the burning is collected and used to treat ear infections, chronic irritations, and ear discharges.
- Treatment of Fever – The root and bark of wood apple tree can reduce fever since it has anti-inflammation and anti-microbial properties. The decoction of wood apple root and bark is taken 2-3 times a day, for atleast 3 days.
- Treats Hemorrhoids – The astringent and anti-inflammation effects of wood apple can treat hemorrhoids too. There are 2 ways of preparing the home remedy. First, smash an unripe wood apple fruit with 1 teaspoon of dried ginger and 1 teaspoon of dried fennel. Mix it with 4 cups of water, then drink it 3-4 times a day. The second, mix dried wood apple leaves, dried ginger, carom seeds and a pinch of blackpepper, then pound it until forming a powder, then mix it with a glass of buttermilk or lukewarm water. Drink it 3-4 times a day. The root of the wood apple tree is integral to the management and treatment of ear conditions and pain.
- Prevent Scurvy – Deficiency of vitamin C (ascorbic acid) causes scurvy, a potentially life-threatening condition. Since this fruit is rich in vitamin C, it can prevent the development of scurvy. This high level of vitamin C also increases the strength and potency of the immune system, thereby protecting people who consume wood apples from a variety of microbial and viral infections.
- Control Diabetes – The ‘Feronia gum’, in the trunk and branches of the wood apple tree, counteracts diabetes by reducing the severity of the condition. It also helps in managing the flow, secretion, and balance of sugars in the . By managing the insulin and glucose levels, it prevents the spikes and plunges that can be dangerous to diabetics.
- Relieve Respiratory Problems – Leaves of the wood apple tree help people avoid chronic or recurring colds and related conditions. They also help in curing sore throat and treating cough. The leaves help in loosening phlegm and eliminating the build up in the respiratory system.
- Boost Energy – One hundred grams of wood apple pulp provides 140 calories, and the nutrients boost the organ activity and metabolic speed. The high protein content also means that your body can heal faster and the muscles can grow stronger, further boosting the energy.
- Good for Kidney – Regular consumption of wood apple is recommended for people with kidney disorders. Considering the powers of wood apples, the kidney can be protected from many diseases.
- Protect Liver Health – As a good source of beta-carotene, wood apples cure liver problems. They contain thiamine and riboflavin, both of which are known as liver health boosters. This fruit also functions as an ingredient in cardiac tonics.
- Heart diseases – Mix the juice of ripe bael fruit with some ghee. Include this mixture in your daily diet to prevent heart-related diseases like heart strokes and attacks. This can reduce blood glucose levels by nearly 54%.
- Gastro protection properties – This magical juice can cure gastric ulcers that are caused due to the imbalance of mucosa levels or oxidative stress in gastric tract. The phenolic compounds present in this juice are filled with antioxidants to reduce gastric ulcers.
- Cholesterol control – Bael juice helps in cholesterol control and also reduces blood cholesterol levels. Bael juice controls triglycerides, serum, and tissue lipid profiles.
- Constipation – Bael fruit juice is a best-consumed remedy to reduce constipation and stomach pain. This contains laxative properties to clean and tone the intestines. Drinking this regularly for 2-3 months will reduce sub-chronic constipation. You can mix this with sugar and drink twice a day to ease stomach pain for kids. Add some black pepper and salt to the juice to remove toxins from the intestines.
- Cooler – Drink bael fruit juice with honey to cure acidity. You can also apply this on your tongue to cure mouth ulcers. Drink bael juice before lunch or dinner to reduce heat and thirst from the body. This can be the best drink during the scorching summers!
- Skin rash – Mix 30ml of bay leaf juice, cumin with bael juice and drink it twice a day to cure urticaria. This can also be beneficial for skin rash and its symptoms like pale red raised itchy bumps.
- Breast milk – Wood apple juice can be consumed with dry ginger powder and jaggery by the infant mothers. This helps to produce more milk for the infants.
- Scurvy – Scurvy is a disease that occurs due to the deficiency of vitamin c. This has harmful effects on the blood vessels. Bael juice is a good source of vitamins and cures this disease.
- Respiratory problems – The juice of bael fruit can cure respiratory problems such as asthma or cold. This also gives resistance to cold.
- Control diabetes – Bael juice contains laxatives that are helpful to control the blood sugar levels. It stimulates the pancreas and helps them in enough production of insulin that controls sugar level in the blood.
- Cure Snakebites – In treatments, all parts of the wood apple plant are used to cure snakebites.