A Systematic Review on Aegle marmelos (Bael)

 

Savita S. Mali, Rekha L. Dhumal, Vijay D. Havaldar*, Snehal S. Shinde, Nilam Y. Jadhav, Bhagyashri S. Gaikwad

Adarsh Institute of Pharmacy, Vita, Sangli 415311, Maharashtra, India

*Corresponding Author E-mail: vdh2006@rediffmail.com

 

ABSTRACT:

India is the largest producer of medicinal plants and is rightly called the “Botanical Garden of the World”. The medicinal plants have very important place in the health and vitality of human beings as well as animals. Over the last few years, researchers aimed at identifying and validating plant derived substances for the treatment of various diseases which provides health and nutrition promoting compounds. Bael (Aegle marmelos) is one of traditional plant of Indian origin. A literature review showed entire parts of the plant such as roots, barks, leaves, fruits, seeds and flowers are used to treat different diseases. It is a spiritual, religious and medicinal plant found in Asian countries like Bangladesh, Indonesia, China, etc. It has various therapeutic applications. Now days various products are prepared from different parts of the plant. This review includes biological profile, botanical description, physicochemical parameters, traditional uses, therapeutic applications and innovative aspects. The present review aims to compile general chemical profile, medicinal as well as economic importance, value added products such as juice, jam and toffee and other uses of Aegle marmelos.

 

KEYWORDS: Bael, value added products, medicinal values, traditional plant, botanical garden.

 

 


INTRODUCTION:

Bael contains various phytochemicals like alkaloids, tannins, essential oils, gums, resins, coumarin, polysaccharide that makes it useful in many ailments. Its nutritional aspect is much more significant as compared to other fruit. It also has great importance in the environment. It acts as climatic purifier; it releases greater percentage of oxygen in comparison to other trees. It has numerous crucial therapeutic applications like antifungal, analgesic, anti-inflammatory, antipyretic, hypoglycemic, anti-lipidemic, and immune-modulatory, anti-proliferative, wound healing, anti-fertility and insecticidal.

 

The fruits are also used to prepare a large number of by products such as candy, toffee, jam, juice etc. with the help of various post-harvest technologies These technologies helps to reduce the post-harvest losses resulting in increase in the shelf life of Bael products. Thus, it is a good income source for a needy farmer.3

 

The aim of this review is to know the phytochemical parameters, traditional uses and innovative applications of Bael fruit.

 

Biological profile:

Synonyms4

The various synonyms of Bael are Hindi (Bel, bael, sripal); Sanskrit (Bilva, sriphal, shivadruma, Shivapala); Telugu (Maredu); Bengali (Bel); Gujrati (Bil); Kannada (Bilpatra, kumbala, malura);

Tamil (Kuvalum); Thai (Matum and mapin); Cambodia (Phneou or pnoi); Vietnamese (Baunau);

 

Malayan (Majapahit); French (Oranger du Malabar); Portuguese (Marmelos); Java (Modjo).

 

Ecology1

Bael is of Indian origin found in various other countries such as Bangladesh, Egypt, Malaysia, Myanmar, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Thailand. The tree grows wild in dry forests on hills and plains of central and southern India and Burma, Pakistan and Bangladesh, also in mixed deciduous and dry forests.

 

Biophysical limits1,5

Altitude of Bael is 0-1200m; it requires mean annual temperature of 6 to 48º C and mean annual rainfall of 570-2000mm. Further, it requires well-drained soil and also grows well in swampy, alkaline or stony soils with pH 5 to 8.

 

Taxonomy4,6

Kingdom: Plantae

Order: Sapindales

Family: Rutaceae

Sub family: Aurantioideae

Genus: Aegle

Species: A. marmelos

 

Botanic Description1,4,7

Aegle marmelos is a slow-growing, medium sized tree, up to 12-15 m tall with short trunk, thick, soft, flaking bark, and spreading with spiny branches. A clear, gummy sap, resembling gum arabic, exudes from wounded branches and hangs down in long strands, becoming gradually solid. It is sweet at first taste and then irritating to the throat.

 

Leaves:

The deciduous, alternate leaves, borne singly or in 2's or 3's, are composed of 3 to 5 oval, pointed, shallowly toothed leaflets, 4-10cm long, 2-5cm wide, the terminal one with a long petiole. Mature leaves emit a disagreeable odor when bruised. 5

 

Flowers

Flowering occurs in April and May soon after the new leave. Fragrant flowers, in clusters of 4 to 7 along the young branch lets, have 4 recurved, fleshy petals, green outside, yellowish inside, and 50 or more greenish-yellow stamens.

 

Fruits

The fruit, round, pyriform, oval, or oblong, 5-20cm in diameter, may have a thin, hard, woody shell or a more or less soft rind, gray-green until the fruit is fully ripe, when it ripe turns yellowish. It is dotted with aromatic, minute oil glands. Inside, there is a hard central core and 8 to 20 faintly defined triangular segments, with thin, dark-orange walls, filled with aromatic, pale orange, pasty, sweet, resinous, more or less astringent pulp. Fruit ripens in 10 to 11 months from bloom–March to June. Fruits contain 61.5g water, 1.8g protein, 0.39g fat, 1.7g minerals, 31.8g carbohydrates, 55mg carotene, 0.13mg thiamine, 1.19mg riboflavin, 1.1mg niacin, and 8mg per 100g of edible portion vitamin C. Bael fruit is highly nutritive with the richest source of riboflavin.

 

Seeds

In the pulp 10 to 15 flattened-oblong seeds are present. The seeds are about 1cm long, bearing woolly hairs and each enclosed in a sack of adhesive, transparent mucilage that solidifies on drying.

 

Physicochemical prameters of Aegle marmelos7-17

Bael gets its medicinal values on basis of the various bioactive compound present in it like alkaloids, coumarins, polysaccharides, essential oils etc. The other nutritional constituents present in Bael fruits are water, sugar, protein, fiber, fat, calcium, phosphorus, potassium, Iron and vitamins (Vit A, Vit B, Vit C and Riboflavin). The major Alkaloids present in Bael are aegelin, aegelinine, fragine, o-methyl halforodinine, o-iso pentanyl halfordinol, ethyl cinnamide, ethyl cinnamide. It contains 9% tannin in the pulp of wild fruits and its percentage is less in cultivated type. Tannins are also present in leaves as skimmianine. The essential oil of the leaves contains d-limonene, 56% a-d-phellandrene, cineol, citronellal, citral; 17% pcyrnene, 5% cumin aldehyde. The gum enveloping the seeds is most abundant in wild fruits and especially when they are unripe. The coumarins present in Bael fruit include marmelosin, marmesin, imperatorin, marmin, alloimperatorin, methyl ether xanthotoxol, scoparone, scopoletin, umbeliferone, marmelide and marmenol. Marmelosin a resinous substance is most probably the therapeutically active principle of Bael fruits. Ascorbic acid, sitosterol, crude fibers, α-amyrin, crude proteins are other minor constituent. The various polysaccharides present in Bael are Galactose, arabinose, uronic acid, L- rhamanose. Carotenoids are principle pigment responsible for imparting pale yellow colour to fruit.

 

Traditional uses1, 18

A. marmelos fruits may be cut in half, or the soft types broken, the pulp dressed with palm sugar and eaten for breakfast, as is a common practice in Indonesia. Beating the seeded pulp together with milk and sugar makes a popular drink called sherbet in India. A beverage is also made by combining Bael fruit pulp with that of tamarind. Mature but still unripe fruits are made into jam, with the addition of citric acid. Bael fruit toffee is prepared by combining the pulp with sugar, glucose, skim milk powder and hydrogenated fat. The young leaves and shoots are eaten as a vegetable in Thailand. An infusion of the flowers is a cooling drink. The wood is strongly aromatic when freshly cut. It is gray-white, hard but not durable. It has been used for carts and construction, though it is inclined to warp and crack during curing. It is best utilized for carving, small-scale turnery tool and knife handles, pestles and combs, taking a fine polish. The gum is commonly used as house hold glue and is employed as an adhesive by jewelers. Sometimes it is resorted to as a soap-substitute.  It is mixed with lime plaster for waterproofing wells and is added to cement when building walls. Artists add it to their watercolors and it may be applied as a protective coating on paintings.1 The unripe fruit is employed in tanning and also yields a yellow dye for calico and silk fabrics. The leaves are said to cause abortion and sterility in women. The bark is used as a fish poison. Tannin ingested frequently and in quantity over a long period of time is anti-nutrient and carcinogenic. Leaf extract has been found to have insecticidal activity. In large doses, it lowers the rate of respiration, depresses heart action and causes sleepiness. The fruit pulp has detergent action and has been used for washing clothes. The shell of hard fruits has been fashioned into pill and snuff boxes, sometimes decorated with gold and silver.

 

Therapeutic Applications of Aegle marmelos:

1. Diarrhoea and dysentery19- 21:

In case of chronic diarrhoea and dysentery without fever, half ripe or unripe fruit acts as a remedy. Half ripe fruit is considered best for the purpose but fully ripe fruits or even fruit powder has shown effective results. When the fruit is still unripe, it is cut, dried and ground into powder. The unripe fruit can also be consumed by baking and then consumption with brown sugar or jaggery. After use of fruit, the amount of blood passed in the fecal matter reduces and the faecal matter gets a more solid form.

 

2. Antidiabetic3, 10, 22-25

Aegle marmelos has been used as a herbal medicine for the management of diabetes mellitus in Ayurvedic, Unani and Siddha systems of medicine in India. Bael extract, when administered at a dose of 250mg/kg of body weight, shows better result than glycenamide (antidiabetic drug). This antidiabetic effect may be due to the coumarins present in the fruit. Aqueous extract of bael seeds reduces blood glucose level in case of severe diabetic patients.

 

3. Antioxidant22, 26 – 28

Bael fruit has proven to show antioxidant activity. On administration of Bael fruit extract of 250mg/kg of body weight, shows better results than glibenclamide (36μg/kg). The antioxidant activity may be due to presence of flavonoids, alkaloids, sterols, tannins, phlobatannins and flavonoid glycosides.

4. Anticancer18, 29 - 30

Anticancer effect of hydroalcoholic extract of Bael leaves is effective in the animal model of Ehrlich ascites carcinoma. This activity may be due to the presence of Skimmianine in extract.

 

5. Antidandruff18

The rind mix with coconut oil /Ginger oil is used to treat hair fall and dandruff.

 

6. Antitubercular18,31

In Ayurveda, it is used for the treatment of tuberculosis.

 

7. Hepatoprotective18, 31- 32

Aqueous extract of Bael fruit pulp and seeds are effective in the treatment and prevention of carbon tetra chloride induced hepatic toxicity.

 

8. Antimicrobial7, 22 - 25, 33

Ethanolic extract of dried fruit pulp of Aegle marmelos is effective against various intestinal pathogens.

 

9. Analgesic anti-inflammatory and antipyretic34- 36

Extract of leaves of Aegle marmelos used as inflammatory, antipyretic & analgesic.

 

10. Antifungal37-38

Essential oil from Bael leaves may interfere with the Calcium - dipicolonic acid metabolism pathway and possibly inhibit the spore formation and shows antifungal activity.

 

11. Ear problem18

Roots deeped in neem oil are used for ear infection, chronic inflammation and pus discharge.

 

12. Radio protective31, 36, 39

A decoction of the unripe fruit, with fennel and ginger, is prescribed in cases of hemorrhoids. It is also reported that the pulp increases tolerance of sunlight and aids in the maintaining normal skin color. It is also employed in the treatment of leucoderma.

 

13. Antiulcer27, 40

Oral administration of pyranocoumarin isolated from the seeds of Aegle marmelos Correa, showed significant protection against pylorus-ligated and aspirin-induced gastric ulcers. Unripe Bael fruit extract produce a significant inhibition of absolute ethanol induced gastric mucosal damage.

 

14. Antiviral41- 43

It is also found that A. marmelos has antiviral activities in the early stages of viral replication with minimum host cytotoxicity in contrast to modern vermicidal chemotherapeutic agents (that is ribavirin), which usually act in the later stages of viral infection.

15. Diuretic31

Sharma GN et al found that ethanolic extract produce significant increase in excretion of sodium at the higher dose (500mg/kg). Petroleum ether, chloroform and ethyl acetate fractions are also found to be an effective solvent.

 

16. Antifertility31

Ethanolic extracts of leaves of A. marmelos had a considerable effect on the motility of sperm. It was also proposed that an increase in concentration of the extracts decreased the motility of sperms.

 

17. Toxicological studies44

Total alcoholic, total aqueous, whole aqueous and methanolic extracts were collected from the leaves of A. marmelos but not reported any adverse effect up to a maximum dose of 250mg/kg body weight.

 

18. Constipation

Ripe fruit has been considered as the best of all known laxatives. In case of constipation, administration of ripe fruits cleans and tones up the intestines. Its regular use for 2-3 months has been effective in removal of even old and accumulated fecal matter from bowels. For best results, the pulp of ripe fruit is crushed and made into a sherbet. Seeds are removed for reducing the bitterness and sugar and/or milk can be added to make it more palatable.

 

19. Gynecological disorders31

The regular consumption of Bael helps to prevent gynecological related issues.

 

20. Digestive disorders27

It supports intestinal biological formulations and protects the digestive system from ulceration, reduces the frequency of Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), intestinal spasm thus beneficial in treating of diarrhea, dysentery, and other infections of Elementary canal.

 

21. Antiepilepsy18

Flowers are used as tonic in epilepsy.

 

22. Piles treatment18

The extract of unripe Bael fruit is helpful in curing of piles and hemorrhoids.

 

23. Antidote in Snake bite18

Root leaves and barks are used as antidote in snake bite.

 

Innovative aspects of bael (Aegle marmelos)45-49

Though Bael fruit has a therapeutic, medicinal, and nutritional value, there is an urgent need to develop the processing technology of this neglected but valuable fruit into different commercial value added products. These products have extended shelf life and also are beneficial to the consumers. In order to reduce the post-harvest losses of Bael and retain better flavour and vitamins, various process technologies are employed. A large number of Bael processed products available in market such as Pulp, Preserve, candy, toffee, fruit powder, fruit extract, fruit extract powder, Bael seeds, dried unripe fruit slices, ripe fruit drink, Bael fruit tea (either entirely made of Bael or a blend of Bael fruit and other ingredients such as ginger or lemon or others), Bael fruit juice, jelly and jam and probiotic chocolate. The innovative application of Bael (Aegle marmelos) is it can be used as prebiotic in the preparation of probiotic chocolate which has the beneficial effects as a prebiotic encapsulation of probiotic culture so as to make the process symbiotic. The various following products are obtained by different processes carried on different parts of the plant –

 

Pulp50

The Bael fruits were thoroughly washed in running tap water and broken by striking against hard surface. The fruit flesh along with its seeds and fiber were scooped out with the help of stainless steel spoon. An equal amount of water to the weight of pulp was mixed which was kneaded, heated for 1 minute at 800 C and passed through pulper to obtain homogenized pulp free from seeds and fiber.

 

Squash5

The squash prepared with 25 per cent level of pulp was found to be organoleptically overall acceptable and this formed the basis for standardization of recipe.

Bael powder 5

 

For preparation of powder the matured green Bael fruits were cut into 2-2.5cm size shreds and subjected to differed treatment and dried in cabinet drier at 50-60oC till the moisture content was less than 10 per cent.

 

Bael preserve20

The Bael preserve was prepared by slow syruping method as this method was found to be suitable for the improvement of colour, taste and overall acceptability. This method was found to more suitable than any other methods.

 

Bael juice20, 51:

Bael fruit pulp is extracted with water and mixed with different ingredients like sugar, mixture of sugar and lime, jaggery and mixture of jaggery and lime with flavoring component cardamom powder.

 

Bael jam20:

Bael fruit pulp is extracted with water and cooked with adding different combination of sugar (75%, 100% & 150%) for 20 minutes. Lime juice is added to set pectin. After 20 minutes cooking the jam is tested for the jam consistency (Soft ball stage).

 

Bael toffee20:

Bael fruit pulp is extracted with water and cooked for 20 minutes with adding different combination of sugar (100%, 150% & 200%). After 20 minutes cooking, ghee is poured in thick bottom pan with cooked pulp. Then corn flour, milk powder and citric acid are added to it by dissolving in water. The mixture is cooked for 20 minutes and consistency is tested.

 

The idea of combining all these ingredients and making a product with the goodness of each of the ingredients gives the synergistic effect in the functional food.

 

CONCLUSION:

Bael fruit has high therapeutic and medicinal value. There is need to exploit the innovative commercial products of Bael by avoiding post harvested losses of fruit so that it can be processed into suitable products. Such food products will be beneficial to the consumers due to its nutritional value and therapeutic importance. The present review elaborates various therapeutic and innovative approaches to find out the perspective on globalization of the Bael tree. There is a need to develop, protect and promote traditional medicines for the betterment of the health care system.

 

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS:

Authors are thankful to Founder and President of Loknete Hon. Hanmantrao Patil Charitable Trust, Vita for permitting us to carry out the research work.

 

CONFLICT OF INTEREST STATEMENT:

The authors declared no conflict of interest.

 

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Received on 11.11.2019         Modified on 30.12.2019

Accepted on 24.01.2020  ©A&V Publications All right reserved

Res. J. Pharmacognosy and Phytochem. 2020; 12(1):. 31-36.

DOI: 10.5958/0975-4385.2020.00007.2