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Medicinal uses of Wood Apple

Medicinal uses of Wood Apple

The wood apple is the only species of its genus, in the family ‘Rutaceae’. It is native to the dry plains of India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka, where it grows in the wild and is also cultivated along roads, the edges of fields and occasionally in orchards. It is also cultivated throughout South east Asia, particularly in Malaysia.

In India, the fruit was traditionally a ‘poor man’s food’ until processing techniques were developed in the mid 1950s. Besides the name ‘wood apple,’ it is also referred to as elephant apple, monkey fruit, curd apple, Keth bel, golden apple, stone apple, etc.

Medicinal uses
1. The fruit is extensively used in India as a liver tonic and also to treat certain cardiac problems.

2. The half-ripe fruit is perhaps the most effective remedy for dysentry.Totreat diarrhea or piles, the mashed pulp of the fruit is used without the seeds.

3. An infusion of wood apple leaves is an effective remedy for peptic ulcers. Wood apple leaves are rich in tannin, which reduces inflammation and help in the healing of ulcers.

4. It is also useful in preventing cancer of the breast and uterus and helps treat infertility caused by insufficiency of the progesterone hormone.

5. The flesh of the mature fruit can also be used to treat stomach upsets among children.

6. The bark of the tree is beneficial for biliousness. It can be taken both in the pulverised or decoction form. The juice of the leaves can also be massaged on the skin rashes caused by biliousness.

7. The root of the bael tree is used as a domestic remedy to check several kinds of ear problems.

8. In Ayurveda, all parts of the wood apple plant are used to cure snake bites.

9. 100 gm of the fruit’s pulp provides 140 calories and is therefore a good energy booster.

10. The wood apple is used to treat kidney ailments like stones.

11. The leaves of the wood apple are used to prevent and treat cold and other respiratory disorders. The fruit is also effective in relieving sore throats and chronic coughs.

12. The wood apple contains carotene, which is beneficial for the eye.

13. An extract of the bark of the tree is used to prevent sun burn.

Other uses
1. The fruit’s shell is fashioned into snuffboxes and other small containers.

2. Interestingly, in addition to its edible and medicinal properties, the gum from the trunk and branches is used as glue. The exudation is profuse after the rainy season.

3. The gum, mixed with lime, is used to waterproof wells and walls. It also protects oil paintings when added as a coat onto the canvas.

4. The fruit rind yields oil that is popular as a fragrance for hair; it also produces a dye used to colour silks and calico.

5. The wood is yellow gray or whitish, hard, heavy, durable, and hence used in construction, patternmaking, agricultural implements, rollers for mills, carving, rulers and other products. It also serves as fuel.

6. The wood apple’s pulp has a soap-like action, which resulted in it being used as a household cleaner for hundreds of years.

7. The sticky layer around the unripe seeds is a household glue that also finds use in jewellery making.

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