Fact or Myth: Can Bael Fruit Help Treat Irritable Bowel Disease?

This is a FACT.

Inflammatory bowel disease impacts an estimated 1.4 million Americans with painful symptoms from diarrhea and constipation to even more serious complications like Crohn’s disease and colitis. While inflammatory bowel syndrome affects all or part of your digestive tract, colitis targets mainly the large intestine. Folks suffering from colitis may want to try treating the condition with alternative remedies like acupuncture and bael fruit, before opting for prescription meds and surgery.

Bael FruitBael Fruit for Digestive Trouble

Bael fruit grows from the bael tree (scientific name: Aegle marmelos) in India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, and Thailand. It has a longstanding reputation as a digestive tonic in Ayurvedic medicine, which uses bael fruit to alleviate all manner of colitis-related pain and digestive upset.

The bael fruit, rich in anti-inflammatory compounds called tannins, is thought to ease digestive upset by calming systemic inflammation within the digestive tract. A 2012 animal study published in the Indian Journal of Pharmacology showed that bael fruit reduced inflammation in the intestines.

According to a study published in BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine, the antibacterial properties of unripe bael fruit help remedy diarrhea caused by infection. Ripe bael seems to have the opposite effect as a stimulating laxative.

The bael fruit is also used by alternative medicine specialists to treat:

  • Asthma
  • Cold
  • Diabetes
  • Heart disease
  • High cholesterol
  • Poor circulation

You can consume bael fruit whole, although it’s mainly touted for its medicinal effects, not its taste. Soft bael fruit can be split open, and the pulp dosed with sugar and eaten, a common breakfast in Indonesia. In India, bael fruit is used to make “sherbet,” a drink that is a mixture of seeded pulp, sugar, and milk.

You can also, and perhaps much more easily, treat irritable bowel disease and colitis with bael in tea or supplement form. Side effects from bael fruit are rare, but before supplementing please consult your healthcare practitioner to account for any contraindications.