Bael fruit (Aegle marmelos)
Natural Standard Bottom Line Monograph, Copyright © 2013 (www.naturalstandard.com). Commercial distribution prohibited. This monograph is intended for informational purposes only, and should not be interpreted as specific medical advice. You should consult with a qualified healthcare provider before making decisions about therapies and/or health conditions.
While some complementary and alternative techniques have been studied scientifically, high-quality data regarding safety, effectiveness, and mechanism of action are limited or controversial for most therapies. Whenever possible, it is recommended that practitioners be licensed by a recognized professional organization that adheres to clearly published standards. In addition, before starting a new technique or engaging a practitioner, it is recommended that patients speak with their primary healthcare provider(s). Potential benefits, risks (including financial costs), and alternatives should be carefully considered. The below monograph is designed to provide historical background and an overview of clinically-oriented research, and neither advocates for or against the use of a particular therapy.
Aegelenine, aegeline, Aegle marmelos, allocryptopine, alloimperatorin methyl ether, aurapten, β-sitosterol, bael, bael tree, bel, beli, Bengal quince, betulinic acid, bilva, bilwa, butyl p-tolyl sulfide, butylated hydroxyanisole, dimethoxy coumarin, essential oil, ethyl phosphonic acid diethyl ester, hexachloro ethane, Indian bael, lupeol, luvangetin, marmelide, marmelosin, marmenol, marmesin, methyl linoleate, montanine, palmitic acid, praealtin D, psoralen, rues, Rutaceae (family), rutacées, rutaretin, rutin, scopoletin, Shivadume, shivaphala, skimmianine, sripal, tannic acid, tannins (condensed), trans-cinnamic acid, umbelliferone, valencic acid, vilvam, wood apple, xanthotoxin, xanthotoxol.
Indian bael, a native plant of India, has spread over wide areas of southeast Asia. The ripe fruit and unripe fruit, as well as the roots, leaves and branches have all been used in traditional medicine. In Ayurveda, the ripe fruit has been used for chronic diarrhea and dysentery, as a tonic for the heart and brain, and as adjuvant treatment of dysentery. A decoction of the roots has been used to treat melancholia, intermittent fevers, and palpitations; the roots have mainly been used as an ingredient of the Ayurvedic medicine, dashmool. The leaves have been given as a febrifuge, and as a poultice for the treatment of eye disorders and ulcers; and administration of fresh leaves has been used for weakness of the heart, dropsy, and beriberi.
A survey showed that in 2001-2002 in a Himalayan region (State of Uttaranchal, Indian Republic), vaidyas (practitioners of Ayurveda) used Indian bael as an ingredient in respective herbal formulations for boils, dysentery, earaches, discharge from the ears, and fever/cold.
There are very few available human studies evaluating bael fruit for any condition, although Indian bael has been studied in animals and laboratory studies.
These uses have been tested in humans or animals. Safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious, and should be evaluated by a qualified healthcare provider.
Indian bael has traditionally been used as a treatment for diarrhea. However, capsules of dried powder of the unripe fruit were not effective in treating diarrhea in patients with shigellosis. Additional study investigating different preparations of bael fruit would help confirm this finding.
*Key to grades:A: Strong scientific evidence for this use; B: Good scientific evidence for this use; C: Unclear scientific evidence for this use; D: Fair scientific evidence against this use (it may not work); F: Strong scientific evidence against this use (it likely does not work).
The below uses are based on tradition or scientific theories. They often have not been thoroughly tested in humans, and safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious and should be evaluated by a qualified health care professional.
Abortifacient (induces abortion), angina pectoris (chest pain), antifertility agent in women, antifungal, antispasmodic, aphrodisiac, appetites stimulant, asthma, astringent, beriberi, boils, cardiac conditions (pericarditis), cardiotonic, catarrh (inflammation of mucous membrane), cholera, colds, constipation, convulsions, deafness, demulcent (soothes inflamed tissue), depressive disorder (major), diabetes, digestive, digestive complaints, dropsy (edema), ear discharge, earache, expectorant, eye diseases, eye disorders, fever, heart disorders, hemorrhage, hyperlipidemia (high cholesterol), inflammation, laxative, malaria, mental illnesses, nausea, ophthalmia (inflammation of eye), oral hygiene, pain, palpitations, radioprotection, rectal complaints (procititis and pruritus), restorative, scurvy, sexual dysfunction (seminal weakness), snake venom antidote, sores, stomachache, stomachic, swelling, thirst, thyroid disorders, tonic, tumors, ulcers, upper respiratory tract infections, vomiting.
The below doses are based on scientific research, publications, traditional use, or expert opinion. Many herbs and supplements have not been thoroughly tested, and safety and effectiveness may not be proven. Brands may be made differently, with variable ingredients, even within the same brand. The below doses may not apply to all products. You should read product labels, and discuss doses with a qualified healthcare provider before starting therapy.
Adults (18 years and older):
There is no proven safe or effective dose for bael fruit. Traditionally, individuals have taken 2-12 grams of the fruit powder, 28-56 milliliters of a bael decoction, or 12-20 milliliters of an infusion by mouth.
Children (younger than 18 years):
There is no proven safe or effective dose for bael fruit for children, and use is not recommended.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration does not strictly regulate herbs and supplements. There is no guarantee of strength, purity or safety of products, and effects may vary. You should always read product labels. If you have a medical condition, or are taking other drugs, herbs, or supplements, you should speak with a qualified healthcare provider before starting a new therapy. Consult a healthcare provider immediately if you experience side effects.
Avoid in individuals with a known allergy or hypersensitivity to Indian bael.
Side Effects and Warnings
In general, there is a lack of available safety reports on Indian bael. Based on traditional use, Indian bael may be safe when used in the traditional manner and the fresh, ripe fruit is taken by mouth, or when preparations of the pulp are taken in a drink (e.g., nectar, squash) or jam. Avoid dosages that exceed those used in traditional medicine.
Although not well studied in humans, large quantities of Indian bael may result in digestive complaints and constipation. It may also lower blood sugar. Patients taking thyroid hormones, herbs for thyroid disorders, or herbs that may exacerbate or induce hyperthyroidism, should use caution.
Pregnancy and Breastfeeding
Indian bael is not recommended in pregnant or breastfeeding women due to a lack of available scientific evidence. Indian bael leaves have been traditionally used to induce abortion and to sterilize women.
Most herbs and supplements have not been thoroughly tested for interactions with other herbs, supplements, drugs, or foods. The interactions listed below are based on reports in scientific publications, laboratory experiments, or traditional use. You should always read product labels. If you have a medical condition, or are taking other drugs, herbs, or supplements, you should speak with a qualified healthcare provider before starting a new therapy.
Interactions with Drugs
Indian bael, as extracts of the leaves or seeds, may lower blood sugar levels. Caution is advised when using medications that may also lower blood sugar. Patients taking drugs for diabetes by mouth or insulin should be monitored closely by a qualified healthcare professional, including a pharmacist. Medication adjustments may be necessary.
Although not well studied in humans, Indian bael may interact with thyroid hormones or anti-thyroid drugs. Caution is advised.
Interactions with Herbs and Dietary Supplements
Indian bael, as extracts of the leaves or seeds, may lower blood sugar levels. Caution is advised when using herbs or supplements that may also lower blood sugar. Blood glucose levels may require monitoring, and doses may need adjustment.
Although not well studied in humans, Indian bael may interact with thyroid extracts or anti-thyroid herbs or supplements. Caution is advised.
This information is based on a systematic review of scientific literature edited and peer-reviewed by contributors to the Natural Standard Research Collaboration (www.naturalstandard.com).
Natural Standard developed the above evidence-based information based on a thorough systematic review of the available scientific articles. For comprehensive information about alternative and complementary therapies on the professional level, go to www.naturalstandard.com. Selected references are listed below.
Anandharajan R, Jaiganesh S, Shankernarayanan NP, et al. In vitro glucose uptake activity of Aegles marmelos and Syzygium cumini by activation of Glut-4, PI3 kinase and PPARgamma in L6 myotubes. Phytomedicine 2006;13(6):434-441. View Abstract
Arul V, Miyazaki S, Dhananjayan R. Mechanisms of the contractile effect of the alcoholic extract of Aegle marmelos Corr. on isolated guinea pig ileum and tracheal chain. Phytomedicine 2004;11(7-8):679-683. View Abstract
Arul V, Miyazaki S, Dhananjayan R. Studies on the anti-inflammatory, antipyretic and analgesic properties of the leaves of Aegle marmelos Corr. J Ethnopharmacol 1-4-2005;96(1-2):159-163. View Abstract
Costa-Lotufo LV, Khan MT, Ather A, et al. Studies of the anticancer potential of plants used in Bangladeshi folk medicine. J Ethnopharmacol 5-13-2005;99(1):21-30. View Abstract
Jagetia GC, Venkatesh P, Baliga MS. Aegle marmelos (L.) Correa inhibits the proliferation of transplanted Ehrlich ascites carcinoma in mice. Biol Pharm Bull 2005;28(1):58-64. View Abstract
Jagetia GC, Venkatesh P, Baliga MS. Evaluation of the radioprotective effect of bael leaf (Aegle marmelos) extract in mice. Int J Radiat.Biol 2004;80(4):281-290. View Abstract
Kamalakkannan N, Prince PS. The effect of Aegle marmelos fruit extract in streptozotocin diabetes: a histopathological study. J Herb Pharmacother. 2005;5(3):87-96. View Abstract
Kesari AN, Gupta RK, Singh SK, et al. Hypoglycemic and antihyperglycemic activity of Aegle marmelos seed extract in normal and diabetic rats. J Ethnopharmacol 10-11-2006;107(3):374-379. View Abstract
Lambertini E, Lampronti I, Penolazzi L, et al. Expression of estrogen receptor alpha gene in breast cancer cells treated with transcription factor decoy is modulated by Bangladeshi natural plant extracts. Oncol.Res 2005;15(2):69-79. View Abstract
Narender T, Shweta S, Tiwari P, et al. Antihyperglycemic and antidyslipidemic agent from Aegle marmelos. Bioorg.Med Chem Lett 12-15-2006; View Abstract
Narendhirakannan RT, Subramanian S, Kandaswamy M. Biochemical evaluation of antidiabetogenic properties of some commonly used Indian plants on streptozotocin-induced diabetes in experimental rats. Clin Exp Pharmacol Physiol 2006;33(12):1150-1157. View Abstract
Panda S, Kar A. Evaluation of the antithyroid, antioxidative and antihyperglycemic activity of scopoletin from Aegle marmelos leaves in hyperthyroid rats. Phytother Res 2006;20(12):1103-1105. View Abstract
Rajadurai M, Prince PS. Comparative effects of Aegle marmelos extract and alpha-tocopherol on serum lipids, lipid peroxides and cardiac enzyme levels in rats with isoproterenol-induced myocardial infarction. Singapore Med J 2005;46(2):78-81. View Abstract
Sabu MC, Kuttan R. Antidiabetic activity of Aegle marmelos and its relationship with its antioxidant properties. Indian J Physiol Pharmacol 2004;48(1):81-88. View Abstract
Veerappan A, Miyazaki S, Kadarkaraisamy M, et al. Acute and subacute toxicity studies of Aegle marmelos Corr., an Indian medicinal plant. Phytomedicine 2-19-2007;14(2-3):209-215. View Abstract
Copyright © 2013 Natural Standard (www.naturalstandard.com)
The information in this monograph is intended for informational purposes only, and is meant to help users better understand health concerns. Information is based on review of scientific research data, historical practice patterns, and clinical experience. This information should not be interpreted as specific medical advice. Users should consult with a qualified healthcare provider for specific questions regarding therapies, diagnosis and/or health conditions, prior to making therapeutic decisions.
March 22, 2017