There are Two types of wood apple fruit, Aegle Marmelos and Limonia Acidissima. Both have great health benefits for us. In this article, Les’t us see what are they, health benefits and how to eat it.
Tropical fruits vary widely from odorless to very smelly like durian and jack-fruit. Even though it smells, they have special fans, besides jack-fruit and durian there is another very smelly and many like it, this is wood apple. This is a fruit that comes from Asia and is not very well known outside of Southeast Asia.
A little confusing, wood apple is not just one special fruit, but there are several fruits known as wood apples from the Aurantioideae subfamily. Scientifically, Aurantioideae is a plant that is characterized by the shape of a small tree, it is in the form of a shrub and the flowers are white and very fragrant. The fruit is shaped or characterized by a granular skin with a very hard shell. On this occasion we will look in more detail with a fruiting plant called the wood apple.
What Is A Wood Apple?
So, wood apple is the generic name given to plants from the sub family Aurantioideae. Ok, below we see there are two very famous wood apples.
1. Wood apple (Aegle marmelos): This is usually famous for its bael fruit, this fruit is edible and the tree comes from India. Other names for this variety are Bengal quince, apanese bitter orange, stone apple, golden apple, and holy fruit.
2. Wood apple (Limonia acidissima): While this is native to Bangladesh, Pakistan, India, Sri Lanka, and Southeast Asia.
It is even more confusing when the two types of fruit from different plants are referred to as Wood Apple, bael fruit, and bel. Some even call it by the name of the elephant apple. Well, even though there are differences between the two, both in terms of texture, aroma, and taste.
How? Are you getting confused, let’s take a closer look at the wood apple.
Wood Apple/Bael Fruit (Aegle marmelos)
This is a wood apple which is also known as a bael fruit, its shape is round and sometimes oval with a thin but hard skin. The fruit is woody and gray-green in color and it keeps turning yellower as it ripens.
Bael fruit trees can be found in many places in Indian temples. The aegle marmelos tree is considered a sacred plant. The leaves are often used in various religious ceremonies.
How To Eat A Wood Apple/Bael Fruit?
Eating wood apple/bael fruit is very easy, you can cut the skin with a knife, and immediately enjoy the aromatic pulp. You can peel the skin like an apple or cut it in half. For bael fruit with a hard shell, you can tap it several times on the outside of the shell until it breaks. Then you can peel it slowly, pull the skin off and enjoy the flavorful flesh of the fruit.
Bael fruit flesh can range from yellow to brownish, fragrant. The flesh of the fruit contains seeds with a lot of fiber or usually called hairy seeds. This bael fruit can be enjoyed in several ways below:
Eat as is: You eat the flesh in its raw form, Indians usually eat the bael fruit by mixing it with palm sugar, and eat it for breakfast.
Bael fruit juice: In India, bael fruit juice is made by sweetening the flesh of the fruit, diluting it, adding milk, and enjoying it.
Bael fruit tea: Bael fruit flesh is sliced and dried. After drying, soak in hot water to serve as herbal tea.
Jelly & jams: Bael fruit is also enjoyed as jam, some are preserved to be used as jelly, toffee, candy or made chutney.
Health Benefits of Bael Fruit (Aegle Marmelos)
Bael fruit is known for its nutrition, as reported by Purdue University, in 100 grams of fresh bael fruit contains 2 grams of protein and little fat.
Bael fruit is also the best source of carotene, thiamine, niacin, ribloflavin, and vitamin C. The fruit, and the skin, leaves, roots and seeds are used medicinally in Ayurvedic medicine. Its benefits are to treat diseases such as ulcers, tuberculosis, and hepatitis. There is research on the health benefits of bael fruit, including the following:
1. Treat diarrhea
One of the benefits of bael fruit is to treat diarrhea and gastroprotective, this is the same as found in animal studies.
2. Antimicrobial and antiviral activity
It is a traditional medicine because there are anti-viral and anti-bacterial activities found. So leaf, root, and fruit extracts can fight many kinds of bacterial strains.
3. Induce chemopreventive action
Research reveals that bael fruit contains phytochemicals such as lupeol, limonene, eugenol, citral, anthocyanins and rutin contains chemopreventive effects.
4. Can have diuretic activity
There is a study conducted using wistar rats, where in the study it was mentioned that the ethanolic extract of bael fruit provides a diuretic effect.
5. Have Anti-fertility properties
You know that bael fruit can work as a natural contraceptive. Treatment using bael fruit extract can cause inhibition of spermatogenesis, this can cause a total sterile state in male rats so that they cannot have children even if they are married.
Bael fruit is available in dried form or as a medicinal powder. Now it is widely available on e-commerce sites because more and more people are realizing the benefits of this bael plant.
This fruit is generally safe to eat, but in excess it can cause constipation.
Wood Apple (Limonia acidissima)
In contrast to the bael fruit, the Limonia acidissima variety is like a bit more famous in the world. This wood apple fruit also has a hard skin, but the color is gray green. When viewed from afar, this color looks like moldy shaved coconut. The outside is hard, so it is called a wood apple.
This type of wood apple in some parts of the world is known as the food of elephant, this is because this fruit is a favorite of elephants.
How To Eat A Wood Apple (Limonia acidissima)?
It’s really hard, and you need a hammer to break it. In some countries in the world, they open this type of wood apple by reflecting it on the floor after the fruit is wrapped with a towel. The smell is very striking and makes many other people immediately smell it.
The flesh is fibrous, has a sharp smell and is dark brown in color. It fits like a raisin-smelling blue cheese mix. The taste is sweet and sour and the texture is like flour. Maybe for those of you who are experiencing this fruit for the first time, you have to get used to it so it doesn’t feel weird.
This wood apple fruit can be eaten raw, it is the same as the bael apple fruit. But the more common way is to freeze it and make jam. Can also be mixed with coconut milk to make a delicious drink. Or if you like ice cream, you can make this fruit flesh into ice cream. It can be made into jam, jelly or chutney like bael fruit.
Wood Apple (Limonia acidissima) Health Benefits
Health benefits of wood apple is used as a fruit for liver and heart tonic. Unripe fruit is good for stopping or treating diarrhea and sore throats. The pulp of the fruit and the powdered skin is used as a poultice for insect bites. Just like the bael fruit, its roots, bark, fruit, leaves, and seeds have been used in traditional medicine for many years.
In an analysis, wood apple, also known as Limonia acidissima, is said to contain large amounts of protein, iron, carbohydrates, fats and tannins. While the flesh of the fruit also contains fiber, tannins and pectin. Wood apple fruit with the scientific name Limonia Acidissima is a good source of vitamin C, sodium, zinc, calcium.
In this variety, not many studies have been carried out as in the viritas wood apple (Aegle marmelos). Here are some of the proven health benefits of wood apple (Limonia acidissima):
1. Gives healing to wounds
A study on rats, methanol extract from the flesh of the fruit showed wound contracting activity and it provided rapid healing of the condition.
According to research conducted on mice, these results are expected to also occur in wounds on human skin.
2. Antibacterial activity
This wood apple also provides health benefits due to its anti-bacterial activity. The researchers found that the flesh of Limonia acidissima had an inhibitory effect on the development of gram-positive and gram-negative bacteria. So, seeds, wood, bark, contain great antibacterial properties.
The health benefits of Limonia acidissima are also due to the antifungal activity in it. A study published in the journal Planta Medica journal, where compounds in wood apples contain anti-fungal properties. Consuming wood apple (Limonia acidissima) can inhibit the growth of fungi such as Aspergillus niger (black mold), Curvularia sp., C. gloeosporioides, and Penicillium sp.
Now this wood apple is also being tested as a raw material for cosmetics. This is very interesting because wood apple contains anti-oxidants such as polyphenols, saponins, vitamin C, and flavonoids.
Wood apple (Limonia acidissima) is safe for consumption in medium quantities, if you consume it in excess it can cause a laxative effect, maybe you will experience diarrhea. So, it is recommended to consume only medium.