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The extreme heat and humidity has done away with my appetite. This is not a bad thing because I’m always happy to lose a few pounds and, in any case, my appetite returns with a vengeance in the middle of the night when it’s cooler. The middle of the night is not the best time to eat though…

During the day I’ve kept myself going with salads and bel juice from my favourite Organic supplier in Delhi I Say Organic

salad

Cherry tomatoes, rocket leaves and slivers of Parmesan

watermelon and mango

and bel juice.

bel juice

A cool, refreshing, energising, soothing glass of Bel Juice at Kalpana Misra’s Crescent Moon Yoga

Needless to say, the Bel I got was organic – from I Say Organic

I’ve gained some interesting knowledge about the Bel tree from Naveen Patnaik’s book The Garden of Life – beautifully illustrated – this is a book to own if you want to know about the healing plants of India.

The Bel Tree is Siva’s tree and the Siva Purana (from the 7th century AD) says

“The great night of Siva is the most sacred time for fasts, prayers and offerings, when even the most involuntary acts, if pleasing to Siva, are made holy.

There was a poor hunter once, who happened to take shelter during the night Siva’s sacred Bel tree.

He was delivered from the encumbrance of all previous existences.”

The trifoliate leaves are used in Hindu pujas and symbolize the three eyes of Siva. They apparently contain a percentage of Siva’s alchemical substance mercury.

The Santhal tribals till today treat the tree as a totemic deity.

The Bel fruit, is a herb with the the botanical name,(Aegle marmelos) . IT’s also called wood apple, elephant apple and monkey fruit. The wood apple tree is native to India but can be found in Sri Lanka and Thailand as well.

Health benefits of bel fruit

Bel fruit also has great medicinal value because of the tannin present in the fruit.

Remedy for intestinal disorders. This wonder fruit is a remedy for many intestinal disorders. From the ability to destroy intestinal worms to a cure for peptic ulcers – it’s uses are many. Because it regulates the intestine Bel helps with piles, constipation and dysentery.

Blood Purification and Prevention of Scurvy : The high vitamin C content ensures that you won’t get the dreaded disease of rickets.

Energy Booster: Hundred grams of Bel fruit pulp provides 140 calories which makes it a good energy booster.

Good for kidney patients: Regular consumption of wood apple is recommended for people with kidney complaints.

Cures liver problems:  Good source of beta-carotene, wood apple also cures liver problems.  It contains the B-vitamins thiamine and riboflavin.

Cardiac Tonic : This fruit is also an ingredient in cardiac tonic.

ROOTS, LEAVES AND BARK

Fevers, flu, influenza, fatigue :A decoction of leaves works wonders on any or all of these.

Helps people with diabetes: The ‘Feronia gum’, in the trunk and branches of the tree, counteracts diabetes by reducing the severity of the condition.

Relief for respiratory problems: The leaves of the Bel  tree help in cases of chronic colds and respiratory conditions.. Wood apple is  a wonderful treatment for  cough.

Cures snakebites: According to Ayurveda any part of the wood apple plant can be used to cure snakebites.

Effective for ear-aches: The root of the bel tree is used to check different kinds of ear problem.

Cures liver problems:  Good source of beta-carotene, wood apple also cures liver problems.  It contains the B-vitamins thiamine and riboflavin.

Cardiac Tonic : This fruit is also an ingredient in cardiac tonic.

Like any other food, however beneficial, it should be eaten or drunk in moderation. . Excessive consumption of Bel fruit can cause flatulence. That’s definitely something you want to avoid, specially if you’re off to meet friends J

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