Aegle marmelos for diabetes, an old time effective medicine
egle marmelos have been used in Ayurveda medicine as a diabetic remedy for thousands of years in Indian. Though more prized for its medicinal virtues than its edible qualities, this interesting member of the Rutaceae family is, nevertheless considered a edible fruit. It is known by several names: bael fruit, Correa, Bengal quince, Indian quince, golden apple, holy fruit, stone apple. In French oranger du malabar, in Portuguese Marmelos.
Aegle marmelos is a medium size tree measuring 40 to 50 ft (12-15 m) tall with a short trunk and a thick and soft flaking bark. Its branches are sometimes spiny and the lower ones usually sags. If punctured the limbs exude a clear and gummy sap which resamble gum arabic. Fruits are round or oval with 2-8 in (5-20 cm) in diameter and may have a thin, hard, woody shell of a more or less soft rind. The inside is filled with an aromatic, pale-orange, pasty, sweet, resinous pulp. Embedded in the pulp are 10 to 15 seeds, flattened-oblong, about 3/8 in (1 cm).
First accounts of aegle marmelos properties have been found as early as 800 B.C. The trees grows wild in central and southern India and Burma, Pakistan and Bangladesh. In India is found in gardens and temples because it is considered a sacred tree.
Most consumption is perhaps less as food and more as medicine. Fruits may be cut in half and the pulp dressed with sugar and eaten for breakfast in Indonesia. A popular drink in India is made by beating the seeded pulp with milk and sugar or simply mixing with water, and sometimes mixed with tamarind. Marmelade is often made from unripe fruits. The young leaves and shoots are eaten as a vegetable in Thailand and used to season food in Indonesia. An infusion of the flowers can make a cooling drink.
Anti Diabetic Properties
The chief anti diabetic action in aegle marmelos is its powerful antioxidant properties. To understand how important antioxidants are in diabetic treatment we first need to know what is the impact free radicals have in this disease. Oxidative stress (damage by free radicals) is known to have a significant role in the onset of diabetes.
The exact mechanism of action is not well understood but free radicals are known to produce glycation of proteins, inactivation of enzymes, alterations in structural functions of collagen basement membrane all responsible for diabetes onset. Oxidative stress also have a significant effect on the glucose transport protein (GLUT) or at insulin receptors.
The compounds responsible are found in the leaves and pulp. Leaves contain alkaloids, cardiac glycosides, terpenoids, saponins, tannins, flavonoids and steroids. The pulp contain steroids, terpenoids, flavonoids, phenolic compounds, lignin, fat and oil, inulin, proteins, carbohydrates, alkaloids, cardiac glycosides and flavonoids. (please refer to references for a complete list of studies)
Aegle marmelos extract was found to significantly reduce serum glucose in laboratory animals. Laboratory rats were diabetes induced by administration of alloxan which is a toxic glucose analogue that destroys insulin producing cells by damaging islet cells of the pancreas by liberating oxygen radicals. (alloxan is also found in white flour as it is used as a bleaching agent). Aegle marmelos leaf alchol extract was used and found to have significantly reduce blood sugar in alloxan diabetic rats. Results could be seen after 6 days of continuos administration. On the 12th day sugar levels were found to be reduced by 54%. Oxidative stress was found to be significantly lowered by the extract. This was evidenced by a significant decrease in lipid peroxidation, conjugated diene and hydroperoxide levels in serum as well as a reduced liver damage were found.
Other Medicinal Properties
Medicinal Uses: The fresh ripe pulp of the higher quality cultivars, and the “sherbet” made from it, are taken for their mild laxative, tonic and digestive effects. A decoction of the unripe fruit, with fennel and ginger, is prescribed in cases of hemorrhoids. It has been surmised that the psoralen in the pulp increases tolerance of sunlight and aids in the maintaining of normal skin color. It is employed in the treatment of leucoderma. Marmelosin derived from the pulp is given as a laxative and diuretic. In large doses, it lowers the rate of respiration, depresses heart action and causes sleepiness.
For medicinal use, the young fruits, while still tender, are commonly sliced horizontally and sun-dried and sold in local markets. They are much exported to Malaya and Europe. Because of the astringency, especially of the wild fruits, the unripe bael is most prized as a means of halting diarrhea and dysentery, which are prevalent in India in the summer months. Bael fruit was resorted to by the Portuguese in the East Indies in the 1500’s and by the British colonials in later times.
A bitter, light-yellow oil extracted from the seeds is given in 1.5 g doses as a purgative. It contains 15.6% palmitic acid, 8.3% stearic acid, 28.7% linoleic and 7.6% linolenic acid. The seed residue contains 70% protein.
The bitter, pungent leaf juice, mixed with honey, is given to allay catarrh and fever. With black pepper added, it is taken to relieve jaundice and constipation accompanied by edema. The leaf decoction is said to alleviate asthma. A hot poultice of the leaves is considered an effective treatment for ophthahnia and various inflammations, also febrile delirium and acute bronchitis.
A decoction of the flowers is used as eye lotion and given as an antiemetic. The bark contains tannin and the cournarin, aegelinol; also the furocourmarin, marmesin; umbelliferone, a hydroxy coumarin; and the alkaloids, fagarine and skimmianine. The bark decoction is administered in cases of malaria. Decoctions of the root are taken to relieve palpitations of the heart, indigestion, and bowel inflammations; also to overcome vomiting.
The fruit, roots and leaves have antibiotic activity. The root, leaves and bark are used in treating snakebite. Chemical studies have revealed the following properties in the roots: psoralen, xanthotoxin, O-methylscopoletin, scopoletin, tembamide, and skimmin; also decursinol, haplopine and aegelinol, in the root bark.
How to use Aegle marmelos
It can be used as extracts or fresh juice. Alcohol extracts have shown the biggest benefits in previous studies. All the extracts however, reduces blood sugar levels in diabetic.
Alcohol extract (120 mg/kg body weight) of the leaves of Aegle marmelos reduces the
blood sugar level. Reduction in blood sugar can be seen from 6th day after continuous
administration of the extract and on 12th day sugar levels can be reduced as much as 54%.
The pulp also contains a balsam-like substance, and 2 furocoumarins-psoralen and marmelosin highest in the pulp of the large, cultivated forms.
There is as much as 9% tannin in the pulp of wild fruits, less in the cultivated types. The rind contains up to 20%. Tannin is also present in the leaves, as is skimmianine.
The essential oil of the leaves contains d-limonene, 56% a-d-phellandrene, cineol, citronellal, citral; 17% p-cyrnene, 5% cumin aldehyde. The leaves contain the alkaloids O-(3,3-dimethylallyl)-halfordinol, N-2-ethoxy-2-(4-methoxyphenyl) ethylcinnamide, N-2-methoxy-2-[4-(3′,3′-dimethyalloxy) phenyll]ethylcinnamide, and N-2-methoxy-2-(4-methoxyphenyl)-ethylcinnamamide.
The leaves are said to cause abortion and sterility in women. The bark is used as a fish poison in the Celebes. Tannin, ingested frequently and in quantity over a long period of time, is antinutrient and carcinogenic.
The fruit pulp has detergent action and has been used for washing clothes. Quisumbing says that bael fruit is employed to eliminate scum in vinegar-making. The gum enveloping the seeds is most abundant in wild fruits and especially when they are unripe. It is commonly used as a household 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.
The limonene-rich oil has been distilled from the rind for scenting hair oil. The shell of hard fruits has been fashioned into pill- and snuff boxes, sometimes decorated with gold and silver. The rind of the unripe fruit is employed in tanning and also yields a yellow dye for calico and silk fabrics.
In the Hindu culture, the leaves are indispensable offerings to the ‘Lord Shiva’. The leaves and twigs are lopped for fodder. A cologne is obtained by distillation from the flowers. The wood is strongly aromatic when freshly cut. It is gray-white, hard, but not durable; 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.
Food Value Per 100 g of Edible Portion*
|Ascorbic Acid||8-60 mg|
|Tartaric Acid||2.11 mg|
Video of aegle marmelos tree, just simple open and close up shots of the tree
A street vendor outside the Kolkata Municipal Corporation building makes pana (strained-pulp-juice) from Bel or the Wood-Apple. To Hindus; the fruit is used in traditional medicine as an antibacterial, antifungal, as well as remedy for gastric disorders. Aegeline (N-[2-hydroxy-2(4-methoxyphenyl) ethyl]-3-phenyl-2-propenamide) is the active ingredient. The fruit somewhat resembles a grapefruit but has a hard shell that has to be cracked open. Bel pulp looks/feels like mango pulp, smells like hibiscus, and tastes like marmalade.
- Antidiabetic Activity of Aegle Marmelos and its relationship with its Antioxidant Properties
- Antidiabetic activity of leaf and callus extracts of Aegle marmelos in rabbit
- A STUDY OF HYPOGLYCEMIC AND ANTIOXIDANT ACTIVITY OF AEGLE MARMELOS IN ALLOXAN INDUCED DIABETIC RATS
- Medicinal Values of Bael (Aegle marmelos) (L.) Corr.: A Review
- Aegle marmelos (Linn.) Correa: A potential source of Phytomedicine
- ethnobotanical aspects of Aegle marmelos