गन्धगर्भः - Aegle marmelos


Name - बिल्वः

Botanical name - Aegle marmelos

Description - Deciduous glabrous tree, up to 8 m in height and 1 m in girth, bark shallowly furrowed and corky; leaves alternate, with straight sharp axillary thorns (buds), trifoliate, aromatic; flowers in axillary panicles, greenish white, fragrant; fruit hard-shelled, up to 5 cm in diameter, greyish or yellowish, scented, pulp orange, sweet and gummy; seeds numerous, oblong, compressed, testa mucous.

Chemical Constituents- Root contains auraptene, marmin, umbelliferone and lupeol. Alcoholic extract of root gave psoralen, xanthotoxin, dimethoxy coumarin, scopoletin, tembamide marmin, skimmianine, and a glycoside skimmin. The presence of decursinol, an alkaloid haplopine, skimmianine - fagonine, marmesin, marmin, xanthotaxin, umbelliferone and lupeol is also reported from root bark. Wood contains, vinyl acetate, xanthtoxol-8-O-Beta-D-glucopyranoside, furoquinoline alkaloid, dictaminine, marmelin, Beta- sitosterol. Fruit and stem contains gum. Fruit rind contains tannin. Fruit contains xanthotoxol, coumarins scoparone, scopoletin, umbelliferone, marmesin, skimmin, allaimperatorin, marmesolin and Beta-sitosterol, marmelide and psoralen. Seeds contain fatty oil. Bark contains tannin. Leaves yield an essential oil, 4 alkaloids besides aegelenine and aegeline; also condensed tannins, phlobotannins, flavan-3-ols, leucoanthocyanins, anthocyanins, flavonoid glycosides, skimmianine, Beta-sitosterol, rutin, marmesinin.

Use - The drug called Bel (or Belae fructus) comprises fresh, ripe or half-ripe fruits of the tree. The Bel fruit is valuable chiefly for its mucilage and pectin it is very useful in chronic diarrhoea and dysentery, particularly for patients having diarrhoea alternating with spells of constipation. Sweet drinks (Sharbats) prepared from the pulp of the fruits are useful as soothing agents for intestines of patients who have just recovered from bacillary (dysentery. The unripe or half-ripe fruits improve appetite and digestion. The antibiotic activity of the leaf, fruit and root of this plant has been confirmed in some recent experiments.

Medicinal plants of India ; Ayurveda

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