Bilwa is a perennial tree which grows in arid climate. It is native to India, and is presently found throughout the Southeast Asia. It is widely cultivated in Thailand, Sri Lanka and other regions of the southern Asia. In India, it is considered as sacred fruit, and is also used traditionally as a medicine, home remedy, for ritual purposes etc since 2000 BC. Every part of this plant i.e. root, leaves, seeds and the fruit are usable for medicinal purposes because of its high level of nutritional values.
Botanically known as Aegle marmelos, Bilwa is commonly called as bengal quince, wood apple, golden apple, elephant apple, bilwa, monkey fruit and stone apple.
In indian mythology Bilwa is offered to please lord Shiva. Bilwa shares a very special relationship with Lord Shiva. The Lord Shiva is very fond of leaves of Bilwa, called as Belpatra. The medicinal properties of the unripe and the ripe friuts are considerably different.
The unripe fruits is Kapha vata hara, i.e. balances Vata and kapha. It is Teekshna (piercing) Snigdha (unctuous), Sangrahi (Absorbant), Deepana (improves digestion), Katu, Tikta, Kashaya (has pungent, bitter and astringent taste), Ushna (hot) in potency. Bilwa is one of the constituent of a very useful formulation of Ayurveda called as Dashmoola, which is hot in potency, pacifies tha Vata dosha, releives inflammations and alleviates pain.
Ripe fruit is difficult to digest and aggravates all the doshas.
The root of the plant balances Tridosha, relieves vomiting, is sweet and is light to digest. Dry fruits are considered better than fresh fruits for medicinal use.
Bilwa is stimulant, astringent, antiseptic, anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory, antispasmodic, antipyretic, antiemetic, carminative, stomachic, diaphoretic, expectorant, and diuretic.
MEDICINAL BENEFITS OF BILWA:
Provides Relief from Irritable Bowel Syndrome: Taking powdered bilwa with a glass of buttermilk (or warm water) twice a day helps in relieving the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome.
Enhances Appetite: Regular consumption of the leaves of Bilva for some days enhances appetite..
Manages Blood Sugar Level: Bilwa leaves juice helps in managing the blood sugar level as well as urination among diabetic person.
Manages Hypertension: Drinking juice of bilwa leaves or its decoction(boil dried bilwa leaves in water) helps in managing the hypertension.
Cures Indigestion and Constipation: Bilwa cures the problem of indigestion and constipation if it is consumed daily (not more than a cup) with jaggery for 2-3 months.
Helps treat Vitilgo: Bilwa fruit is rich in psoralen. Psoralen increases the body’s tolerance to the sun. in addition to psoralen, bilwa fruit is rich in carotene, which alongwith psoralen maintains normal complexion of the skin.
Destroys Harmful Intestinal Worms: It helps in destroying the harmful intestinal worms thus maintains good digestion and health.
Natural Blood Cleanser: Bilwa juice with little warm water and sugar acts as a blood cleanser and involves in the blood purification process by removing all the toxins.
Cures haemorrhoids: The extract of unripe bilwa fruit can effectively treat haemorrhoids.
Reduces Gastric ulcer: Bilwa has certain phenolic compounds containing anti-oxidants that help in fighting gastric ulcers. This type of ulcer is caused due to the imbalance in the acidic level in the stomach.
Antimicrobial property: Researchers have proved that the extract of bilwa fruit has antimicrobial functions. It also has anti viral and anti fungal properties that help in treating various infections in the body.
Can cure scurvy: Scurvy disease is caused due to the deficiency of vitamin C. Bilwa being a rich source of vitamins is capable of curing this disease when added to the diet.
NUTRITIONAL BENEFITS OF
Bilwa/Wood Apple per 100 g
Energy: 137 kcal
Fibres: 2.9 g
Water: 61.5 g
Carbohydrate: 31.8 g
Fat: 0.3 g
Protein: 1.8 g
Tartaric acid: 2.11 mg
Thiamine: 0.13 mg
Riboflavin: 1.19 mg
Niacin: 1.1 mg
Vitamin A: 55 mg
Vitamin C: 60 mg
Carotene: 55 mg
Calcium: 85 mg
Phosphorous: 110 mg
Iron: 480 mg
Manganese: 0.18 mg
Zinc: 0.10 mg
Magnesium: 41 mg
Chromium: 0.21 mg
Potassium: 600 mg
Dayanand Ayurvedic College