Importance of Bel (Wood Apple)

July 18th, 2011 by Jashodhara Purkayastha

Two decades ago my mother-in law planted a Bel tree near our flat. It grew into a big tree full of Bilva patra(Bel leaves) and bears fruits throughout the year. The bel fruitstake almost a year to ripen. It is smooth and light green in colour when tender and turns yellow when ripe. It has a speciality of its own; it drops down automatically when ripe. The fruit is yellow in colour with lots of seed and it is a fibrous fruit. After breaking the outer part of the fruit, pulp can be extracted. Though it is a labourious task to separate seeds from the fruit, yet it is refreshing and used as medicinal drink.The tree is thorny and evergreen. The leaves are trifoliate and very smooth.It is said that Bilvapatra is used for diabetic patients. The juice of the leaves is good for ulcers and intestinal aliments and very soothing for the eyes. The fresh leaves act as a mild laxative in fever. The root is used to cure heart palpitation. The bark of the tree is also used for intestinal aliments. It is said that the bel fruit juice is used in curing diarrhea, dysentery and used as a laxative. The large flowershave sweet fragrance and are greenish in colour.The religious value of bilvapatra is that without these leaves worship of Lord Shiva is incomplete. One offers bel leaf (with three leaves) to Shiva. It should be kept on the Shiva linga with its back facing upwards and stalk pointing towards the worshipper. The intention is to draw the combined energy from these three leaves towards oneself.

There are some mythological stories about Bel tree. Once I asked my mother about the bel tree. I notice one thing that, under the Bel tree there is no leaves left and its surrounding is always clean. My mother replied, that Nandi (The Bull) and Bhiringi(Bhrigu) clean up the place in the morning. The story goes like this way, one day a hunter who was very tired after searching his livelihood and rested below a tree. It became night and he could not proceed towards his house. He climbed on to the tree which was thorny. As he shifted here and there in the branches, the leaves started to fall. There was a Shiva Linga under the tree. The leaves fell one by one on the linga. Without the knowlege of the hunter, it seems he worshipped Lord Shiva with Bel leaves. We all know that Shiva is very kind hearted. He is always satisfied with little thing offered with devotion. Thus the hunter was redeemed by Lord Shiva. Vishnu Puja also cannot be completed without Bilva leaves. There is an auspicious occasion where Shiva (abhishek) puja is completed after offering hundred and eight bilva leaves during Shravan.

We all know that coconut tree is called Kalpavriksha, but in true medicinal sense and spiritual sense it should be the Aegle marmelos (Botanical name) or Bel tree.


Posted in Social Issues, Tips | 5 Comments »

5 Responses

  1. Swapan Purkayastha Says:

    Again this article points to India’s rich heritage of ‘Ayurved’. We not only use natural ingredients to help our inherent body, but also help in keeping our environment friendly. These ‘flora & fauna’ is equivalent to energy inducing food. Therefore no side effect as with ‘Alopathy’, if used in proper quantity.
    Our culture and tradition of ritual worship helps in being devoted and loving to our surroundings.
    We must stick to our old system which is lasting and has long term goal compared to immediate solution of developed cultures of now in tandem.


    Every thing has a value and so this fruit. A balance of everything is must. There are lots of books about medicinal value of various fruits and vegetables, spices.

    I tried bel sharbat and got good results. When we are positive about things they do work.

  3. Ajit Sambodhi Says:

    Hi Jashodhara:

    Thanks for all the information on bel tree. The article is quite informative. I got all the information that I needed. I’ll be using some of it in my next article.

    Om Shantih
    Ajit Sambodhi

  4. bharani Says:

    can you please tell in which direction it should be planted

  5. Jashodhara Purkayastha Says:

    Dear Bharani,
    Thank you for the comment. Though I’m not very expert in the field of religious text,yet
    I think Bel tree has to be planted towards East.

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