The Bel fruit, in actuality, is a herb having the botanical name, Limonia acidissima. Bel fruit has other names like wood apple, elephant apple and monkey fruit. This fruit is called elephant apple because it’s the favorite of elephants. It gets the name wood apple because of its hard wooden shell.
The wood apple tree is native to India. It is also cultivated in the southern parts of Asia. It is also found in some parts of Sri Lanka and Thailand.
Bel fruit also has great medicinal values. These benefits are attributed to the tannin present in the fruit. The benefits include:
Good for digestion: Bel fruit is good for digestion. It helps to destroy worms in the intestine. Bel juice is a good remedy for digestive disorders. It is also recommended as a remedy for chronic dysentery. The trunk and branches of bell trees have a gum called ‘Feronia gum’. They are used for curing diarrhea and dysentery. Bel fruit is recommended for people with peptic ulcer or piles. Bel leaves contain tannin, which reduces inflammation. The laxative property of wood apple helps to avoid constipation.
Blood cleanser: 50 mg. of the juice of bel fruit mixed with warm water and sugar is recommended for blood purification.
Prevents scurvy: Deficiency of vitamin C (ascorbic acid) causes scurvy. Since Bel fruit is rich in vitamin C, it is antiscorbutic.
Good for diabetic patients: The ‘Feronia gum’, contained in the trunk and branches of the tree, counteracts diabetes by reducing the severity of the condition.
Relief in respiratory problems: Leaves of Bel fruit tree help avoid repeated colds and related respiratory conditions. They also help in curing sore throat. Wood apple is also effective in treating chronic cough.
Cure snake bites: In Ayurveda treatment, all parts of the wood apple plant are used to cure snake bites.
Energy Booster: Hundred grams of Bel fruit pulp provides 140 calories and is therefore, a good energy booster.
Good for kidney patients: Regular consumption of wood apple is recommended for people with kidney complaints.
Effective for ear-aches: The root of the bel tree is used to check different kinds of ear problem.
Effective in liver problems: A good source of beta-carotene, wood apples also cure liver problems. They also contain thiamine and riboflavin.
Effective in cardiac problems: This fruit is an ingredient in cardiac tonic also.
Bel fruits can be consumed as ripe fruits or in juice-form. The ripe bel fruit is sweet and is also used for making a tasty drink known as wood apple milk. The ripe fruit is also consumed as custard with sugar or honey. The raw bel fruit is sour to taste and is used to make chutney.
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