Aegle marmelos

Family ► Rutaceae.

Habitat ► The plains and submountain regions of India, ascending to an altitude of 1,200 m in the western Himalayas; cultivated all over India.

English ► Bael tree, Bengal Quince.

Ayurvedic ► Bilva, Shriphala, Shaandilya, Shailuusha, Shalya, Sadaaphala, Mahaakapitha (Kapitha is equated with Feronia limonia), Maaluura, Rudrajataa, Rudranir-maalya, Shivajataakhya.

Siddha/Tamil ► Vilvam, Koovilam.

Action ► Stomachic, antimicrobial (specific for diarrhoea, colitis, dysentery and enteric infections), digestive, astringent, spasmolytic, hypoglycaemic.

Key application ► As antidiarrhoeal. (Indian Herbal Pharmacopoeia.) Along with other therapeutic applications, The Ayurvedic Pharmacopoeia of India indicates the use of root in dysuria; stembark in diabetes and lipid disorders.

A number of coumarins (including xanthotoxol and alloimperatorin methyl ether), flavonoids (including rutin and marmesin), alkaloids (including alpha-fagarine), sterols and essential oils have been isolated from plant parts. Pectin is an important constituent of the fruit.

Alkaloid aegeline, present in the leaves, is efficacious in asthma. The active principle in aqueous extract of leaf shows hypoglycaemic activity similar to insulin. Leaves are also given in jaundice. Alcoholic extract of seeds shows antiallergic activity.

Marmin, a coumarin isolated from the roots, shows anti-inflammatory effects experimentally. Marmin also inhibited gastric haemorrhagic lesions in rats and exhibited antiulcer effects. Seed oil showed beneficial effects in regeneration of tumour cells.

Aurapten is found to be the most potent inhibitor of heart rate. Rootbark is used for palpitation of the heart.

Dosage ► Pulp of unripe or half ripe fruit—3 g powder. Root—6 g powder. (API Vols. I, III.)

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