Bael fruit, a smooth woody shell that is so hard it has be cracked open with a hammer and has a green, yellow or green peel.
Bael scientifically known as Aegle marmelos is native to India and belongs to the same family as orange, and has now cultivated in a number of Asian countries such as Nepal, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Vietnam, Cambodia and Thailand.
The fruit can be eaten plain, mixed into a variety of beverages and desserts, or preserved as jam.
The ripe fruit is rich in beta-carotene, a precursor of vitamin A; it also contains significant quantities of the B vitamins thiamine and riboflavin, and small amounts of vitamin C.
The extract from bael leaves; roots and fruit have been studied for their antimicrobial properties.
This showed inhibition of many bacterial strains. Apart from bacteria, bael extracts were also effective in controlling fungal and viral infections.
The antimicrobial properties are due to the presence of bio-chemicals such as cuminaldehyde and eugenol.
Bael fruit is said to be the best natural medicine to cure constipation.
Adding a small amount of black pepper and salt to the pulp and consuming it regularly removes toxins from the intestines.
It is also rich in laxative which makes it useful in controlling the blood sugar levels.
This is because it energizes the pancreas and makes it produce enough amount of insulin which is necessary to control sugar level in the blood.
To cure swelling of the joints or limbs, make bael leaves paste and apply them on the swollen area.
Oil inside the leaves will sink into skin to cure the swelling. A decoction of the unripe fruit with ginger and fennel is said to be effective for the treatment of haemorrhoids.
The juice of its leaves mixed with honey can be used to relieve fever and catarrh.
The pulp of this tasty fruit is used in the treatment of vitiligo and a decoction of the leaves is said to alleviate asthma.
Bael fruits can be stored for 2 weeks outside the refrigerator and 4 in a refrigerator.