How does it feel?
Bilva is a deciduous tree that can grow to heights of up to 8 metres. The branches have sharp spines and the flowers are a greenish-white colouring with a very sweet scent. The fruits are a large, greenish-white colour with a very tough and woody outer coating. Bilva trees will commonly grow in the Himalayas up to altitudes of 1200m.
What can I use it for?
Bilva is regarded as a tonic for a weak digestive system, particularly where there has been damage to the digestive tract. The essential oils found in the plant have demonstrated strong anti-microbial activity, with an affinity for bacterial and yeast based infections. Extracts of bilva derived from the plant’s root also encourage a healthy inflammation response in both acute and chronic inflammatory conditions, particularly within the digestive tract.
Into the heart of Bilva
Bilva is a key digestive herb with astringent, carminative and rejuvenating actions on the digestive tract. Its natural astringency has made bilva a popular choice in treating diarrhoea and digestive conditions characterised by excess moisture and water. As bilva demonstrates anti-bacterial actions, it is excellent for bacillary dysentery or acute infection of the digestive tract that has resulted in a watery diarrhoea. The rejuvenative action of bilva on the digestive mucosa encourages cellular healing and regeneration of damaged cells where there has been ulceration or damage from chronic illness.
Bilva is a naturally bitter plant; the bitter components stimulate digestive metabolism and can help to relieve any digestive congestion that may be influencing the onset of spasmodic cramping, nausea or general digestive sensitivity. In larger quantities, it may display a laxative action, but at the right dosage, bilva can help alleviate chronic congestion and prevent the build-up of any toxicity in the digestive tract.
Bilva is specifically indicated in chronic IBS, diarrhoea, dysentery and malabsorption that manifests as long-term imbalances with ‘mucusy’ and watery stools. Its astringency checks the excessive downwards movement of vata. It also dries the excess mucus and toxicity that comes with high kapha aggravations. It is a good choice where there may be ulceration and inflammation of the mucus membranes in the intestines as present in ulcers, colitis, and Crohn’s disease.
Astringents contain tannins that act to precipitate proteins and draw tissues together, tightening and toning them to reduce secretions and discharge. Astringents also tend to stop bleeding and can act on tissues with which there is no direct contact. Examples include Raspberry leaf (Rubus ideaus), Lady’s Mantle leaf (Alchemilla vulgaris), Agrimony leaf (Agrimonia eupatoria), Shepherd’s Purse leaf (Capsella bursa-pastoris), Witch Hazel leaf (Hamamelis virginiana) and Yarrow leaf (Achillea millefolium).Carminatives
Carminative herbs are high in essential oils and help ease digestion by relieving gas, spasms and cramps. Examples include Aniseed (Pimpinella anisum), Fennel seed (Foeniculum vulgare) and Peppermint leaf (Mentha piperita).
Did you know?
The ripe fruit, often referred to as bael, is traditionally eaten fresh and combined with sugar and tamarind as a cooling and refreshing drink. It is also an ingredient found in Indian jams. This root is one of the ingredients in the famous Ayurvedic ‘Dashmoola’ formula.
No drug herb interactions are known.
1–12g/day dried fruit powder or 50–100ml of the fresh fruit juice. 5-15ml/day of a 1:3 at 25% tincture
- Rasa (taste) Astringent, bitter
- Virya (action) Heating
- Vipaka (post-digestive effect) Pungent
- Guna (quality) Dry, light (immature)
- Dosha effect: VK-, P+ in excess
- Dhatu (tissue) Plasma, blood
- Srotas (channels) Digestive, eliminatory