The Bael tree is considered a sacred tree by Hindus since they associate it with the Lord Shiva, one of their supreme gods. In Hinduism, if Brahma is the creator god and Vishnu is the preserver god, Shiva maintains the balance and complete the trinity by being the destroyer. This Hindu god is interesting, because of his complex character. He may represent goodness and benevolence, but he also represents darkness since he is the god of destruction. He is believed to be connected to all of us, as his presence exists in the form of one’s consciousness.
The Bael tree is important in the worship of Shiva. This is the reason why these trees are cultivated in the vicinity of the deity’s temples. The trifoliate leaves of this sacred plant represent creation, preservation, and destruction, which are all connected according to Hindu religion. It is believed that if a worshipper wants to attain the highest bliss of being one with this god, he has to sit under the Bael tree.
Aside from being a sacred tree in Hinduism, different parts of the Bael are used in Ayurveda, the healing system which originated in India. The Bael fruit is used to improve digestion. The root is used to relieve vomiting. The stem is used to relieve cough, cold, and rheumatoid arthritis. The flower is used to relieve dysentery and diarrhoea.
Characteristics of the Plant
The Indian Bael plant (Aegle marmelos L.) is known by its many names which include Japanese bitter orange, stone apple, wood Apple, Bengal quince, and golden apple. It is a mid-size deciduous tree which can grow up to 18m (in the right conditions) and is a native to the Indian subcontinent and has naturalized throughout much of Southeast Asia. This tree which bears strong pines, white flowers, and nutritious fruits, are not only used medicinally, its wood is used for carts, construction, and fuel. While sweet-smelling cologne can be contained by distillation from its sweetly - scented flowers.
Modern Medicinal Value
The Bael tree bears highly nutritious fruits that are a good source of powerful antioxidants, protein, beta-carotene, thiamine (vitamin B1), riboflavin (vitamin B2), vitamin A, vitamin C, fiber, calcium, phosphorus, potassium, iron, niacin, and mineral salts. It has a lot of medicinal benefits which include curing and preventing various health issues. Below are the benefits that one can get from consuming Bael fruit and drinking tea made from it:
- It can help people with diabetes
Diabetes is a serious health condition that can cause stroke, kidney failure, amputation, heart attack, and heart failure. It is an expensive disease that affects around 1.7 million Australians. Bael fruits are found to be beneficial for people suffering from this disease, because they can help lower sugar levels by stimulating the pancreas to secrete insulin and relieve diabetes-related constipation since these fruits contain laxatives.
- It can aid in digestion and may prevent constipation
As previously mentioned, the Bael fruit is a source of laxatives, which are substances that soften stools and promote bowel movement. It treats diarrhea, cleanses the intestines, protects the digestive system from ulceration, reduces inflammation, and promotes overall digestive health.
- It can help control cholesterol
Contrary to what many believe, cholesterol, the waxy fat-like substance that can be found in cells is not really bad for one’s health since the body needs it to make hormones. However, just like everything else, too much of it is unhealthy. Too much cholesterol in the blood can cause plaque, which sticks to the walls of the arteries. The Bael fruit can help by lowering blood cholesterol levels, controlling lipid profiles, and regulating triglycerides.
- It may treat respiratory problems
The Bael fruit can help prevent respiratory diseases and respiratory problems as it helps keep the lungs healthy and on top condition. It can also treat asthma and the common cold.
- It is good for the heart