The leaves, roots, and seeds of the wood apple tree are utilized in traditional and folk medicine. Its fruit is a nutritious powerhouse with a slew of health advantages. Phytoconstituents found in wood apple include marmenol, marmin, marmelosin, marmelide, psoralen, alloimperatorin, rutaretin, scopoletin, aegelin, marmelin, fagarine, anhydromarmelin, limonene, â-phellandrene, betulinic acid, marmesin, imperatorin, marmelosin,
It also contains tannin, riboflavin, and organic acids such as ascorbic acid, tartaric acid, oxalic acid, and malic acid. Let’s look at some of the health benefits of the wood apple.
Wood Apple Nutrition facts
What Is a Wood Apple?
As previously stated, wood apple is a generic term for fruits produced by trees in the Aurantioideae subfamily. Two relatively well-known fruits are:
Wood Apple (Aegle Marmelos)
This edible fruit, also known as bael, comes from Indian trees. Bengal quince, golden apple, stone apple, holy fruit, and bitter Japanese orange are other names.
The bael fruit is a round or oval fruit with a thin, hard, woody shell or a gray-green rind that turns yellow as it ripens. Many temple gardens in India have bael fruit trees because the tree is regarded as sacred, and the leaves are frequently utilized in religious rites.
Wood Apple (Limonia Acidissima)
This fruit is found in Bangladesh, India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, and Southeast Asia on trees endemic.
To add to the confusion, in different parts of Southeast Asia, both fruits are referred to as wood apples, bael fruit, bel, and even elephant apples. Both, however, can have distinct textures, smells, and flavors.
The Limonia acidissima cultivar, unlike the bael fruit, is less well-known in the world. This wood apple species has a hard-graying green exterior that resembles a rotting shaved coconut in appearance and feels. This fruit is known as a wood apple because of its rough surface. This fruit is known as elephant apple in some parts of the world since it is a favorite diet of elephants. While most kids are enormous (5 inches), some are significantly tiny and have an acidic flavor.
What Are the Benefits of Wood Apple?
According to a Purdue University, Illinois investigation, one hundred grams of fresh bael fruit can provide 2 grams of protein and very little fat. Carotene, thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, and vitamin C could all be found. For thousands of years, the fruit, bark, leaves, roots, and seeds have been utilized medicinally in Ayurveda for stomach-related diseases, ulcers, TB, and hepatitis. The majority of study on the health benefits of bael fruit has been conducted in India. The following are the most prominent bael fruit advantages:
Might Stop Diarrhea: The unripe fruit has an antidiarrhoeal and gastroprotective effect, as found in animal studies.
Antimicrobial and Antiviral Activity: Various extracts of the leaves, roots, and fruits might be active against many bacterial strains.
May Induce Chemopreventive Action: Phytochemicals found in bael fruit, such as lupeol, eugenol, limonene, citral, rutin, and anthocyanins, have also been demonstrated to have chemopreventive properties.
Can Have Diuretic Activity: The ethanolic extract of the fruit has been shown to have a diuretic effect on Wistar rats.
Might Have Antifertility Properties: The extract from bael fruit has the potential to be used as a natural contraceptive. In male rats, treatment with the fruit extract caused spermatogenesis to be inhibited, resulting in utter sterility. After 120 days of abstinence, the effects were reversible.
Word of Caution: Researchers have verified that the fruit is usually safe to eat. However, in some people, too much of it can cause constipation.
How To Eat A Wood Apple/Bael Fruit?
The aromatic pulp of the bael fruit can be easily accessed by cutting the rind with a knife. You can peel it like an apple or cut it in half and scoop the flesh out. You may need to strike the bael fruit a few times with the rear of a heavy knife for a tougher rind. You may gently pull the rind apart after it splits.
The bael fruit’s flesh is aromatic, evocative of honey and bananas, and ranges in color from mild orange to a caramel brown. Seeds with wooly hairs and mucilage that hardens when dried are found in the flesh. Bael fruit can be consumed and used in a variety of ways, including:
- Eating the Fruit as-is: You can eat the pulp in its raw form. In Indonesia, bael fruit is mixed with palm sugar and eaten for breakfast.
- Fruit Juice: In India, bael fruit juice or sherbet is made by sweetening the diluted pulp. Sometimes, milk is added.
- Fruit Tea: The bael fruit is sliced and dried. The dehydrated slices are then steeped in hot water to make herbal tea.
- Jelly & Jams: Bael fruit makes different preserves such as jams, jellies, toffee, candies, and chutneys.
What Are the Benefits of Wood Apple (Limonia Acidissima)?
Wood apple may have been utilized as a liver and heart tonic in India. The unripe fruit may include astringent characteristics that help with diarrhea and sore throat relief. The fruit pulp or powdered rind can be used as a poultice for insect bites and stings as a traditional cure. Limonia acidissima’s fruits, seeds, roots, and bark have been utilized in folklore treatments, just like the bael fruit.
According to research, the wood apple (Limonia acidissima) has a high protein, carbohydrate, iron, and lipid content. Pectin fiber and tannins are also present in the pulp. Calcium, vitamin C, zinc, and sodium could all be found.
There are not many studies done on this variety. The proven benefits of wood apple (Limonia acidissima) are:
The methanol extract of the fruit pulp showed qualities in rat research that helped the wound contract gradually.
According to the researchers, the pulp extract was discovered to have an inhibitory effect on gram-negative and gram-positive bacteria. Antibacterial characteristics may exist in the seeds, bark, and rind.
According to a study published in the Planta Medica journal, the chemicals in the fruit prevented the growth of the following fungi: Aspergillus niger (black mold), C. gloeosporioides, Curvularia sp., and Penicillium sp. This type of wood apple is also being studied for cosmetic uses because it may be high in antioxidants such as polyphenols, flavonoids, saponins, and vitamin C. A word of caution: Anecdotal information suggests that too much Limonia acidissima can cause constipation.
What Does a Wood Apple Taste Like?
Wood apple pulp has a sour, foul flavor that goes well with a bit of sweetness in desserts or with heated spices in savory meals. Wood apple juice is made in Sri Lanka by straining the pulp and adding sugar and coconut milk. The resulting juice is tangy, sweet, and creamy and makes for a delightful summertime street food choice.
Chutneys and jams are also prepared from wood apple pulp, with the latter being made by boiling the pulp with sugar and spices like cardamom. Try its tart-sweet flavor in sweets like ice cream, or do as many locals do and eat it directly from the hard shell by scooping out the pudding-like pulp with a spoon.
How to Eat a Wood Apple (Limonia Acidissima)?
To open this type of wood apple, you’ll need a hammer. Several cultures wrap the fruit in a cloth and knock it on the floor to crack the second shell. The perfume of this wood apple can rapidly separate individuals into those who despise it and those who adore it. The meat is fibrous, dark brown, and has a pungent odor reminiscent of blue cheese and raisins when cut open. It has a mealy texture and a sour-sweet flavor (similar to tamarind) that may take some getting used to if you’ve never had it before.
The pulp can be eaten raw like bael fruit, although it’s more commonly scooped out and frozen or processed into jam. It can also be frozen into ice cream or blended with coconut milk for a delightful beverage. Jams, jellies, and chutneys can all be made with wood apples.
It looks like a rotten coconut on the outside, and on the inside, it’s not much better. It also doesn’t smell right, with some describing it as a mix of bad blue cheese and overripe bananas. We know better than to evaluate a fruit by its stench, just like the stinking durian. The wood apple, native to India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh, and the Andaman Islands, is a popular fruit in Indian and Sri Lankan cuisine. Wood apple fruit, botanically known as limonite acidissima and the elephant apple, grows on trees up to nine meters tall, with mature sizes ranging from 5 to 9 cm.