Belae Fructus. Br. Bael Fruit.
"Bael Fruit is the fresh half-ripe fruit of Aegle Marmelos, Correa." Br.
Fructus Bael, Bela; Bael fruit, Indian Bael, Bengal Quince; Marmelos de Benguala, Cirifole, Beli; Indische Quitten, Marmelosbeeren, Marmelosfrüchte, G.
The so-called Bengal quince is a rather large tree (Fam. Rutaceae) extensively cultivated in India, with an erect stem, few and irregular branches, an ash-colored bark, strong, very sharp, axillary thorns, single or in pairs, leaves and large white flowers, ternate. The fruit is a berry of delicious flavor, of about the size of a large orange, with a hard smooth shell, and from ten to fifteen loculi containing besides the compressed, woolly seeds a large quantity of exceedingly tenacious mucilage, which when dried is hard and transparent. l' Fruit about 7 or 8 cm. in diameter, globular, ovoid or pyriform, greyish or yellowish-brown. Outer surface hard, nearly smooth. Rind about three millimetres in diameter, and adherent to a pale-reddish juicy pulp in which are ten to fifteen cells, each containing several woolly seeds. Faint aromatic odor; taste mucilaginous, acidulous, and slightly astringent. Br. The mucilage about the seeds is applied to various purposes in the arts, on account of its viscid properties. The rind is used in dyeing. The flowers are deemed refrigerant by the native physicians. The fresh leaves yield by expression a bitterish and somewhat pungent juice, which, diluted with water, is occasionally used in the early stage of catarrhal and other fevers. The bark of the stem and root is thought to possess febrifuge properties.
The fruit yields its virtues to water by maceration or decoction. Pollock found in it traces of tannic acid, an essential oil, and a vegetable acid. (M. T. G., Feb., 1864.) It also contains mucilage, pectin, sugar and a bitter principle. (Badakow, Apoth. Zeit., 1894, p. 773.)
The difficulty of obtaining bael in England is said to have led to the substitution for it of mangosteen, the fruit of Garcinia Mangostana L.. This is in irregular fragments of the rind, without adhering pulp. The pieces are convex, three or four lines or more in thickness, externally covered with a smooth, deep reddish-brown, easily separable coating, and internally pale reddish-brown or reddish-yellow, smooth, with projecting vertical lines. (P. J., May, 1867.)
Uses.—Bael fruit has been used in India in the treatment of diarrhea and dysentery for many years. It is also asserted to have laxative properties. Whether it has any real therapeutic activity is, at present, very doubtful. The decoction, two ounces of dried fruit in a pint of water boiled down to four fluidounces, is used in doses of one to two fluidounces (30-60 mils) every two to six hours; or the Liquid Extract of Bael, Br., may be given in doses of 1 to 2 fluidrachms (3.75-7.5 mils).
Off. Prep.—Extractum Belae Liquidum, Br.