Wood apple (Aegle marmelos) popular with many names such as Japanese bitter orange, Bengal quince, bael, golden apple, or stone apple, is native to South and Southeast Asia (Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, India, Thailand, Indonesia). Hindu people consider the wood apple tree to be sacred, since it has been grown in India for more than 4000 years. The fruit is used as traditional medicines and as foods.
All part of the plant is useful and it is an important part in Ayurvedic medicine. The fruit is spherical, as big as a baseball. The shell starts with gray-green color, then turns into pale yellow. The shell is very hard and needs to be cracked with a machete or hammer. The pulp is yellow, fibrous and very aromatic.The fruit may contain resinous hairy seeds, covered with mucilage. The taste of the pulp is like a marmalade, but tangy and slightly astringent with aroma of a rose. The fruit can be used when it is unripe and ripe.
Wood apple has been used for traditional medicine since ancient Vedic time. Indeed, wood apple contains many nutritious substances, along with antioxidants and other unnamed compounds.
Let’s take a look at the nutritional value per 100 grams of wood apple’s pulp.
|Component||Amount/ 100 g|
|Vitamin A||55 mg|
|Vitamin C||8-60 mg|
The wood apple tree is the most valuable therapeutic plant in India, which is recorded in Charaka Samhita, a Sanskrit historic healthcare treatise. All parts of the plant, includes the stem, bark, root, leaves and fruit has therapeutic benefits and has been used as traditional medicine since ancient time. Thus, here is the health benefits of wood apple.
Ripe wood apple is the best of all laxatives. Apple Wood is able to help you cleansing and toning up the intestines. For the best effect, it is recommended to be consumed daily for 2-3 months in the form of sherbat, made from the pulp of the ripe fruit. The seeds are thrown away, then mix the pulp with milk and a bit of sugar. The pulp can also be consumed directly without adding any milk or sugar. 60 grams of fruit pulp is enough for an adult person.
2. Treatment of Diarrhea and Dysentery
The unripe wood apple fruit is the most efficient food treatment for chronic and alternating diarrhea and dysentery. The unripe fruit is sliced up and dried under the sun, then made into powder. Take 1 teaspoon of powder, mix it with brown sugar and warm water, then drink it 2 times a day. Taking wood apple powder will decrease blood and mucus in dysentery. The effect is not instant though, it needs to be taken atleast 1 week to give best result. Therefore, wood apple cannot be used for severe dysentery, where emergency medical treatment is really needed.
3. Treatment of Peptic Ulcer
Wood apple leaves contains plenty of tannin that helps curing ulcers. The leaves is drenched within water overnight, then the water is taken like beverage each week. The sherbat made of ripe wood apple fruit also has substance which covers the inner mucosa of the stomach, therefore helps curing ulcers. It is recommended to drink the sherbat or eat ripe pulp atleast 3 days to cure the ulcers.
4. Treatment of Respiratory Problems
Wood apple leaves also helps treating 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 blackpepper seeds and drink warm milk later on can reduce occurrence of asthma. This needs to be done atleast 1 month.
5. 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 everyday. The tea also reduces triglyceride and lipid profiles.
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Wood apple leaves, roots and fruit extracts contains 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.
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7. 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.
8. Treatment of Arthritis and Gout
Wood apple extract has anti-inflammatory substances which helps relaxing muscles in swollen regions and organs. 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.
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9. 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.
10. 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.
11. Treatment of Ear Infection
The root of 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.
See also: Symptoms of Inner Ear Infection
12. 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.
Studies have shown that the wood apple fruit extract has anti-proliferative and anti-mutagen properties. It inhibits the expansion of tumor cell lines. The fruit is also high in antioxidant, which helps a lot in curing cancers.
14. 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 great role in healing damaged cells caused by free radicals, therefore preventing degenerative diseases (such as alzheimer, dementia, heart disease) and cancers. Antioxidants also help delaying anging 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 leave tea.
Wood apple leaves has 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 blackpepper, taken 3 times a day. Consume a cup of buttermilk (or simply warm milk) after taking the remedy.
16. 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.
17. Treatment of Malaria
Take 1 teaspoon of bael flower juice and 1 teaspoon of holy basil leaves juice. Combine it with a teaspoon of honey, then consume it 2 times a day.
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18. Removes Intestinal Worms
The anti-parasitic actions can be taken by using 5 grams of dried or powdered pulp, mixed in water. Take it 2 times a day to get rid of intestinal worms.
19. Perfumery – Extracts of wood apple flowers are used in fragrance industry since ancient time.
20. Wood Apple and Hinduism
Wood apple has been used as medicine since ancient time, even before Vedic civilization. The fruit itself has been recorded in Yajur Veda. The tree has legendary significance and are planted in temples. Hindu people considered wood apple fruits holy and sacred. The leaves is used as sacred offerings to Lord Shiva, who is believed to live beneath wood apple tree.
How to Consume
The ripe wood apple fruit can be scooped out with a spoon and consumed plain, or mixed with milk and sugar to create rich and creamy milkshakes. The ripe pulp can also be used to make jams. But people usually consume wood apples simply because of its medicinal effects, not because of the taste.
Harvested fruits can be kept for 2 weeks in room temperature and 4 weeks in the refrigerator. The powdered or dried fruit can be kept for months in airtight containers.
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The ripe fruit should not be eaten on regular basis with no break. Since it has muscle-relaxing effect, consuming the fruit with no break can create atony of the intestines, lacks of normal flexibility and major flatulence. It should not be consumed excessively too, as extreme consumption can create a heavy sensation in the stomach.
Though there are many health benefits of wood apple, yet pregnant woman should stay away from wood apple. Consuming too much wood apple tea will raise abortion risk and uterine atony in third trimester pregnancy. So, also be aware with apple wood cautions.
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Wood apple certainly has so many health benefits. What a pity that the fruits are still difficult to find, unless we live in South and South-east Asia. Even in Indonesia, it is only can be found in forests and nobody really cares about it. If we travel to South Asia, it does not hurt to try to consume this fruit, even purchasing the dried form. As a result, there are many health benefits of wood apple that you now know.