|Bilwa Tree with its fruits|
Bilva or bael fruit also known as golden apple or wood apple is a fruit obtained from the bael tree, a species native to India. The woody shelled fruit requires almost 10 to 11 months to ripen for consumption. The tree is called ‘vilva maram’ in Tamil and ‘bilva’ in Telugu, A sacred tree for Hindus, the bael tree can be found in all Siva temples, especially in Tamil Nadu. All parts of the bael or bilwa tree, the root, the bark, leaves, fruit, flowers, twigs etc have immense medicinal value. There are a number of excellent medical concoctions Both Ayurveda and Siddha systems of medicine make use of the
Bilva or Vilva tree is well known for its medicinal properties, especially its action on the digestive system and the stomach in particular. The hard outer shell of the bael fruit or wood apple has to be broken open to relish the content with jaggery and cardamom. This is a tasty treat that can arrest diarrhea and dysentery. When taken with cumin seeds and ginger it is found to be effective in treating hemorrhoids. The decoction of the root is an anti-emetic and a good remedy for bowel inflammation. The decoction made of the bilwa leaves is used in treating peptic ulcer.
Vilva leaves have been successfully used to bring down excessive sugar levels in diabetic patients. For this purpose some 5-10 vilva leaves are soaked in plain water overnight. The next day morning the water soaked leaves are ground to a fine paste and then taken on empty stomach. This is also effective in treating diabetic ulcers. Tablets prepared from vilva leaves is an excellent remedy for hyperglycemia.
Vilwadi Lehyam/Bilwadi Leham is a well known product of the Kerala tradition that makes use of the Vilva fruit and other parts of the tree as its main ingredient Other ingredients include coriander, cumin, caraway, pepper, long pepper, ginger, korai kizhangu (musta), nagkesar (nagappu in Tamil). One of the effective ways of taking such preparations is to place them on betel leaf or banyan leaf,then lick and slowly munch them down.
Vilvadi lehyam is taken for ailments of the stomach like gastritis, vomiting, poor digestion, diarrhea and dysentry, and asthma. A tablespoonful (5 gms) of this lehyam ( a jam like concoction) can be taken with milk three times a day after food. This is a very effective remedy for those affected by the above said conditions under the guidance of an expert Ayurveda practitioner. This preparation is also useful in treating irritable bowel syndrome, heartburn, acid-reflux etc (IBD). There is no known side effects on taking this medication.
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