Indian Bael (Aegle Marmelos), also known as Bilwa, is highly valued for its wide-ranging medicinal properties in the ancient and holistic science of Ayurveda. The Bilwa tree grows in almost all regions of India. It is astringent, bitter, and drying by nature. It is considered a very sacred plant and has been extensively mentioned in the Holy Scriptures.
Its roots, skin, fruit, and leaves are used as curative medicines in the form of powders, juices, and oils. They come with various health benefits, ranging from digestion and immunity to boosting the overall quality of life. Ayurvedic doctors recommend consuming it in the form of the bilwadi churna, an efficacious Ayurvedic formulation with Bilwa as its primary ingredient (hence the name). Read ahead to find out what makes this plant so valuable:
Bilwa Plant for Digestion
Better digestive health and function are the most prominent benefits of the Bilwa plant. It has a long history of being prescribed by Ayurvedic doctors to alleviate digestive health issues and improve one’s overall quality of life. Consuming half-ripe Bilwa fruit can bind the bowels and improve bowel movement.
Unripe fruit can help alleviate conditions like indigestion and stomach pain and balance the three doshas (Vata, Pitta, and Kapha). Moreover, Bilwa juice has a cooling effect on the stomach and can help alleviate gastric ulcers by reducing oxidative stress and mucosa in the system.
In addition to that, the plant contains tannins that-
- Act as astringent for the bowel
- Help boost the body’s immunity
- Alleviate inflammation
The plant is also a rich source of dietary fiber, healthy fats, and minerals like potassium, phosphorus, magnesium, zinc, iron, copper, and calcium. Hence, when Bilwa is combined with other herbs in Ayurvedic medicines like the Bilwadi churna, it effectively helps manage digestive health conditions like-
- Stomach pain
The Bilwadi churna is one of the most effective ayurvedic medicines for gut health. Besides Bilwa, the concoction contains various vital ayurvedic herbs, including mochras, dhai flower, saunf, dhaniya, sonth, and Vijaya. When consumed, all these herbs work together to directly affect the brain’s regions responsible for the body’s digestive health and function.
Moreover, since it contains natural ingredients, this formulation is perfectly safe for consumption. It does not show any harmful side effects on health, unlike the traditional prescription medications for gut health issues.
The Various Health Benefits of Bilwa
Besides being incredibly effective for gut health, the Bilwa plant comes with numerous other health benefits.
The oil extracted from Bilwa helps alleviate respiratory problems, including colds and asthma. It has anti-fungal, anti-parasitic, and anti-viral properties that help prevent bacterial/viral infections and skin issues. It also helps flush out all the harmful toxins from the body, purify the blood, and thus prevent kidney and liver issues.
The antibacterial properties of the plant also help remove solidified wax from the ears, thus preventing ear infections and hearing issues. This is one of the lesser-known benefits of the plant. Bilwa is a rich source of vitamins A, B, and C, along with riboflavin and beta complex. These nutrients work together to enhance the-
- Breakdown of carbohydrates from foods
- Absorption and transportation of nutrients throughout the body
- Brain health and function,
- Digestion and appetite
- Cell health
- Growth of red blood cells
- Nerve function.
- Body’s overall energy levels
The potassium in Bilwa makes it an ideal Ayurvedic medicine for hypertension patients. It prevents the arteries from getting dry and enhances their function. This helps prevent strokes and other heart ailments. Potassium further helps eliminate excess sodium through urine to ease the tension in the blood vessels and reduce high blood pressure.
The Vitamin C concentrations in the plant help prevent scurvy, while its antioxidants can kill the free radicals in the body that cause cancer. The extracts of Bilwa leaves help control the cholesterol levels in the blood as they contain triglycerides and lipids, some of the essential fatty compounds in the blood.
They help balance the cardiovascular system, prevent heart diseases, and improve overall heart health. The pulp taken from a dried Bilwa fruit is often called the ‘diabetic bel’ and is recommended by Ayurvedic doctors as an essential remedy for diabetes. This is because its chemical compounds protect and energize the pancreas and improve insulin levels in the system that help control blood sugar levels.
Consuming this juice with jaggery and dry ginger powder can also be immensely helpful for infant mothers. Because it stimulates the production of prolactin and corticoids, the vital hormones that help with milk production and quality in breastfeeding women.
What the Studies Say
- Over the years, various researchers and medical professionals have conducted numerous studies on the efficacy of the Bilwa plant on various aspects of one’s overall health. Here are some of them:
- In an Indian study on antidiarrhoeal properties of Bilwa, it was found that Bilwa was highly effective against the strains of E Coli and Vibrio Cholerae, the bacteria that cause intestinal infection and cholera, respectively.
- The use of aqueous extracts of Bilwa seeds showed significant reductions in ulcers and acidity in the body.
- Unripe Bilwa fruit effectively decreased intestinal inflammation, stabilized the inflammatory mast cells of the immune system, and helped alleviate IBDs in the system.
- Another study on Bilwa’s antimicrobial activity showed that the plant had a direct influence on the production of bacteria in the cells of the gut. It reduces the levels of enterotoxins they produce, which are severely harmful to the digestive system.
- A scientific review of the plant showed that the essential oil extracted from the leaves of the Bilwa tree has incredible anti-fungal properties that are highly effective against various harmful animal and human fungi.
- Research further found that in case of a viral infection, the Bilwa plant exhibits highly efficacious anti-viral properties that help alleviate the condition in the early stages of the infection. Besides that, it does not show any adverse side effects on health.
The modern conventional drugs prescribed to kill such infectious viruses only act in the later stages of the condition, and they often worsen the infections with various harmful side effects, including cytotoxicity (spreading toxins to the body’s cells).
- A very interesting property of this plant is its radioprotective action. A study on its radioprotective activity showed that Bilwa leaves helped alleviate radiation sickness and its symptoms caused by radiation therapy and prevented radiation damage to the gut and the blood cells.
- The University of Ferrara, Italy, found that the plant leaves could also inhibit the growth and multiplication of various human cancer cells.
To learn more about the various health benefits of the Bilwa plant and how you can leverage Bilwadi churna to enhance your overall health and function, Contact Hempstreet and get the best Ayurvedic consultation for yourself.