Aegle marmelos is a species of tree native to the Indian subcontinent and Southeast Asia. It is present in India, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Thailand, and Malesia as a naturalized species. It is a deciduous shrub or small to medium-sized tree, up to 13 m tall with slender drooping branches and a rather open, irregular crown.
Bael trees are indigenous to India and are found growing in abundance in the Himalayan regions, Bengal, Central and South India, as well as in Srilanka, Burma, Thailand, Bangladesh, Nepal, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, and Pakistan. Bael leaves are offered to the Indian deity, Lord Shiva, and the tree is planted extensively in temples for this reason
Bael is reported to contain biologically important phytochemicals such as the volatile compounds limonene, ?-phellandrene, p-cymene, linalool, ?-cubebene, cineole, p-cymene, citronella, citral, ?-cubebene, ?-caryophyllene, ?-humulene, caryophyllene oxide, humulene oxide, and hexadecanoic acid and coumarins such as aegeline, aegelenine, marmelin, furocoumarins, psoralen, o-isopentenyl halfordinol, and marmelosin. They also contain tartaric acid, linoleic acid, tannins, phlobatannins, flavon-3-ols, leucoanthocyanins, anthocyanins, and the flavonoid glycosides.
The plant is reported to contain Angeline, Aegelenine, Marmelosine, Marmelin, O-methyl halfordinol, alloimperatorin methyl ether, O-isopentenyl halfordinol, linoleic acid, cineole, p-cymene, citronella, citral, cuminaldehyde, d-limonene, eugenol, tannins, phlobatannins, flavon-3-ols, leucoanthocyanins, anthocyanins, and flavonoid glycosides
The unripe fruits are bitter, acrid, sour, and astringent; aids digestion and stomach irritation; and are useful in treating diarrhea, dysentery, and stomachalgia. The unripe dried fruit is an astringent, digestive, and stomachic and is prescribed for diarrhea and dysentery with spells of constipation. A sweet drink (sherbet) prepared from the pulp of its fruits produces a soothing effect on the patients who have just recovered from bacillary dysentery. The unripe and half-ripe fruits improve appetite and digestion. Bael fruit has been reported to possess antioxidant activity as well
Scientific studies have validated many of the ethnomedicinal uses and reports indicate that the fruit possesses a broad range of therapeutic effects that include free radical scavenging, antioxidant, inhibition of lipid peroxidation, antibacterial, antiviral, anti-diarrheal, gastroprotective, anti-ulcerative colitis, hepatoprotective, antidiabetic, cardioprotective and radioprotective effects.